Blog Post

Media Contact: Rami Sbeiti
207-651-2423

Not all Crowd Building Activities are the Same

One of the very first things you learn when you decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign is that the platform you choose, be it Kickstarter, Indiegogo or the hundred other platforms out there, is that they provide your project with very little to no publicity or promotion. Accordingly, the only way people will find out about your campaign is if you tell them about it.

Accordingly, before you start your campaign, you need to build your crowd that will fund your project, and regardless of how cool and useful your project is, if no one hears about it, no one will back it, and it will not succeed.  Many books and articles talk about this very fact, yet, one of the things that we learned the hard way is that not all crowds are created equal.

So, about five months before our Kickstarter launch of IU.me, we created a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn page. We started building followers, organically in the beginning then used Facebook Ads to boost our followers on Facebook. Right before we launched, we had a little over 700 Twitter followers and 5500 Facebook followers. Not bad for a short period of time. The problem is how engaged are these followers.

What we found out that a lot of people would like your page just because they liked your ad or how your ad sounded. That doesn't mean that they are really interested in the subject. With Facebook in particular, your page posts don't reach all of your followers, so it's hard to add content there to get them and keep them engaged. Most of the time, you have to boost your postings just so more percentage of your followers (that you already paid for their likes) see your posts altogether. That was definitely a total waste of money.

On Twitter, the problem is a little different. Even organically developed followers are really very flakey and most of the time they're doing it so you can follow them back. To many, it's a numbers game. But even if you achieve a good number (and unlike Facebook, your tweets reach all your followers), most of your tweets are washed off by the large and constant amount of tweets. You are better off using hashtags with your tweets and be less concerned with building a following.

There is no easy answer. To build a crowd, you have to build a social network. A presence in your field of expertise or community. You have to nurture this presence over time, time that in many cases you don't have. It's like a bank account...you have to make deposits before you make a withdrawal. In our case, our dilemma was how much do we tell people about our technology and engage them in its details before we get it developed while we still are protecting our intellectual property.

Here are few suggestions, some will be better fit than others depending on the nature of the campaign, but mostly related to cloud services and applications:
  • Save your ad money and don't waste it on building a Facebook page following. Once your campaign launches, on the other hand, Facebook Ads might be a useful tool to drive traffic to your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Don't worry about building a Twitter following. Again, once you launch, use hashtags to get your message out, or use Twitter Ads or a Twitter marketing service like CrowdChirp.com to generate traffic to your campaign page.
  • Use a hybrid blogging plus social networking platform, like Tumblr, for building your crowd. You will be able to develop better quality of followers that are more engaged than Facebook for example.
  • Consider releasing a small part of your technology as an open-source or free lite service to use as a vehicle to build your crowd.
  • Partner with somebody in your field and/or related technology that already has the social networking presence.
Hope you enjoyed our posts so far. This has been a learning experience for us and we want to make sure we pass it along to everybody that might be considering crowdfunding. Hope you take a moment to visit our project at IU.me, and give us your feedback.