Marketing your Crowdfouding Campaign Using Twitter
$Step #1: Create a Twitter Account and Posting Strategy
I would recommend creating the account under your business name or brand rather than your personal identity. Why? Because in the future, when you launch the product, whether it is stand alone, a brand, or part of your company, it will be more valuable if it stands apart from you (should you ever choose to sell the company). If you are going to put in all your effort to build an audience, they might as well translate into followers for your business profile.
It is extremely important that you fill in your description and put up a logo/image for your account. Don’t shirk on this. It can mean the difference between someone being interested in your company and following or someone ignoring you.
So you have an account, now what?
The goal of all social media marketing is list building. In the old days, people were eager to build mailing lists of housing addresses so that they could send out advertisements, bulletins, and pamphlets. Then, the internet came along and email addresses/rss feed subscriptions were King. Now, although email marketing is still alive and well, most people receive content through news feeds, be it Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, or Twitter.
Every time someone follows you on Twitter, they effectively become part of your mailing list and will receive the information you send out from here on forward. How is this different from an email list? Well… it’s not much different, other than you are confined to a certain number of characters. People behave in the same way in that if they receive useful information, they are likely to forward it to friends, or in the case of twitter, retweet it to their followers.
As I mentioned, the goal of social media marketing is list building and this is accomplished by:
1. “Following” potential leads (people who may follow you back that are involved in your industry as consumers or producers). I will show you how to develop and execute a follow strategy in step #3.
2. Providing content that is useful to others or solve other people’s problems. For example, if you are LegalZoom, an online legal document preparation service for estate planning, trademarks, corporations and others, you might recognize that many people want to start a business, but don’t understand the differences between an LLC, Sole Proprietorship C Corporation, and S Corporation in regards to taxes, reporting earnings, and liability.
Therefore, by posting a link to an article that makes this distinction (that you have written or another has written), others may find it to be helpful. This could lead to “retweets,” “mentions,” and visits to your site if you crafted the article. If you have 400 followers and one of your followers retweeted the article to their followers, let’s say they have 300 followers, and then someone in their network retweeted the article to their followers because they found it to be helpful (another 300), your single tweet would have reached 1000 individuals without a dime being spent on marketing or advertising. This could lead to follows, visits to your site, purchases, or pledges in the case of Kickstarter.
Step #2: Identify Your Niche and Build Your Audience
Twitter is incredibly powerful for connecting with strangers that may experience the problem that your proposed crowdfunded project aims to remedy. In order to demonstrate how to build your follower base, let’s create an example where you are crowdfunding a new documentary on Kickstarter that explores the history of women’s rights and injustices that exist to this day in the United States with regards to salary, hiring, etc.
We know that a large group of people in the United States care about women’s rights and many of these individuals are involved in advocacy. To reach these people, we first need to identify the major advocacy organizations, authors, bloggers, non-profits, and publications that fall under this umbrella. Who are the players in this arena?
After we have made a list of these players, we would go through each twitter account systematically and check out the individuals that are following these players. Likely, they are individuals that care about women’s rights and may be advocates as well. I would not recommend simply “following all of their followers” and hoping 10% will “follow back.”
Instead, really take a few seconds to look at each follower, assess their tweets, and their bio descriptions. Would they care about the message you are trying to spread? What is the size of their twitter following? Which category do they fit in as an influencer in this advocacy arena? If you think they would care about your cause, and if they have an active account, follow them!
When going through this process for each player in the industry, I would still recommend following accounts even if their follows to follower ratio is low (ex. 1 follow to 100 followers). When I am building my twitter audience, I want my newsfeed to be filled with industry-related news and articles that I can retweet to individuals that might find them fascinating or helpful. However, there are many other successful marketers that emphasize going after accounts that have close to a 1:1 ratio as it indicates they are more likely to follow you back.
Now, don’t be fooled, all this following and analysis is going to be a painstaking process at first, but it will help you develop an audience of highly relevant followers that are more inline with your documentary’s message. Be sure to not follow (or unfollow) too aggressively, as Twitter will boot you from the system. I would recommend following no more than 100 people a day to be safe.
Step #3: Make Use of Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter advanced search is a great way to comb twitter for individuals that experience the problem you are trying to solve with your crowdfunded product or align with your project’s message. Search by words, mentions, hashtags, location and more. Use the rules in Step #2 to identify high-potential accounts and adopt a similar follow strategy to that described in Step #2.
Step #4: Engage Your Audience
All throughout this process, you should be posting relevant articles/messages at least once a day to keep your followers engaged. Once you have built up an audience of 500 followers, I would recommend upping this number to at least 3 times per day, making appropriate use of hashtags and mentions to direct the messages to a particular audience.
Hootsuite is a great way to schedule tweets ahead of time, so that you don’t have to remember to send out three a day. If you have a blog, I would recommend mixing in your own articles (20% of posting content) along with articles from other sources (80% of posting content). Also, always be sure to mention or source the article you are posting if it is not yours.
ManageFilter is a good service that you can use to unfollow individual accounts that are stagnant, turn out to be bots, or that are not relevant to your industry or the message you are communicating.
Step #5: Conclusion and Rinse, Lather, Repeat.
This article covers the basis of building up your audience to 1,000-2,000 followers of highly relevant individuals. I would recommend beginning 4 months before your crowdfunding campaign is set to launch.