4 Steps For Creating A Viral Crowdfunding Campaign (Part Two)
WRITTEN BY SCOTT COUCHMAN
In the previous installment of 4 Steps for Creating a Viral Crowdfunding Campaign, we talked about how to prepare for your campaign: getting your videos ready, your goals in place and your impact metrics in line and the basic ideas for your communication plan. You are ready for the campaign to kick-off! Now what do you do?
This is the (second) most exciting time during your campaign. The most exciting part is that last day, that last hour, that last minute, but there’s enough there to rate its own topic (Part 3 coming soon!). So let’s talk about the rest of the campaign.
Because you have prepared, because you have got your supporters excited before the kickoff, usually that first day can kind of run on autopilot. That doesn’t mean you should let it, though!
You and your supporters have the most energy at the beginning and the end of your campaign, so stoke those fires and get the benefits with that initial excitement.
The Shout Out – Let them know about Your Crowdfunding Campaign!
When you set up your forms, you added that part to ask for your supporters’ social media handles, right? Well, good! Now you can start the thanking process right from day one. Make it fun, make it exciting. Make it individual. Let them know how much their participation means to you.
It doesn’t matter if they donate a dollar or a thousand dollars, you need to tag them, you need to recognize them. It builds the excitement, it builds the enthusiasm. It lets them know you appreciate them.
It has been several years now, so all but forgotten, but one of the most impressive marketing campaigns at that time was the Old Spice Twitter campaign from the “I’m on a horse!” commercial. Literally thousands of people commented (through Twitter mainly), and then Old Spice started to reply. They personally replied to Every. Single. Tweet. Not a blanket thank you, not a form letter or mail merge, but they tweeted back commenting on each person’s take on their commercial. Which then made those commenters kind of lose their minds.
Here was a company that acknowledged them through social media as if they were having a face to face conversation with them. So, of course, those commenters had to comment on the company’s comments and the entire campaign, already viral, went even more viral.
You can do the same thing! Have your hashtag published, get your supporters’ social media handles, and mine the platforms for those comments, because they are gold for you. They are honest comments written to reach friends and family, so if you acknowledge them, they can feel like superstars and it show their networks your appreciation.
And don’t just look for those that mention you, that tag you, that use your hashtag, but search for key phrases you use in your campaign. Surprise acknowledgments and recognition, especially for those who aren’t the most social media savvy, (so not using hashtags, etc.) will win hearts and minds.
Cheer them on. Thank them. Acknowledge them personally and you will get supporters wanting to continue to cheer you on!
The Mid-Campaign Crowdfunding Slump – Create Supporter Competitions
There is a very common occurrence in a campaign where both you and your supporters lose steam. This is the Mid-Campaign slump. It is almost inevitable. The shiny new excitement of the campaign kickoff is gone, and you aren’t into the final sprint, so it may start to grind, get boring, and there will be less interest in the middle. So now what?
What frequently works is to set up mini-sprints, friendly competitions, and other games or activities to keep your supporters engaged.
Set up a “Saturday Sprint” (or other fun or silly label) for your volunteer fundraisers, where the person who can get the most donations in the next 24 hours gets some kind of prize. This essentially turns a day in the middle of your campaign into a mini-event in itself.
Remember those stretch goals discussed in Part 1? Well, ideally you have created many ideas for stretch goals. You don’t have to unveil them all at the beginning, you can save them for those slow times, to keep the excitement going. Break out the engaging ones like getting pictures of your organization’s mascot in new and exciting locations. Have the artists in your supporter base take your logo and play with it.
That slump is almost inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you have to give into it! While donations may slow down, keep people engaged, and thinking about your organization.
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Look for and Add New Content
So if you are watching for the mid-campaign slump and you are paying attention in the social media channels, you might have content handed to you! Is there a super supporter who gets thousands of likes on their post about you? Do you have winners from the mini-competitions you’ve created? Maybe you just happen to love what your supporters are doing and want to acknowledge that.
Consider an interview! Get them on Zoom or Skype or some other conferencing channel (remember, video is still the best option) and just chat.
Is there a rivalry brewing between fundraisers? Cheer on the competition and get the various parties on the video chat.
Mid-campaign is also when you can expand on our organization’s goals. Because the frenzy of the opening of the campaign has died down, you will have your supporters and those curious about you checking in on your progress. So let them know more about you. Engage them. Take the tour of your facilities or campaign headquarters or provide “in the field” interviews. Let them see you like the people you are, not just this non-profit organization.
In those opening days, you make be making dozens or hundreds of messages with public replies to social media, showing how great you think your supporters are and how they’ve surpassed all the goals you’ve set up and how they’re building into the stretch goals. It is exciting. It is frenzied. It can be exhausting.
But in the mid-campaign, you have that time to breathe. Don’t disappear, but take the time to fill in the holes. Were there questions in social media that deserve their own video or blog post or infographic? Use the mid-campaign to fill in and engage.
It’s the time to keep the excitement fueled, but maybe at a lower level. Because you’re about to get into the end game of the final day, and that’s… a whole other topic for next time. Stay tuned for part 3!
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