Social Media is a Blessing and a Curse
I want you to buy my widget tomorrow, so I am going to do a giveaway today and, hopefully, that works. Numerous creators boast of “driving engagement” when that is, in truth, a minimal value and only scratching the surface to add to conversion ROI. While engagement can lead to the partial success of a project, more often than not, creators are not affecting changes that directly lead to conversions from social media to their Kickstarter campaigns.
Running a social media campaign for a Kickstarter can be an outright frustrating experience for many others. Worse, creators not comfortable with social media talk about the lack of ROI in social media as for why they don’t invest in it. Many people simply haven’t figured out the right way to measure the ROI for their efforts, so they don’t know how to benefit from this valuable cultural phenomenon. Worse even still, some creators outsource social media to people who don’t have experience proving those bottom-line efforts, causing a negative perception feedback loop.
Here are all the ways to add value to your social media efforts for a Kickstarter campaign.
Stop Talking About Yourself
As a creator, you should want a lot of content posted, responded to, retweeted or liked, and so on, but it is up to you decide which content to post and how to engage future supporters. As an example, I will link my consultation services at the end, but I’ve opened up with the arguably ridiculous InspiroBot images trending on social media right now, just so you don’t take me too seriously. This engagement strategy is a deceivingly complex task, requiring strong organization skills, strong communication skills, an ability to entertain, and decision-making skills. In the context of your project, a Facebook event for a local game night might be too narrow to send to a project’s entire social media following, but posting about your involvement in a major industry convention is usually worthwhile. Creators need to be highly organized and able to manage multiple simultaneous and possibly conflicting needs. They need to be able to immediately evaluate whether an action online would resonate with their project’s followers, or whether it’s too niche or too narrow or too annoying. Creators also need to coordinate different timelines to organize Kickstarter launches, while pushing events and product development internally.
Why This Works: Social media plays a significant role in promoting the many needs of a project. When a creator balances these posts with other appealing and relevant content, they’ll be able to win the support of followers and build deeper roots with industry stakeholders.
Be a Better Market Analyst
As social media has become data-driven, a creator needs to be able to analyze data and extract actionable tasks. That includes figuring out their average reach, leads, conversions, all through conducting individual experiments in content creation. In this vein, it is essential to know the pulse of the community you are selling to and be able to set goals that are just out of reach — and find a way to hit them.
Data analysis, questioning, background managing scientific experiments, and solid presentation skills all come into play during a Kickstarter marketing campaign. Creators need to like looking at data and know how to use it to make informed decisions, or they need to outsource a person or agency who does. One such tool I use regularly to double check my anecdotal findings is boardgamedata.com. At the same time, a creator cannot delve so much into the data that they become paralyzed and risk adverse. It is important for a creator to regularly test new strategies, new content, and new campaigns. Always iterate and improve by running post frequency tests and analyzing the results.
Why This Works: Constantly testing and analyzing results helps creators build dynamic routines. Measuring campaigns can have a game-changing impact on social media efforts.
Create Worthwhile Content
Content is an essential component in any Kickstarter marketing effort. Additionally, creators who adapt and mold content to fit each social network and cultivate their unique audience on each platform stand the best chance at success. For board games and other creative efforts, this most often takes the form of worldbuilding. In other types of campaigns, actors who use the product is the most advantageous.
Content creation requires skills in grammar, design, basic photography & videography, and creativity. A good portion of a creator’s role during the campaign is creating and modifying content for each particular platform. A creator needs to understand how to position content in under 140 characters on Twitter. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter require imagery to accompany posts to reach more people. Compelling videos with bite-sized narratives need to be the strategy on Snapchat. In many cases, this involves creating content from scratch specifically for growing a following on social media.
Why This Works: Adapting promotional content specifically for each social network yields more clicks. For example, Tweets with an image and a link produce better results than tweets with just a link.
Be an Industry Junkie
Social media is a crowded networking competition, but creators still need actual people with real money to care about their projects. A successful creator will be able to find new opportunities by keeping a pulse on the industry without resorting to press releases and cold pitches. They know where to look for the news and what people are saying about that juicy gossip. They also know what’s changing on social media as it relates to their industry. They are experts in what’s known as inbound marketing.
Creators should be skilled at “tactful mindshare,” meaning the ability to capitalize on a thread, trend, or hashtag tactfully. And if something goes wrong, like the dreaded spam ban, they need to be able to mitigate the issue calmly and diplomatically. Furthermore, a creator can often connect organically with journalists and bloggers on social media, which can result in increased coverage for the project. Finally, crowdfunding is a global endeavor, so for projects, it’s important for the creator to be able to think outside of their place in the world. Creators need to be hungry for information, active monitors, professionals during on-the-spot communication, quick decision-makers, and possess the ability to be calm in the face of stress.
Why This Works: Staying on top of the industry as trends are rising allows you to steal mindshare, which can bring interest to you and your projects. Connecting with journalists is just icing on the cake.
The Backer is Always Right, as Long as You Want Their Money
When someone runs a social media account, he or she is the voice of the project for many audiences. They’ll constantly get questions and comments about the project, which may not always be positive. They require adaptability, calmness, desire to solve others’ problems, and the ability to troubleshoot. A talented creator can communicate with people in various backing stages and different moods. They need to be able to address a concern appropriately and provide a resolution.
Part of attracting future backers on social media is helping this following connect with each other and become a community. Lately, that has taken the form of Facebook Groups for a specific game. Authentic communities don’t just engage with the project; they engage with each other, which scales your following much better. But running a Facebook Group takes work, including asking questions to seed conversations and booting out people who spam or detract from the group.
Why This Works: To grow a social following, the creator needs to help the community get value from each other. Customer service on social media enables you to respond to backer problems in the way they’ve chosen to communicate with you. Because social media is a public forum, you can use these opportunities to showcase your customer service as a company differentiator and magnify satisfied customer threads as a form of marketing. If your future backers like your community, they’ll recommend it to others, either on purpose or inadvertently by commenting and having it show up on their timeline. Increased engagement can result in an increase in revenue.
Know When to Ask for Money
Social media is a powerful tool that can help the whole funnel, not just the top. It expands the reach of your project, attracts visitors to your website and newsletter, generates viable leads, and nurtures them to become backers. That means a creator needs to be able to pick and share content in a way that will accomplish each of those goals.
A creator needs to share content that generates leads via social media. A creator also needs to engage one-on-one with potential backers who are considering backing a project or simply need their help. Social media is particularly useful as a lead nurturing tool because potential backers use various platforms they are most comfortable with to consume information and these allow you to engage in a more timely manner on the backer’s home court.
Creators with knowledge in funnels overall, engagement required for each stage, basic sales skills, and strong communication skills thrive on social media. To do all of this effectively, creators need to have a strong working knowledge of what content and which engagement techniques work to get those leads to become backers. Active creators are seemingly everywhere and in communication with everyone.
Why This Works: Sharing conversion-driven content on social media can attract more visitors to your Kickstarter and convert them into backers. With the appropriate person at the wheel of your project’s social media, you can fund a campaign with a comparably smaller marketing budget.
With this demanding and highly visible job description, it’s hard to believe that becoming a Kickstarter creator still has the reputation as an easy task anybody can just “pick up.” Potential creators should think long and hard about the path ahead of them if they wish to be their project’s brand ambassador on social media. I believe that if we can change the perception of the Kickstarter creator’s role and develop these functions and abilities, we’ll have a good chance of mastering the sense to measure and value the ROI of social media as it relates to Kickstarter projects.