So you’re thinking about crowdfunding, or have just launched a campaign. Great! But what next? In an ideal world, you could sit back and watch the pennies flowing in after pushing “go,” but to have the best chances of success, you need to shout out to the world about your project and reach as many people as you can. The best way to do that is through social media and, while not an effortless endeavour, it doesn’t require much of your time, and it’s easy to get to grips with.
If you’re new to social media, or find the idea completely daunting; don’t worry. This series of posts will help you get started and give you the tips you need to get your voice heard.
Why Bother With Social Media?
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn connect not millions, but billions of people across the globe. According to a report from We Are Social, last year there were more than two billion social media users worldwide, with the number of active accounts representing almost 30% of the global population. That’s a huge, accessible network at your fingertips, so don’t take it for granted: tap into it.
Before you dismiss social media as merely a vessel for people to share photos of their dogs and gossip about celebrities, it also has a huge place in the professional world, helping businesses boost their presence, promote products, monitor and evaluate progress, and engage with target audiences. Companies recognise this and many will have their own social media managers and strategists as a result.
Crowdfunding is no different: social media helps raise awareness of both the issue and the solution (your research), connects likeminded people, and gets the public engaged and learning about science. All of those mean more visibility for your research and, as a result, better chances of reaching your fundraising goal.
If your project has the potential to “go viral,” don’t expect journalists to do all the leg work for you: their primary interests tend to lie within the research itself, not how it is being funded, so good publicity in the media doesn’t necessarily mean more pledges. If you skimmed a newspaper article on the go which mentioned how to donate to a project, would you go to the effort of looking it up yourself? This is another reason that a presence in social media is essential.
There are a huge number of social media sites, so you need to choose the one, or ones, which are best for you and will help get you the exposure you need. They all work in different ways but, ultimately, they have common goals. That said, the audiences do differ slightly, so you’ll want to take this into consideration when you’re thinking about who you’re pitching your project to.