5 Ways You Are Using Twitter Incorrectly to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign
(Note: This article was originally published in 2015 under the Medium account for Stage 32. Due to an increase in recent crowdfunding spam to my Richard RB Botto Twitter account, I decided to republish it here as a refresher and reminder!)
Avoid these costly mistakes and get those cameras rolling
With the advent of new technology, including the capability to shoot and edit a movie on your smartphone, the barrier of entry for making a film has never been lower. And, with the advent of various crowdfunding platforms, raising funds for a film has, seemingly, never been easier.
That’s the good news.
However, a lower barrier of entry and technological advances inevitably means more competition.
That’s the bad news.
Or is it?
I don’t need to tell anyone drawing breath that Twitter is the best mass social media platform for broadcasting a message. I also don’t think it’s news that the ease of broadcasting a message on Twitter makes it the platform with the most white noise.
Now, many say that the larger the crowd and the louder the din the harder it is to stand out and rise above the cacophony. I disagree. To the contrary, I believe that a snazzy outfit, proper preparation, an on point message and an undeniable delivery will put you in center stage spotlight each and every time.
This is especially true when promoting a film crowdfunding campaign. Going on faith that you’ve done your research on how to create a truly compelling and interactive campaign page, let’s discuss how you can lead your Twitter audience to said page by pointing out 5 common strategy errors and how you can avoid them.
1. You use Twitter as your initial tool for promotion
Big mistake. It’s well documented that campaigns that reach 15% of their goal in the first week have approximately an 82% chance of success. Raise that number to 30% in the first seven days and the success rate soars to 98%. To achieve those levels in your first week you need a pre-launch plan. That plan should always involve reaching out to friends and family or soliciting other real world contributions before hitting the virtual world.
2. You haven’t targeted your audience
What’s your film about? Who would it interest most? How do you reach them? These are questions that should be asked and answered three to six months before launching your Twitter campaign. You should then begin to follow and communicate with people who have similar interests.
An example: A good friend of mine discovered a horror script he decided to direct. Having not worked in the genre before, he used Google to find top influencers in the space. He then spent months following and engaging them on Twitter. The communication was friendly and conversational. Not once did he mention his film or the fact that he was planning a crowdfunding campaign.
During this period, he created a sizzle reel, which he showed to friends and family. He quietly launched his campaign with zero online exposure (aside from the actual crowdfunding page). By day seven, he had 39% of a $33,000 raise in the kitty. Then he struck on Twitter.
He put the time in responding to the champions and challengers alike. He was personable and creative, explained why the project meant so much to him and answered all questions.
Within two days of his first Twitter post and nine days of the original launch date, his campaign had reached its goal. He ended up raising 47% over his initial ask which he intends to use to help broaden the scope of his original distribution plans.
3. You’re strictly a broadcaster
Social media is all about engagement. It’s about give and take. Most people get that backwards. Many others live by take and take. A losing strategy if ever there was one.
Nothing dooms a campaign more than a static message broadcast multiple times a day. Seems obvious, but it happens all the time. One gent sent me four Tweets a day commanding me to “check out” his campaign. After the sixth day of this, he called me an “asshole” for ignoring him. This I responded to.
:@xxxxxx I’m not ignoring you, I’m blocking you. But first, an article on how to properly promote on Twitter (link to article)”
4. You approach strangers…insultingly
Our Twitter account for Stage 32 has over 100,000 followers. It states very clearly that I (singular) run the account. Yet, you’d be amazed at how many people address me like this (these are actual Tweets):
“Hey dudes at @stage32online. Check it. My Kickstarter campaign (link to campaign)”
“Donate some bucks to my campaign @stage32online You guys can afford it (link to campaign) #showmethemoney”
“Sexy peeps @stage32online my film rocks. Donate now! (link to campaign)”
At least the last guy called “us” sexy.
If you can’t take the time to research who you are addressing, why should you expect anyone to give you their time to address your wants and needs? Further, you wouldn’t strut up to someone in the middle of a crosswalk and say, “Yo, I’m making a film, give me money.” Well, maybe you would. Stop. And, don’t do it on Twitter either.
Would it surprise you to learn that neither of these campaigns came within a country mile of their ask? Didn’t think so.
5. You come across as desperate
Nothing screams of a lack of preparation and smells like failure than begging for large sums of money at the 11th hour. Another actual Tweet:
“@stage32online 12 hr to raise only $6300 more for my film (link to campaign). Use your reach to get it done! #blockbuster” (My note: Total proposed raise was $6800)
You want to always give the impression that you are in complete control. After all, you’re asking people to donate their hard earned dollars to help you make a film. You have to instill confidence that you are a leader, one who has a plan and the vision to move and motivate people. Looking for 95% of your total raise while running the last mile won’t instill that confidence. It would be better to kill your campaign after the first week and go back to the drawing board.
These are only some of the mistakes people make on Twitter when promoting their film crowdfunding campaign, but they are also amongst the most common. Avoiding any and all will improve your chances of turning a failing campaign into a winning one by allowing the voice of your message to rise above the din.
And remember, if we learn something from our failures then it’s not a failure at all, it’s merely a setback.
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Richard “RB” Botto is the founder and CEO of Stage 32 and the author of CROWDSOURCING FOR FILMMAKERS. He is also a producer, actor and screenwriter. His latest script THE END GAME is in development at Covert Media.