Hey, You’re *Probably* Not Pebble.

When you think “crowdfunding,” you recall the guys that made it big. You read about the one Megatron Kickstarter getting $8,273,838,000 in funding and your Google results blow up with numerous analyses on “how they did it.” Aspiring crowdfunders devour these articles, savor each word, and get tangled in aspirations.

Don’t have delusions of grandeur. That’s not going to be you. You’re not Pebble.

Unless you are Pebble. But you’re *probably* not Pebble.

Hey, I’m Emily.

And this:

is Thinking Ball.

Thinking Ball has been hanging out on Indiegogo for the last few weeks, and is 177% funded. Actually, we met our funding goal in under 8 hours. Check it out.

This is closer to what your campaign will be. You’re not looking to be the next high-growth tech startup. You just want to record that album, write that book, explode those kittens.

Thinking Ball gave a common object a new job, and people loved it. Odds are you aren’t reinventing the wheel either, so you may be able to learn a thing or two from us.

While our networks were critical in our funding (thanks guys), our main success can be attributed to some basic strategies we used on Twitter. After perusing Reddit, I saw that many people are looking to leverage social media in their crowdfunding campaign, but have no idea how.

Twitter is a phenomenal social media tool to promote your product organically. Here are a couple strategies we used to help more people think with balls.

HASHTAGS

“I don’t understand the point of hashtags.”

I hear this all. the. time. I’m here to tell you that hashtags have a purpose, and you should make it your business to use them. Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to engage with your fans or target market. If you’re tweeting without hashtags, you are putting your message only in front of your followers (and if you’re reading this article, that’s probably not a huge number of people). You are then relying on those followers to introduce your content to others, and odds are they won’t.

Many people turn to their ‘Trending’ bar as a guide for hashtag use in order to reach more people at once. I’m not a huge advocate of that strategy for a number of reasons:

  1. What are the odds that my target market happens to be surfing #KIMKARDASHIAN?
  2. What are the odds that I can construct a relevant, insightful tweet around #KIMKARDASHIAN?
  3. Why am I focusing on #KIMKARDASHIAN, instead of hashtags that relate to my product and matter to my target market?

Unless you’re a pop culture company, you shouldn’t be tweeting #KIMKARDASHIAN. Thinking Ball didn’t hashtag Kim Kardashian because our target market is people who think. Think about your target market, and use relevant hashtags to get their attention.

TWITTER LISTS

Twitter lists are an invaluable resource… that no one uses for marketing. In under 5 minutes, we used IFTTT to create lists of people that have used the hashtags #think or #deepthoughts. Every time a user utilized one of these hashtags, they were added to our list.

This was the response:

People really liked it. We received numerous responses of thanks, follows, and mentions. Lists are an extremely valuable way to curate people relevant to your target market.

ENGAGEMENT

Pro Tip: people are way more interested in themselves than they are in your product.

Use that to your advantage. Twitter is a great tool to discover and access people in your target market, but they won’t care unless you give them a reason. Go engage them, don’t expect them to engage you.

There are a ton of ways to engage people on Twitter — strategic following, hashtags, favorites—but we wanted something more personal and unique. So we decided to plaster my face all over the Twittersphere by sending videos to strangers. It was totally within my comfort zone. [plot twist: it wasn’t.]

Like this one we sent to serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis:

Note Jason’s Twitter profile in the background…because that’s totally not creepy.

Jason has 220,000 Twitter followers and is well-known in the startup community. We are just a drop on his radar, but the video tweet got his attention, scoring a retweet and reply. 10 minutes of our time resulted in 220,000 potential customers being introduced to Thinking Ball.

We created over 10 of these videos, targeting different influencers. They got sillier as we went…

Even though everyone didn’t necessarily share it, we received exposure simply by reaching out to these influencers. It’s easy to get spammy on Twitter, and our videos added a human layer of authenticity that is frequently lost in the social media landscape.

IN CONCLUSION…

You’re not Pebble. And that is totally okay. In order for things like Pebble to exist, potato salad has to exist, too. You don’t need a massive marketing budget or large pool of superfans to succeed in crowdfunding. Just find ways to engage your audience and inspire them to share your story.

If you’re more like Thinking Ball, I hope this article gave you some fresh ideas for marketing your crowdfunding campaign.

If you have any questions about crowdfunding/social media/my personal life, please reach out: emuhob@gmail.com.

[We also don’t hate Kim Kardashian.]