Communication tactics for the Make 100 Egg-Centennial
I ran a Make 100 project on Kickstarter to cook and pop 100 eggs in Brooklyn. Find out what that is and why I’m so excited to make breakfast for 100 lucky folks. I’m also using this project to illustrate some points I made in my Kickstarter Creator Hangout video on how to create and promote projects.
In a short series of posts, I hope to illustrate how I personally build community through social media, metrics, and straight up talking to people. It sounds like a lot of time and effort but it’s worth it to me (and to the success of my projects!). If you have any questions or use any of my advice, tweet me @Randwiches.
Writing copy for your Kickstarter campaign and promotion can be taxing. “Did I say enough?” or “Did I say too much?” As a person who backs many campaigns, I prefer concise project descriptions that get right to the point of what it is, how you will pull it off and what that means for me.
Do not forget the basics! Like inviting people to a party, you need to tell them the who, what, where, why, when, and how. You can seriously just use a list like I did.
Cut the crap. Replace unnecessary or long winded explanations with links to Wikipedia articles, dictionary definitions, blogs or news articles. It saves space.
Break it up. If you went through all the trouble of writing a story for your campaign page, save exciting bits for exclusive content in your backer updates. Think video outtakes, behind the scenes, your product sketches.
You can also pull out interesting facts, one-liners and statistics to share on social media or use in promotional material. You’ll need to memorize those highlights in case you have to do a press interview or quickly answer questions about your project on a live video.
We use plural. Say ‘us’ or ‘we’ in backer updates, tweets and anywhere you are talking about the campaign. Even if you are acting alone, once you have a backer, you are sharing this experience with someone. That is the seed of a community. The possessive plural enforces ownership of the project. When you say ‘we,’ it becomes our success, our failure and our prevalence.
I also started calling backers ‘ my eggies.’ My homies, definitely shorter than ‘my fellow egg yolk popping lovers.’ A nickname is a way for community members to identify each other along the way.
Commit to the bit. Puns can be groan-worthy but hey, if you show your commitment to your craft and expertise, your community will join in on the fun, too.
Even in naming your reward tiers, be creative and thematic to communicate what backers are getting into. For example here are the reward tiers for the Egg-Centennial:
AQUAFABA — Aquafaba is an egg substitute made form the liquid in garbanzo bean cans. Backers for this level will not be eating eggs but want updates.
POACHED, FRIED, SOUS VIDE — Types of egg cooking, which are straightforward offerings. You will eat an egg cooked this way.
FABERGÉ — Now, this is slightly obfuscated but if you don’t know, Fabergé was a Russian jewelry company that created jeweled Easter eggs for Tsars and their families. It’s not a style of cooking but clearly says, “Yo this egg level is p fancy, y’all.”
Code switch. Divide up the way you talk to different groups of people on and off Kickstarter. Reward levels can help discern who these people are.
‘No Reward’ backers just want to support you. They can be close friends or strangers, they don’t necessarily want the main reward. Keep them in the loop on how you’re doing but they don’t need delivery updates.
For other levels, do not blast everyone an update if it doesn’t apply to them. If a shipment is late for only one tier, message that group separately.
On Facebook I tend not to curse simply because I know my family is reading everything there. It’s probably just a good idea to stay away from cursing if you’re trying to appeal to a worldwide audience. But if it’s your ~personal brand~, then go for it ffs.
Broadcast progress. I don’t mean updating everyone each time your percentage goes up. The point is to communicate momentum. For me, that meant the first hour, third hour and end of the first day. I didn’t have time to manage this while I was at work so I had end-of-day-recaps until we made my goal.
Why all the gaps? Because the numbers didn’t change much. It looks much more impressive showing the jumps in progress rather than annoying people every 5 minutes. As rewards run out, it feels more urgent for someone to get in on the action.
What if my pledges are slow? If you’re experiencing stagnation, it helps to explain to your audience what it will take to make the goal. For example, if I were raising $1000 for a Gatorade Slip n’ Slide, I’d say to my friends,
“Hey, if 20 people pledge $50 each, we could make this dream of mine happen.”
Think realistically about your community and what they would pay. If you don’t know, ask before you launch. It’s qualifies as research!
Spell it out. Remove any possible barriers between your audience and that pledge button. Think of any hesitation a person from any background can have. Are there benefits for them personally? For the world?
Equip your backers with the tools to root for you. Tell them how they can help spread the word. Pre-write suggested language in an email or backer update asking people to share. Provide images (more on this here), links and reasons why their friends and their friends should care.
Thank everyone. Right away, not a moment to lose! Private message or tweet a backer, remind your collaborators how talented they are, and even when you’re frustrated with a vendor — thank them. In the end, they are bringing this whole thing to life. They spent time reading, watching and listening to you. Thank them for their time.
A fun thing I did for the Egg-Centennial was kept a Twitter draft open in another tab for the first day of pledges. As soon as I had enough Twitter handles of new backers to fill the character limit, I hit send with an egg GIF and link to the campaign.
This was fun because people get to see who else is coming to the egg party. It’s another opportunity to RT and help promote the project. It was a rally cry and motivator for everyone involved. Posi vibes are infectious.
To recap: don’t forget the essential details, be concise, treat your backer community like stakeholders (because they ARE), broadcast your momentum, commit to the specialized language of your project and expertise; be thankful.
If you’re a Kickstarter creator, check out my previous post about how Referrals work.