So, you wanna hire a social media guru for your crowdfunding campaign, eh? Ask yourself this: what expectations do you have?
Most folks would anticipate that this “social media guru” will be the one doing most of, if not all, of the work involved in spreading the word about their campaign, resulting in funding streaming in from Twitter and Facebook faster than you can count it. And occasionally this is the case, though not as often as we’d like to think…
The bigger question, though, is whether or not you’ll keep your social media guru on the payroll through not only the duration of your campaign, but over the online lifespan of your finished film. Tweets gotta keep Tweeting. Facebook updates don’t post themselves. And eventually Google Plus will grow into something more than a way to make email seem cool.
Building buzz is one thing, but once it’s built up, it requires maintenance for the long haul ahead.
The Myth of the Social Media Guru
Instead of hiring a social media guru, consider starting your crowdfunding process early and then spend your time building up your social media following first though interaction with your audience and by adding value to their day.
This can be done over a couple months of interaction, or up to nine months, as was the case with me. And believe me, when I started, I was certainly no social media guru.
Does this sound like a lot of work?
It is, but remember that the benefits of crowdfunding are twofold.
Obviously, we want to raise the funds we need to make the films we want to make. More importantly, though, crowdfunding means engagement with our audiences. We can’t simply ask our audiences for money – we make it simple for them to say no that way.
We have to give people a good reason to contribute, and direct interaction with the filmmaker (and not necessarily a third-party social media guru) makes one heck of a strong reason for a person to contribute to a campaign.
Here are three quick things you can do to get started:
- Read, Retweet, and Repeat. One way to add value to your audience is to keep up to date with filmmaking news. If you’re reading articles and not sharing them on social, you’re only benefiting yourself, and that benefits no one. Instead, read articles that inform and enlighten you, but re-tweet and share them on Facebook, and append a few words about it when possible, just so we know that you actually did read it.
- Use Twitter and Interest Lists. If you’re anything like me, a feed of thousands of folks we’re following can make it a bit more difficult to nurture meaningful relationships. I suggest creating lists as a way to keep your actual following light enough to build up some strong relationships, yet still keep yourself in-the-know about everything from “Movie News” to what your “Film Influencers” are putting out into the world. You can also use a client like Tweetdeck to lay these lists out as columns to peruse at your leisure.
- Build your community and your audience. Many filmmakers spend time talking to other indie filmmakers, which is excellent, since communities like #supportindiefilm and #scriptchat exist to help and support one another. But these communities are seldom the entire audience for that horror film you’re prepping to crowdfund. Spend time with your actual audience on social media; it’s your community will help you get your film out to that audience, but it’s the audience itself that holds the power to keep you there.
In the same way the “crowd” comes before the “funding” right down to the word “crowdfunding” itself, we have to take charge in building up the audience for our films, and step one is to lay aside thoughts of hiring a social media guru; believe me, the good ones are few and far between, the legit ones quite costly too.
Instead of hiring a social media guru, do your own socializing on Twitter and Facebook, and strive to create deeper connections with your crowd. You’ll be rewarded later with the funding you need to make the films your audiences want to see.