You’re a startup. You have an idea, you have seed-funding, you have fortitude. Now what?
Pulling a successful startup together can be a risky venture. However, today, there’s a way to test the waters before risking too much energy, capital and time.
The Internet is a connection tool. Today, there are hundreds of ways for businesses to use social media and the Internet to connect to the crowd and ask important questions right from the beginning.
The Internet and social networking have revolutionized the way many startups can do business: They can leverage customers and partners to gain valuable feedback throughout the process. The end result speaks for itself: Everyone stands behind the big idea.
There are several great crowd-funding websites to cross-promote within your social media campaign. Kickstarter, indiegogo and RocketHub are three great tools to lay out your objectives, inform the audience, and of course, raise money. Your first customers, partners, and your brand’s closest network help fund your business and boost its probability of success.
These sites go hand-in-hand with social media for feedback generation, and you don’t need to limit your communications to a simple status. Run a Facebook contest, host a Twitter chat, do a poll, an event, a Pinterest contest, create videos – the possibilities are endless, and they all build your fan base.
Example Facebook post:
“Welcome to [INSERT COMPANY HERE]! We’re going to [INSERT GOAL], but we need your feedback. What do you like about [INSERT PRODUCT]?”
Benefits of Crowd-Partnering
1) You gain knowledge and insight from customers. Testing the temperature of a market segment can indicate how well your target market will accept the idea.
2) You can leverage insight for stronger partnerships. Positive reinforcement from customers shows partners and funders that your idea will be a success.
3) It complements your social media. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a recommendation on LinkedIn, a testimonial on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter. Not to mention, you can join groups that relate to your new concept and join the conversations that are already in progress.
4) It’s a cheap channel for traffic directing. Social media is free. Some crowd-funding websites require a small flat rate, but they are very affordable and can harvest huge results.
Tips for Crowd-Partnering
1) Establish a strong social community. These people should comprise 25% of your campaign and serve to show momentum to later supporters.
2) Create a creative messaging strategy and advertisement strategy to generate excitement. These online tools make it easy to convert your fans, friends, connections into partners and genuine supporters.
3) Be real. Social media is predicated on two-way communications. Listen to your customers, and respond in real-time. Personify your brand by drawing a picture of the voice behind it, this can be helpful when crafting statuses, updates and tweets. Some of the best campaigns are simple, honest, and humble.
4) Set realistic expectations. Know your competition, protect your ideas, and set smart goals along the way.
Remember: Startups take time and money. Even the best idea needs a great vision, a solid team, and a little bit of luck. Don’t expect miracles. Only 10% of new business ventures actually make it – successful or not, always keep an eye to the future.
SMCpros has helped a handful of startups navigate their way through social media and crowd-funding campaigns. We know first-hand what it means to be a startup. Each opportunity is challenging, but can be very rewarding. Get in touch with us and we’ll help jumpstart your crowd campaign.