Feb 122012
 

Casey Hopkins asked people to fund his new project to make a better dock for the iPhone. He wanted $75,000 he got $1.5 million. Kickstarter kicks ass. But how does one do that? How does one build a community that will give money to a project? Do you just stick it up on Kickstarter and hope for the best? Here are some steps to look at.

 

Understand the opportunities

Kickstarter is an online community where you put up your project that you need funding, in this case to make a new dock for the iPhone. The community then decides to put money in, if the project is worth it. Kickstarter won’t do this magically, any more than YouTube will magically turn you into a karaoke star. You have to maximise the opportunities that Kickstarter offers you and understand the risks. Diving straight for the gold is just going to get you ignored or worse, kicked out of the community.

Identifying and working with Influencers

John Gruber, a top blogger & podcaster,  was watching Kickstarter and blogged the project in the first hour or so,

then it reached$25,000 in 2 hours and then… on December 14th Casey wrote:

It must be some type of record to hit $75,000 in 8 hours 14 minutes from 815 backers. I owe it all to you early backers for the support.

In fact Casey wrote:

A special big thanks to my good friend Aviv Hadar at ThinkBrilliant for sending out the word early to John Gruber, who crashed our image server and got the ball rolling with his post on DF. If anyone has a contact at Engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Ars, etc – I think this is a story their readers might like.

It drives me nuts how many of my clients are terrified of bloggers and twitterers and do everything in social media (blog, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr) except work with influencers. Nuts.

Tip: Make a list of bloggers and twitterers. Monitor them. Then engage with them. Before you need them. Because you like them, respect them and really want to be connected to them. Before you need them. This is not media business as usual.

Broadcast time is instant, Social media time is slower

$25k in 2 hours is amazing. Amazing. But social media works best in the long tail. From December 14th on, Casey kept earning money. It would’ve looked like a J-Curve.

Traditional vs Social Media timelines

Interesting that there was a large take up in the beginning, that’s the core influencer network at work, then it spreads (ripples) into the other networks and turns into a massive J-Curve.

Tip: Get your influencers in early to get the early lift, then follow up with trickling through social networks to keep the momentum up.  Keep reading for more up tips ;)

Genuine – genuine nice and genuine gratitude

Thanking everyone. There was a thankyou in just about every update Casey put out. That’s a genuine, from the heart, honest and transparent emotion. It’s not an Academy Award thankyou.

 Media counted for nothing

Public relations people create a social media campaign and then rush to the Press with it. Which will backfire because usually it’s then greeted with a deafening silence in the blogosphere, if not mild disdain. When Harry Potter World was released, the Public Relations Director said that they knew they had to engage bloggers first, before journalists, and flew in 7 community managers to view the rides first. That way, they didn’t annoy the millions of Harry Potter fans on the forums by letting them find out first in normal newspapers. The community managers broke the news to the fans, not the newspapers.

Media

We have received glowing reviews from Wired, Gizmodo, Cult of Mac, Uncrate, GigaOM, Electronista, and many more. Its a surreal feeling to see your product in the blogs you read everyday.

And its been shared around the world by thousands of people of Facebook and Twitter. The Twitter stream for “Elevation Dock” has been cool to watch.

But it is still crickets in the mainstream press… If anyone knows a journalist, we would be happy if you forwarded them a link to our project. Like “Hey David Pogue, feast you eyes on this hunk of metal that is the fastest growing crowd funded product in history.”

And they can get in touch directly: media@elevationlab.com (from Kickstarter page again)

I asked on Twitter this morning if Mainstream Media in Australia was covering the story. Silence. If it bleeds it Leads, but only in the Olde Media Worlde,  not in the Real Media World. Good news stories do well in real life. By the way, I just found one on Sydney Morning Herald by David Pogue which is a copy and paste of the New York Times article.  An ad would not have had this impact.

Tricky, don’t engage traditional media, engage community media first  - but even when the story is breaking in communities, traditional media still don’t come on board. What is the role of Heritage Media again?

If media count for nothing then …

Community is Everything

The founder of kickstarter said

He also points out that backing a project gives you bragging rights. “You’re not just buying the thing, you’re creating it. You’re in on the ground floor. Getting a bird’s-eye view of how it’s made is exciting.” NY Times

I would like to add something: even if I had all the money I needed for a project that needs an audience, customers, community later on, I would still use Kickstarter. If I ran a billion dollar company, I would still put small projects up for $25,000. Why? So that people had a say. So I could trial the idea with the community. So I could get a list of people who might actually give a sh!t about my products, brands and services. Instead of paying for a focus group, I’d get money from them. What can I say? I’m part Scottish… :P

So even if you have investors, Angels and Venture Capitalists lined up. Even if the bank has got it’s hands under your skirt and is making the right noises, you should still court Kickstarter. Who knows, you might end up with 1.5 million dollars towards your project. Or something even more valuable – 12 and half thousand people that believed in you enough not to just vote on your project but to put up real cash and then to forward it to friends on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. And that’s gotta leave you feeling rich…

There are a bunch of other things – practical business steps e.g. offering a product to the community first

We know one thing for certain – that we would not sell a single Dock to anyone before every backer got theirs. This project would never see the light of day without you.

and crowdsourcing technology solutions, not just the money that helped. What else did you notice? Have a read and let me know.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Follow @Silkcharm on Twitter. Or you could just dance nekkid around the room for me.
  • http://twitter.com/searchtempo/status/168638295583096832 John Hacking

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million: Casey Hopkins asked people to fund his new projec… http://t.co/p5zZU8TV

  • http://twitter.com/marketingblogs/status/168639382486654977 Marketing Blog News

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million http://t.co/bfB67XYU

  • http://twitter.com/communitycrew/status/168640452927565824 The Community Crew

    How to build an online community that will give you $1.5 million instead of the 75k you asked for… http://t.co/y8VvhdUG @Kickstarter ^^

  • http://twitter.com/silkcharm/status/168640456786313216 SilkCharm

    How to build an online community that will give you $1.5 million instead of the 75k you asked for… http://t.co/8wIFWKyK @Kickstarter ^^

  • http://twitter.com/garyphayes/status/168648114192916480 Gary Hayes

    RT @SilkCharm Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5mil – Influence, Authenticity, Community http://t.co/ICkdCp30

  • http://twitter.com/ladyluckthefeds/status/168648321198592000 Lisa Gray

    RT @SilkCharm Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5mil – Influence, Authenticity, Community http://t.co/ICkdCp30

  • http://twitter.com/dannuroo/status/168648392656953344 Dannuroo

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  • http://twitter.com/tendaijoe/status/168648772354707456 Tendai Sean Joe

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  • http://twitter.com/kleverlaan/status/168654357749964804 Ronald Kleverlaan

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  • http://twitter.com/overpeinzingen1/status/168658200982331392 Ellen

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  • http://twitter.com/peterbrenn/status/168661209833418752 Peter Brenninkmeijer

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  • http://twitter.com/luciesnape/status/168668454298193920 Lucie Snape

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  • http://twitter.com/bradcumbers/status/168669193867243520 Brad Cumbers

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  • http://twitter.com/scottoxford/status/168671582674358272 Scott Oxford

    How to build an online community that will give you $1.5 million instead of the 75k you asked for… http://t.co/8wIFWKyK @Kickstarter ^^

  • http://twitter.com/blauwenoordzee/status/168671848240910337 Blauwe Noordzee

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  • http://twitter.com/thestoryroom/status/168672911069159425 Tali C

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  • http://twitter.com/hpnhansen/status/168687448317104128 Hans-Petter N-Hansen

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  • http://twitter.com/s_88/status/168687984248487938 Sabrina Testa

    How to build an online community that will give you $1.5 million instead of the 75k you asked for… http://t.co/8wIFWKyK @Kickstarter ^^

  • http://twitter.com/vrss/status/168695099994275840 Vinicius Rocha

    THE WHOLE QUESTION isn`t the money, it´s the SOCIAL CAPITAL within =) http://t.co/1MagBFVJ

  • http://twitter.com/silo_is/status/168712919935229954 Silo

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  • http://twitter.com/uxte/status/168713040529858561 Pedro Reis

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  • http://twitter.com/ecomunidades/status/168722789744914432 comunidades

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  • http://twitter.com/armurrayexecs/status/168726501079003137 A.R. Murray

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  • http://twitter.com/deaelmi/status/168757003072708609 Dea Elmi

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  • http://twitter.com/silkcharm/status/168802274687197184 SilkCharm

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  • http://twitter.com/travelmonkee/status/168804037079212032 Carl Smith

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  • http://twitter.com/flexnib/status/168807202172313601 Constance Wiebrands

    RT @silo_is Community is Everything or How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million in #crowdfunding by @SilkCharm http://t.co/evYsz1d4

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  • http://twitter.com/kerrib/status/168813798063476736 Kerri B

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  • http://twitter.com/beecue/status/168824470272872448 Rodolfo Quevenco

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  • http://twitter.com/screenaustralia/status/168905375683321858 Screen Australia

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  • http://twitter.com/ingunnjuul/status/168945414895173635 Ingunn Juul

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    A true Cinderella story RT @silo_is: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million in #crowdfunding by @SilkCharm http://t.co/5AhsgYhm

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  • http://twitter.com/gquaggiotto/status/168977770335043584 giulio quaggiotto

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  • http://twitter.com/gfortes/status/168989153088905216 Gustavo Fortes

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  • http://twitter.com/davidfurber/status/169050030316077056 David Furber

    A true Cinderella story RT @silo_is: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million in #crowdfunding by @SilkCharm http://t.co/5AhsgYhm

  • http://twitter.com/jyrimanninen/status/169082590064680962 Jyri Manninen

    Community is Everything or How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million in #crowdfunding by @SilkCharm http://t.co/DuY5LAhM

  • http://twitter.com/activengage/status/169093515815555073 ActivEngage

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  • http://twitter.com/silkcharm/status/169238142984007680 SilkCharm

    Crowdsourced Funding – asked for 75k but got… $1.5 million! http://t.co/vTHiSeaF How does social venture capital change angel investing…

  • http://twitter.com/kim_bruning/status/169238206880038912 Kim Bruning

    Crowdsourced Funding – asked for 75k but got… $1.5 million! http://t.co/vTHiSeaF How does social venture capital change angel investing…

  • http://twitter.com/adamson/status/169238479975366656 Walter Adamson

    Crowdsourced Funding – asked for 75k but got… $1.5 million! http://t.co/vTHiSeaF How does social venture capital change angel investing…

  • http://twitter.com/mikepink/status/169241219224965121 Mike Pinkerton

    RT @SilkCharm Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million | @SilkCharm | Laurel .. http://t.co/nhItAtA8

  • http://twitter.com/sharonchang/status/169272607462531072 Sharon Chang

    Crowdsourced Funding – how to ask for 75k and get $1.5 million! http://t.co/ie2IY0zE #socialmedia #kickstarter

  • http://twitter.com/thehubla/status/169285073630273536 The HUB LA

    Check out this iPhone dock that raised $1.5million on Kickstarter when they only asked for $75k. http://t.co/1SERqIDR

  • http://twitter.com/yoheinakajima/status/169285286658965505 Yohei Nakajima

    Check out this iPhone dock that raised $1.5million on Kickstarter when they only asked for $75k. http://t.co/tWNQjAKp

  • http://twitter.com/mayfaircapital/status/169343324526870528 Karen Turner

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million http://t.co/mF6c0pmz via @zite

  • http://twitter.com/projektstarter/status/169356562136170496 Projektstarter.org

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  • http://twitter.com/najet_tenoutit/status/169370434687606784 najet_tenoutit

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million http://t.co/O2Ls7paJ

  • http://twitter.com/iyadabumoghli/status/169720807117950976 Iyad Abumoghli

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million: http://t.co/0dUpYFUv

  • http://twitter.com/tommikoskinen/status/169752987269476354 tommi koskinen

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million: http://t.co/PhaLcHHc

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  • http://twitter.com/marclepage/status/170532447698681856 Marc Lepage

    @Manubouiti @karimsy_twit l'histoire évoquée durant le déjeuner: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million http://t.co/APfHAdNC

  • http://twitter.com/jvermasheina/status/170934631288418305 Juuso Vermasheinä

    +1 RT @arielcohen A true Cinderella story RT @silo_is: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5m in #crowdfunding by @SilkCharm http://t.co/xxdtpvT9

  • http://twitter.com/elleiconlee/status/171778982864367616 Elle Lee

    How to ask for 75k but get 1.5 million! – http://t.co/U5o6yZz0 #sumhk @hypercasey

  • http://twitter.com/mattpayne/status/176332042357833728 Matt Payne

    Crowdsourced Funding: How to ask for $75K but get $1.5million | @SilkCharm | Laurel Papworth http://t.co/zsxUKWvh.

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  • http://www.perfectinnovations.com.au/SEO/ Clyde Woodard

    Another good alternative to kickstarter.com is rockethub.com.

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    wonderful post, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

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  • http://www.dadoftheday.blogspot.com/ Sanford Hall

    Well, I think it’s my time to ask for some funding. Wishing me luck…

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