26 Nov

Crowdfunding and social media

Social mediaThrough Cotswolds Broadband I have been looking at crowdfunding as a means of raising a significant proportion of the initial capital required to operate a new rural broadband investment fund. When you are talking about generating upwards of £5 million overall, it’s important to get it right, otherwise the business could struggle. So we are looking at how social media can contribute in reaching a wider audience of potential investors.

This is an opportunity for investors to benefit from not only a slice of the equity, but from generous tax relief in the form of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), as well as future benefits on the successful performance of the business, so it’s all about reaching out to those who already understand the proposition. But are they on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms? I doubt it very much.

However it’s the way these types of investment opportunities work that is the key to ensuring that the greatest number of touch points are exploited, not just a blanket coverage. The approach is like the difference between a blunderbuss and a sniper’s rifle: investors with significant tax obligations work through intermediaries; Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) so it’s that group that we are targeting, and social media has a significant part to play.

LinkedIn is the obvious touchpoint for this group, with a quick scan producing a number of UK-centric groups that are well populated and used by IFAs, the main ones showing over 4,000 members. Reaching out to this target audience can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • by joining the relevant groups and getting involved in discussions, but that’s very time-consuming, risks being seen as a spammer, and wary moderators will see straight through it
  • by posting in the ‘Promotions’ tab of relevant groups, but unfortunately very few people actually visit this tab, which was setup to provide moderators with a means of removing the constant stream of personal promotion that used to appear in discussions
  • by using well targeted LinkedIn ads

I’m not an advocate of social media advertising per se (personally I am not one who clicks on ads in my social media channels), but it certainly has its place, particularly with very focused campaigns, and even more so when a short window of opportunity presents itself. In this case the fund is open for less than three months, so it provides a useful means of quickly reaching a target audience with a CPM campaign to increase awareness and reinforce the opportunity.

Other social media channels have their place, in this instance sponsored stories in Facebook are an effective means of targeting friends of those who already like a page or post. If the campaign has a local aspect or can be targeted at users’ Facebook interests, its effectiveness can be maximised.

The crowdfunding platform itself should provide ample opportunity for users to share content out to their network, so where these shares and comments appear they can be maximised.

So far, these touch points are generating low clickthrough rates, but in a CPM advertising campaign such as this, we are maybe more interested in reach than actions!

Find out more about social media marketing or get in touch to discuss these topics in more depth.

04 Jan

Latest Effective Social Media seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 27th January 2012. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

04 Oct

‘Effective Social Media’ Seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 800 million Social Media users then you should attend my next two-hour ‘Effective Social Media’ seminar and learn how you can leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. You will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage your digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 4th November 2011. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

01 Apr

Effective Social Media Seminar

Effective Social Media seminar

Click to book your place on an Effective Social Media seminar

If you aren’t already actively engaging with more than 600 million Social Media users then you should attend my two-hour ‘Effective Social Media‘ seminar and learn how to leverage LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for your business, organisation or charity.

The seminar aims to give attendees a solid foundation in the world of Social Media, using interactive sessions and discussion on the social networks that organisations should be using in their marketing mix. Delegates will come away with an understanding of how to plan and manage their digital network communication.

If you have already started social networking you should be using a coordinated Social Media strategy. If not, come and learn how to do so.

The next event is scheduled for 20th May. If you are interested in attending, please contact me or book a place here.

01 Oct

URL Shorteners

As Google have now released their URL shortening service goo.gl into the public domain, it’s worth looking at what these services are all about, for the benefit of those who see them and wonder why others insist on using these somewhat obscure links.

URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a URL may be made substantially shorter in length. This involves using a domain name that is short to link to a website which has a long URL

Of course this definition from Wikipedia may seem to be very obvious, but it is the reasons why people do this that I am asked about, so here are a few:

  1. To use fewer characters, thereby making the URL easier to use in micro-blogging sites such as Twitter (140 characters max)
  2. To make the URL more elegant when sending to clients or friends (a database string also can wrap onto two lines in an email and break, thereby rendering the URL useless)
  3. To make the link trackable. Most URL shortening services offer tools for tracking clicks on shortened URLs and this can be extremely useful in assessing clicks and traffic sources for website content.

An example of a shortened URL in action:

http://www.petershamproperties.com/show-category-property/21/tuscany/90/castello_di_vicarello.html
becomes http://ickl.co/dlVs5k

There are many URL shorteners on the web, but the two best known are tinyurl.com and bit.ly. I prefer the bit.ly service as it also offers an excellent Bitly Pro service, whereby you can use your own micro-URL and route clicks that way. I use my domain ickl.co to route all my clicks for Twitter, Facebook and when I send email links, so that I can track usage and view stats on bit.ly. See the example above to see the domain usage. This does involve buying a domain primarily to route clicks, but then it does also mean you have a uniquely short URL for email, should you so wish!