Hi Jim here,
project lead for the Mobile Comics Factory.
I spent a lot of time sequestered away at my desk working on funding applications and plans to begin to make the mobile comics factory happen. But with a project like this (something that is for the community, within the community and supported by the community) I knew that I could not make it happen alone.
The community needed to know about it, I needed to share the passion I have.
I hoped to get people excited about making work for the library, I hoped to gain the insight of other youth workers around town and learn about the young people they work with. I needed community leaders and potential funders to know about the project, and I needed to gauge the local appetite for an idea like this.
So I went to Facebook and made a simple page. But rather than invite my entire friend-list as I might normally do for an event or personal project, I did something very different.
Anyone can get lots of likes to a Facebook page by spamming people and leaning on the goodwill of friends, but I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want people to thoughtlessly click the like button and I wanted to ensure that people who would be most interested in the project didn’t dismiss it as spam.
So once the page was finished I selected four or five friends and sent them a specific and personal message asking them to take a look at the new page. I asked them to take it in and if they felt that the project was something they supported, then to share it with their friends including a personal recommendation.
I explained to them that what I had realised from my own experience was that I give far more weight to the opinion of people I trust than I do to paid advertisements or people sharing pages at random. I selected four people whose opinion I listen to, and who have a stake in the community. Each was either a youth worker or an artist. I also picked a friend who I knew would have my back, someone who really knows how to encourage and who oozes enthusiasm.
I didn’t even share a link to the page on my own Facebook feed at first. I relied on this message sent to less than half a dozen people. Within 48 hours the page had fifty likes and I was interacting with people I’d never met who were excited about the project and had things to offer and insight to give.
Had I sent an invite to everybody I know, I may well have still received fifty likes on the page but I would have known all those people already, and many would not have had contributions to make beyond moral support.
I hope that helps you if you’re trying to drum up interest in your own endeavours. And may I put out my cap and remind you that you can support us by being vocal about your interest in this project on social media.
Its value is priceless. Not least because of the encouragement it gives me to keep driving forward and make the project the best it can be.