Platform vs. Media Outlet
As I talk with many people about social media, there is an assumption that there is a huge audience waiting to be tapped. The truth is, there is no audience.
A platform like GoFundMe or even Facebook is like an empty auditorium. You have to fill it. Otherwise you are suffering from reading too many fish stories about the large audiences on one platform or another. It forms an audience bias. Our bias is caused by traditional linear media. For example, TV’s job is to generate an audience with programming and then you purchase the audience. On a platform, there is no audience. Wait, you say. There are a gazillion people on Facebook. Yes, but none are on your site until you build an audience or boost a post. The truth is, the only audience is when you treat social media like linear advertising and buy a Facebook ad. Otherwise, you are talking to a very small universe.
This bias is most notable with GoFundMe pages. GoFundMe is a great platform. They help set up everything, but it has no built-in audience of people waiting to give you money. That audience must be generated through promotion — your promotional effort.
We’ve all heard of the big fish stories about a man in Atlanta who raised $1 million dollars to fix his restaurant or the family that raised $2 million to pay for medical bills. Those two stories were made famous by CBS News, not the GoFundMe site. Less than 40% of GoFundMe pages reach their goal, and many of the goals are small.
You must build your audience with great content, develop relationships with influencers (people with a lot of followers on the social media platform), connect with other organizations or get lucky with national promotion.
Otherwise, buy the time. If you build it, then the platform works.