Using social media to further your passions

Author with dog

David Jensen and Layla (Photo by Cynthia Price)

David Jensen has a passion for dogs (whom he calls animal companions) and photography.

To further these passions, he turned to social media because he wanted to publish a book of dog photography but did not have the funds to do so. At the time, he wasn’t even on Facebook.

He began by setting his one, five and 10-year plans, which included raising funds to publish the book.

He knew he couldn’t just jump on Kickstarter to crowdsource funding so he began with Facebook. He quickly realized he had made a mistake when he created a personal page on Facebook instead of a business page. He has since corrected that.

Once he had the business page in place, he found it growing faster than he could have imagined. Part of that was due to the adorable images of dogs. He would post a new photo every day.

He also spends considerable time engaging with his followers. “You have to connect with your people,” Jensen said. “You need to keep it real.”

He also offers contests about three times a year. He continues to boost his Facebook page by purchasing ads, also about three times a year, which, Jensen said, is necessary to expand one’s reach.

Before long, he was ready to launch his Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to print his first book. “I had to do that. I didn’t have the money.”

He used Facebook to try to focus his audience to transition to Kickstarter, where he had 60 days to complete his campaign. He knew his audience, and he had a specific goal. He found it helpful to create pledge levels with each level receiving a gift such as a signed copy of the book or a photography session.

Jensen said updating at least once a week on Kickstarter kept donors engaged. As he drew closer to the end of the campaign he tapped into social media more frequently. With Kickstarter he had to reach his full goal, or he would receive nothing.

“It all ties into people believing in you,” Jensen said. His donors believed in him because his business page on Facebook enabled them to know him.

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