Yesterday was (RED) and Mashable's Social Good Day, a day when social media enthusiasts around the world are encouraged to collaborate and come up with ideas on using social media to promote social good. As a blogger and social media consultant, I gave it my best to come up with and share a creative idea for using social media for social good. What I came up with was to post about Social Good Day on my Greater Good Life blog and offer to donate $1 to the Global Fund (up to $100 total) for everytime the blog entry recieved a comment or a post on Twitter or Facebook. The goal of the campaign was to spread the word out about (Red) and Social Good Day.
Every good social media campaign should end with evaluation research: What were the measurable results? Did the campaign acheive its goal? What are the key learnings from the campaign that would improve future campaigns?
For larger campaigns, I would tally the results using a service like Radian 6, but I'm approaching this small scale campaign the way my small business clients would, manually counting comments, mentions and posts. By 10:30pm on Social Good Day, 12 hours after the campaign started, my blog post received:
- 8 comments
- 20 tweets with @replies
- 25 retweets
- 5 shared facebook posts (probably more, but this was harder to track)
- 89 likes and 56 comments on the (RED) facebook page (showing their support, they posted about my campaign).
The social good blog post received about 100 more unique visitors than a typical blog post would in the first 12 hours as well. The post received 56 referrals from Facebook in addition to 30 referrals directly from (RED)'s facebook page.
That's what I could quickly hand count, I'm sure I missed a few posts. Comments and referrals are still coming in, but it's safe to say I'll be donating $100 to the Global Fund!
Was the campaign's goal achieved?
The goal of the campaign was to spread the word about (Red) and Social Good Day. While the $100 donation affords a lot of HIV/AIDs medication for patients in Africa, I could have donated that on my own without a campaign. The important result was that there were at least 100 posts about (Red) in the social media sphere because of my blog post. A hundred social media users shared information about (Red) and Social Good Day with their thousands of friends and followers! I consider the goal acheived!
What can be learned from this campaign about using social media for social good?
Bloggers should be personally engaged by an organization. I've been busy with clients the past few weeks and hadn't kept up with my Mashable or (RED) news feed. I found out about Social Good Day this morning and had to react fast. How did I find out about Social Good Day? I recieved a tweeted direct message from (RED) asking for my support. The tweet was personal in that it mentioned my support from the year before and linked to a blog post that reference my campaign last year.
This wasn't the first time (RED) had engaged with personally. The first Social Good Day last year, the organization retweeted and @replied me, making a point to show appreciation for my effort. This morning, I was not at all prepared to do a blog post about Social Good Day, but the personal engagment inspired me to make it happen. Had I not had a personal engagement with (RED), I wouldn't have gone to that kind of trouble.
Every blogger has an influence. Don't limit engagement to the blog stars. My Greater Good Life blog has nothing on the Huffington Post or Care2, but (RED) didn't overlook me! Often times, social good campaigns are quick to point out that even the smallest donation can make a big difference, yet they don't abide by their own "every little bit counts" philosophy when it comes to engagement. As a blogger, I've never been pitched by a nonprofit (other than (RED)) to write a post about their efforts, though I'd be happy to do it! If my local SPCA did a simple blog search on Google, I'm sure they would see I've posted about dogs. If my local food pantry did the same, they'd see I've posted about world hunger. If these organizations that have causes relevant to my blog invite me to their organization for a tour or suggest a good story, I'd be happy to support their cause. Organizations just have to ask in a way that is not a pitch, but a collaboration.
An organization should use social media to show they care about their supporters as much as their cause. I've given money to a lot of organizations that resulted in repeated, tree-killing impersonal direct mail being stuffed into my mailbox. These organizations care a great deal about their causes, but they don't seem to care about me as a supporter. I'm a number, a dollar figure to them, not a person. Social media allows organizations to truly interact with supporters and build a relationship with them. Supporters can offer an organization much more than money, they can offer word-of-mouth and inspiration to others.
There is a lot of distraction in the social media space, so consistency is key. Facebook's major redesign dominated the discussion online today, on both Facebook and Twitter. As much as we posted about social good, this added some clutter to our message. My campaign blog post did not get the same attention from my Facebook friends as it normally would. I think this was because so many of my friends were complaining about and trying to figure out the new Facebook changes launched today. This kind of distraction is uncontrollable in social media. We have to take into account that whatever our message, there are countless other equally important messages floating around in the space. The best way to counter this is through consistency of the message. Use of a hashtag and very simple descriptions with links keeps a message clearly communicated amongst the clutter.
Keep the conversation going. The goal of spreading the word does not end with starting a conversation. The conversation should be continued through additional interaction. I did with my campaign so far by replying to any tweets and posts that came my way. When I have time over the next several days, I'll go back and follow and subscribe to the people I interacted with on Twitter and Facebook and send those who left comments on my blog an e-mail thanking them. (RED) does a stellar job of this. (RED) kept in touch with me after last year's campaign, and I hear from the organization personally via social media throughout the year. I maintain an interest in (RED)'s cause, even with all the distractions in the social media space, because (RED) continues to engage me.
How could the next campaign be better?
Next time, I'd spend more time. I wasn't prepared for Social Good Day, so the campaign could have been better planned and executed with a little more time. Maybe I could have found sponsors and partnered with other bloggers. Also, 12-24 hours is not long period to run a campaign. Perhaps a campaign like this should have been launched on Social Good Day and continued throughout the week.
Next time, I'd love to join forces with a large group of bloggers. I could envision a social good campaign where 50 or more bloggers join forces to make a bigger impact. A call to bloggers could be placed on the campaign's website. Bloggers can sign up and pledge to post and donate a specific amount. There could be a page that showcases all of the participating bloggers. There is a lot of potential to experiment with here. I hope this campaign offers a stepping stone for others to take this idea and run with it.
Next time, it would be great to include a photo or video component. Words are only one dimension of social media. Photos and videos would make this campaign more three-dimentional. An organization wishing to expand on this campaign could set up a Flickr photo pool, a YouTube channel or a Tumblr or Posterous blog to collect multimedia entries. Even with my small scaled campaign, if I had planned a little more, I would have loved creating a video for Social Good Day. I'm sure other bloggers and social media users would do the same.
So that's my analysis of a #SocialGood campaign. I'm always happy to share my ideas with worthwhile organizations that need help brainstorming strategic efforts. Please contact me if you decide to run a campaign like this one and would like more thoughts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go donate $100.