We all know that charities are stretched for resources. Funding is limited and personnel can be spread thin across many tasks. However, in order for charities to reach audiences, hit fundraising targets and affect real change, it is essential that they communicate their message authentically, and this can be done by putting resources into a great social media campaign. Here are some top tips for planning an effective campaign:
1. Get specific
Outline some very clear goals at the start of your campaign. Is it a fundraising drive, an awareness push, a call out for volunteers or a call to action? Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and set a time-frame. It’s good to hang the campaign on a real-life event; an example of this is a year-long Penn State University fundraising drive for pediatric cancer, culminating in a 48-hour dance-a-thon.
You’ll also need to be specific to the platform – find multiple entry points from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs but tailor your message to each medium – you can cross-fertilise but remember that Facebook and Twitter are very different beasts.
2. Be creative
If you want your campaign to stand out, it’s going to have to look different from the others. An example of this is a viral (though unofficial) breast cancer awareness campaign promoted through enigmatic Facebook status updates to pique curiosity. However, the campaign lacks specificity, having no clear message and no end-point and generally only succeeds in confusing or irritating other Facebook users.
3. Get personal
Authentic, personal stories and calls to action will create empathy or spark a desire to act – this might be in the form of a single story, one person’s experience that stands for the whole campaign; or you might get encourage crowdsourced? stories that will build up a big picture of why your campaign is necessary. Social media is? a medium for sharing authentic experiences and opinions, whether it’s through text, video or image – such as Greenpeace’s clever Shell is Prepared hoax campaign.
4. Beware complacency
There is a tendency for social media users to feel that after contributing to a hashtag or sharing an image, their job is done. Make sure you design your campaign so participants feel impelled to continue to act; also make sure you can contact participants afterwards and use the momentum of the campaign to follow up with participants.
There are many ways to design great social campaigns, but if you have clarity and focus in the planning stages, executing the campaign and reaching your targets will become a simpler endeavour.