As social media becomes a more and more dominant fixture of human interaction, profit and non-profits firms alike are in mad rush to maximize these new forms of public fora. For those looking to improve their social media management proficiency, these stories offer an insight or two.
In July 2014, Chris Kennedy, of Florida was challenged to pour buckets of ice on himself, donate to a charity of his choosing and then pass on the challenge to anybody. He called out his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, and posted his video in an attempt to put a smile on Anthony, Jeanette’s husband who was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Senerchia obliged, posted her own video and called out to more friends. In no time, the challenge reached Pete Frates, a Boston student actively involved in the battle against ALS and who had a considerable network of supporters. Within three months, U.S. ALS Association had 307,598 new donors which donated more than $155M. The Ice Bucket Challenge also resulted to 1.2 million related Facebook videos and 2.2 million Twitter mentions. It was such a successful social media campaign that the on August, 2015.the ALS Association, Les turner foundation and ALS Therapy Development Institute adopted it as an official charity event to raise funds and awareness. It has become a global annual activity since.
Creativity, emotional content and even serendipity may have played a vital role in the global success of the Ice Bucket Challenge but even within a small network, a key is to make a lasting connection with your audience. The series “Longmire”, a modern western crime Drama managed to earn a loyal following among a limited fan base—the older viewers. Given this very limited audience and therefore limited profitability, the American Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Network cancelled the show after its third season. After its cancellation though, a cast member initiated a social media campaign for the revival of the series using the hastag #LongLiveLongmire. Devoted fans took to social media, a rather surprising choice of platform given their age demographic, to support the campaign and save the series with which they had a deep connection. Driven only by a small but determined mass of enthusiasts, the campaign caught wildfire and took the attention of Netflix to pick up the series extend it into two more seasons.
There is also the need to connect to audience on both personal and philosophical level. While moving around the world on an academic tour, Serengetee co-founders Jeff Steitz and Ryan Westberg, came up with the creative idea of collecting fabrics from around the globe and using it to make colourful pockets in their line of T-shirts while giving donations to the communities they sourced the materials from. While travelling, they maintained contact with their market by staying active in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, and Hootsuite. They monitored and maintained presence in social media forum conversations and used the hastag #WeartheWorld. They asked customers about changes in design, new products and ideas while advocating the need give back to the local communities. Their continuous presence, activity, personal touch and campaign resulted to a loyal fan base which went from one during their first few weeks to 20,000 within a year and over 193,000 after two years. They also have 23,000 Instagram, 8,700 Twitter followers and have donated over $60,000 to 32 causes in 28 countries.
A similar model can be found in Singapore. Changi Airport, one of the premiere airlines in the world is also is one of the top brands in with high performing content on all social networks. Its average engagement score alone is still higher than any other network in any other industry network. What was the key? Content that encourages participation diverse formats topics and formats including travel news, market advisory and entertainment. But more importantly, it had an impressive average reply time of less than two hours which communicated its commitment to active public engagement.