in Nonprofits

Going viral doesn’t require a lofty budget


Viral social media campaigns have become one of the most effective and widespread forms of marketing.

And the best part is that you don’t need an extensive budget to grab the attention of the masses. The most successful social media campaigns combine clever storytelling and smart social networking techniques with existing personal connections and resources.
According to Stefania Pomponi of Clever Girls Collective, the social media team behind the BatKid viral sensation, the key to a successful social campaign is not only a compelling story but also a lot of prep work and strategic planning.
Building upon the twitter tips we shared last week, let’s take your upcoming social media campaigns to the next level:

1.Listen before you leap.

“If you dip your toe into social media, the chances are you’ll get your leg bitten off,” says Tom Ollerton, marketing director at the specialist agency We Are Social. Jumping into social media without a strategy can be as disastrous as swimming in shark-infested waters. First listen to what’s being said about you and then join the conversation.
Once you have a better understanding of your online audience, you can better craft content that will resonate with them. To get traction, every campaign needs to start with an original and compelling story. That’s the only reason things go viral and that people share and get involved on social media. (For more tips on storytelling, check out our previous post.) Think like Upworthy. Stories have the power to move people emotionally, purposefully and virally so don’t be afraid to pull those heartstrings.

2.Don’t fall victim to the social media silo syndrome.

“The successful campaigns I have worked on, where we got over a million people interacting with a Facebook campaign, have been integrated with other marketing activities, such as email marketing. All channels have to work together,” says Marc Blinder, Director of Social Media Strategy at Adobe.
Make your social media campaign part of your overall marketing strategy and integrate it with all of your channels. This means you have to choose the best mediums for your specific social media activities and goals. For Batkid, Clever Girls Collective chose Twitter and Instagram as the main platforms because that’s where things unfold for real-time events. But all of their activity was tracked through the #SFBatkid hashtag and linked back to a single url address, the Make-A-Wish site where people could get more information, RSVP, donate, etc.

3. 10 Questions to ask when creating your social media campaign.

Ask yourself these ten questions before creating a social media campaign. Think of this as a business plan. You’d never jump into a new venture without one, right?
Figure out whether you are looking to drive sales, find new customers, provide customer service, or just give your organization a boost. Once you’ve charted your course with a compelling story, specific goals, chosen platforms and a target audience, make sure you plan how the campaign will run. Script every last detail leading up to and during the campaign. Make it easy for others to join the conversation by creating sample tweets for others to share with their networks. And make sure you have all the tools in place to measure the success of the potential impact of your campaign.

4.What’s in a hashtag?

It’s more than a clever name. It’s the easiest way to measure the impact of your social media campaign across multiple platforms. Although you may have a primary hashtag for your organization or cause, you’ll need to give each new campaign or program its own hashtag for accurate tracking.
So how to come up with the right one? Keep your hashtag unique and short. You don’t want to eat up too many of those 140 characters. And a word of advice from Clever Girls Collective: Tweets should be less than 140 characters because when you retweet you lose some of the 140 characters. And you definitely want things to be retweetable! Research your hashtag wishlist before putting it out there. Make sure it’s not already being used and that it can’t be hijacked by a double meaning.

5. Ditch the Tupperware and host your very own Twitter Party instead.

A great way to get a designated hashtag trending as quickly as possible is to host a Twitter party. Although #SFBatkid was already trending before the event, Clever Girls Collective “held a Twitter party, an hour before the event was to start, to talk about Make-A-Wish and heroes, to solicit donations, to use the hashtag and to just get people talking about Make-A-Wish to kick off the day.”
Invite your influencers, friends, staff, customers, one and all to gather on your social front. New to this social game? No need to worry. With a little planning you can get hundreds of tweets (or more!) about your organization within hours. Coincide the Twitter party with another event, holiday or product launch that will organically help generate interest in the days leading up to the Twitter party. You might even consider offering a few goody bags during the event. It’s also a great way to tie in another partner–and their community, too!
Send out reminders leading up to the event and track that hashtag. Most importantly, be social. You’re in charge of steering the conversation as the party rolls along. Scripting it beforehand will help keep it flowing and moving in the direction you want.

6. Expert advice can save you time and money.

Don’t skimp on planning your social media campaigns. Too small of an investment of time or expertise can cause more damage than good. Social media is all about providing useful, helpful and interesting information to your audience. If you disappoint, you can unwittingly alienate current or potential supporters in the process.
Take the SOMA kickstarter campaign for example. Mike de la Ponte and his team raised $100,000 in 10 days by strategically planning their campaign. They interviewed experts in the field and utilized virtual assistants, growth hacking techniques and principles they had learned. Their recent blog post is worth a read!
Also, reach out to your network for advice or get help on a social media campaign through Catchafire. Bringing an expert into your fold, can also lead to an ongoing relationship.
Stay tuned for next week’s Sparks where we will explore how technology is changing the face of fundraising events.

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  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and very
    broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will
    try to get the hang of it!


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