Utilising social media for social good is a concept fast catching on with brands. Companies now realize that aligning with social objectives on the social media not only reflects well on Corporate Social Responsibility reports, it also enables their brands to generate massive volumes of public engagement very rapidly especially when launching “crowd-sourcing” drives.
Socially shared content constitutes up to 10% of all web content, according to analysis by the social platform ShareThis. The huge “virality potential” that social causes have can lend two key points of benefit for brands: one, the type of cause you choose to support can enhance your brand values if the alignment is good; and two, whatever the social cause you choose, being associated with any socially-minded initiative can increase trust in the brand.
There’s one mistake however that a lot of brands tend to make when they try to launch social good campaigns on the social media. They often believe it to be easier work to “make a brand piggyback on a social cause” than to just launch a direct brand campaign. In actual fact, a socially good campaign on the social media is also very effort intensive. Morra Aarons-Mele, writing in the Harvard Business Review’s HBR Network Blog puts this across brilliantly: “You need a great idea, and you need the network in place to create the wildfire of discussion among diverse networks of online influencers. But how do you create that network? Elbow grease.”
I’ve tried to collate and present here some of the “socially good” social media campaigns of some great brands, especially the ones that that struck me as innovative, impactful, creative and, most of all, productive. Most of these were launched towards the end of last year. Some are time-limited ideas, others seem to have no “use by” date. Do go through these examples below and see if any of these can spark your creativity with your own brands.
Red Cross Miles: A social donation concept
Instead of asking people to donate money, the Red Cross campaign asks people to donate their air miles to transport Red Cross staff to trouble spots across the world, thereby reducing the cost of aid. Flight-booking websites are encouraged to wear the Red Cross “Donate Your Miles” button. This button links to a Red Cross microsite where people can log in with their Twitter or Facebook accounts to donate their unused air miles – and also to spread the message from there to their network of friends.
Durex for World AIDS Day: donate a condom
The condom brand Durex launched a social media campaign in the lead up to World AIDS Day 2012, whereby Durex would donate a condom every time the Twitter hashtag #1share1condom was used, or alternatively whenever a Durex World AIDS Day image was shared on Facebook.
ONE and (RED) crowd-source a Digital Quilt to fight AIDS
ONE and (RED) jointly launched (2015)QUILT, a digital crowd-sourced tapestry built in HTML5, to bring people together in the cause of a noble motive: an AIDS-free generation by 2015. This launch coincided with World AIDS Day on December 1st and the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.
Coca-Cola app drives donations to Ocean Conservancy
Coca-Cola North America calls people to join “Fins”, a new Facebook campaign to raise awareness of Earth Month and help support Ocean Conservancy. Via a new Facebook app, users can “oceanize” themselves into a playful underwater photo. For every person who dives into this new app, Coca-Cola will donate $1, up to a total of $200,000.
UNICEF: Donate A Word Campaign
The “Donate A Word” campaign for UNICEF utilises the spelling feature inside the browser Google Chrome to trigger donation prompts. With each mis-spelt word there appears a “Donate This Word To UNICEF” option when users right-click the red underline under the word to amend spelling mistakes. After you donate you can also browse through an “Education” Statement filled with all of the world’s most commonly mis-spelt words.
Toys-R-Us donates to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation stands for “Fighting Childhood Cancer one cup at a time”. Toys-R-Us engages all the fans and followers of its official social media channels via viral video messages that highlight extraordinary examples of kids helping kids. Children (and adult users) are encouraged to “share virtual cups of lemonade” …
Salvation Army encourages “app donations”
Another great idea from the Salvation Army encourages social media users to donate their old iPhone Apps that they no longer use, by dropping them into a Donation Box app on your phone. They then have their value donated directly back to a charity. I am not sure how feasible this is, but nevertheless it sounds like a concept with possibilities. Hmmm!
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