5 Tips for Cause Marketers: Using Social Media to Identify, Influence and Engage

Jun 8, 2011 1:39 PM ET

Innovation Conversations Blog

Have you ever wondered, “How did that cause marketing campaign raise so much money?” or “Why isn’t my campaign getting those kind of results?” This past week Seema Bhende and I led a session at the Cause Marketing Forum Conference to help cause-marketers answer these tough questions and to learn how to create repeatable results for their cause campaigns.

In our session we revealed the 5 key principles for using social media to drive influence and engagement to achieve the maximum attention for a cause marketing campaign.     1.       IDENTIFY: Get specific about the audience you want to engage with to achieve better results and save time and money.    
“You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.” -Harper Lee

The first and most important part of any social media strategy is to know who the audience is. To be truly successful in a cause marketing campaign, you need specify who your ideal core audience is that will want to engage with your campaign and who will actually take action.  Make sure your strategy is grounded in facts, not assumptions.

Be specific about who your audience is be that tweens, college students, working moms, or baby boomers. “All consumers” cannot realistically be your target audience. Research will help you understand who your most likely supporter is. Then develop a personalized strategy for the unique audience segments.   2.       INFLUENCE: ID who your influentials are, internally and externally, and engage them to tell your story. 

 First, look inside your organization and align your cause campaigns across departments such as PR, internal communications, HR, etc. Make sure your cause marketing communications are part of your public relations editorial calendar, integrated with other company and employee news or product launches. As part of this effort, be certain to identify who the storytellers within your organization are and how they can amplify the cause message. Timberland’s CEO Jeff Schwartz is a great example of this. He regularly blogs, tweets and publicly speaks on the company’s citizenship campaigns during annual shareholder meetings & employee events.

Second, look outside your organization and identify which influencers are already out there. Don’t create your own community, go to where the community already exists. Understand where the influencers live online, their communication preferences, and then go to where the existing community is. Microsoft’s  Kodu Cup recently gained over 13M impressions in a few hours via a hosted a twitter party with Mom it Forward, a social media community with an established following of tech savvy moms, to promote a contest called Kodu Cup that promotes video game learning amongst kids.

The Mom Ripple Effect

Twitter Parties can reach thousands of people. 82% of participating moms tell 5 or more other moms about the event and 12% tell more than 20 other mothers Data from “Power Moms: The New Rules for Engaging Mom Influencers”  

3.       ENGAGE: Look at ways that make the most sense, not just what is cool right now   Too often in social media people start with the tactics: “I want more followers on Twitter and more fans on Facebook.” They do not start by thinking about why and how this will impact their campaign. Just because you build a campaign, does not mean people will come, donate and participate!   The Key principles for engaging audiences via social media: ·         Use a variety of content channels ·         Create multiple content types to promote your cause campaign ·         Establish a clear call to action ·         Participate in an effective two-way dialogue   4.       MEASURE: Have clear says to show success – then be ready to adjust as necessary   Measurement is an important element to using social media effectively because when you know what’s working, you have the power to make informed decisions about what to continue, to change, to scrap.    To measure effectively you must: •       Establish the right measurement program to inform Cause Marketing Objectives and Strategy Development      -        My rule of thumb - If it moves, measure it! •       Establish Core Measurement Benchmarks that are Outcome Focused      -        HOT: Increase Small Donations by 30% amongst 29-35 year olds      -        NOT: Increase donations •       Set campaign milestones to determine impact and need for adjustment      -        Do you have a milestone map? Where do you need right now to get to your goal? Are you hitting those marks, if not, what does the data reveal?   5.       FOUNDATION: Earning trust and driving influence through social media to affect change requires calibrated engagement across an organization.  The problem many brands face is generating influence from social media marketing. They can’t quite synchronize content, campaigns and internal workflows to yield long-term success. The solution is to integrate marketing, communications and social media strategies to optimize a brand’s influence. At Waggener Edstrom, we call this approach the Social Influence System. It’s the Central Nervous System of your digital strategy.   WE14419