I vowed to raise a minimum of $4000 for World Vision Australia and to take on the mighty climb to Everest Base Camp in March 2015. Call me cocky, but I wasn’t really phased by the task (of fundraising that is; the trek is another matter altogether!). This is because I believe in the power of social media and how we can use the medium for good. So I set about raising said $4000 solely using social media and guess what… it worked!
Charity is my passion. It’s something I will always include in my work and personal life. I believe that we can always help our fellow man, no matter what situation we are in. That is why Inspired Adventures is a perfect fit for me – because it is an organisation where participants raise money and take on adventures. I will be taking on the Everest Base Camp Trek for World Vision Australia through a charity challenge company.
Fundraising for Everest was a personal challenge of mine, which is why I decided to put my social media prowess and professional skills to the test. I sometimes work part time for Inspired Adventures answering enquiry calls about adventures. My role is to inspire callers to take on an adventure and support them with their fundraising. My first fundraising stop is always online tools and now I shall share with you some of the strategies I used to make my campaign successful in a mere four months.
These are my key actions that helped me hit the $4000 target:
Campaign focal point: With any social media campaign, there should be a goal and a reason behind your messages. My goal was to get people to my fundraising page to hand their hard-earned cash over to the amazing World Vision Australia. The focal point was thus my fundraising page. All activities and actions drove people to the page; whether that activity be a tweet, a Facebook post, an Instagram photo or a Linkedin update. The link would always go back to my fundraising page, the centre of my campaign world: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest
Call to action: What are you trying to get people to do? In this case, I wanted them to donate. So my call to action was “GIVE ME MONEY!” Well, in a slightly calmer and more approachable tone of course; whether it is by asking people to give generously, spare a few dollars or make a donation in lieu of a physical gift. I wanted people to give money, and this was the key to the messages I sent out. The result, hallelujah, they gave money.
Consistent messaging: I did not post this up once and hope for the best. I didn’t rely on the power of social media and the viral nature of the medium. I made the time, put in the effort and had the perseverance to continue messaging my audience. This does not mean spamming; it means creatively sharing the same thing in different ways. I shared photos of my training, and reminded people I was doing the training to take on Everest. I would thank people who donated, refreshing the page and bringing it back to the top of my news feed. I would celebrate milestones and reiterate why I was taking on such a challenge. I would share content from World Vision and their messages. There are so many ways to talk about the one thing – you just have to think outside the box and use a few different words here or there.
Common linking thread: #Everestbasecamptrek2015 was our hash tag for the event, which was created by the Inspired Adventures social media team. This is a great way to track the conversation about the event. I could see what other people were doing or talking about and join their conversation. I could use the tag to create a common reference point for my followers. The tag became familiar and when I used it regularly on posts, this was a quick way to associate with the message.
Consistency: Yes, again, I was consistent. Reiterating the message, sharing the page link again and reminding my audience this activity was happening. Social media is a heavily used medium and there is a lot of information going on out there. For your message to be seen you do need to share it more than once and you do need to be creative. Again, not spamming, but regularly communicating with your audience and reinforcing your call to action.
Thank you! Thank your audience! Thanking my sponsors gave me a way to acknowledge the wonderful support I had received, but also to inform my audience again of what I was doing. Every single donation I received was shared to Facebook and Twitter. I thanked each individual. Now, on a page where there are thousands of comments, individual posts may not be possible. However, you can achieve the same results by regularly acknowledging your audience, thanking them for following you and believing in what you do. A group thank you can be acceptable on posts with a lot of interaction, but reaching out and engaging in two-way conversation, especially one that begins with gratitude, builds trust and loyalty. What better way to share your message then through a trusted relationship?
I don’t believe what I did was spectacular. I know the result of my fundraising will be incredible and make a huge impact to the work of World Vision Australia in Nepal, by changing the lives of women and children. But I simply made a plan for my social media campaign and followed a strategy.
The long and short of this post is that social media is not hard to use. It’s about applying practices, strategies and having a method to the madness. When there is a plan and a reason for social media, there can be results.
Do you have structure around your social media activity? Do you plan what you want to share with your audience? Do you know who your audience is? All good questions! What’s your purpose for reaching out on social media? Have a think before you tweet! Happy Tweeting.
Written by Emma Lovell, Director at Lovelly Communications