I came across this on Facebook and it made me laugh out loud. It took me a few moments to realise it was an ad so it is arguable whether it was successful or not. At least it made me look twice.
Social media by its very nature is risky. Don’t believe me, check this out and see how Greenpeace hoaxed petroleum giant, Shell.
Let me illustrate, on a much smaller scale, why you must plan for crisis.
I was working with a small team of volunteers that were responsible for a not for profit’s digital marketing. One team member, we will call her Jane, was particularly enthusiastic about Facebook. Because she was so enthusiastic, she was given full autonomy. She updated Facebook as she saw fit. For a long time this worked. It meant the rest of us could get on with other social media like e-newsletters and blogging.
One day, Jane had a heated disagreement with a team member (and no, it wasn’t me!). Feeling hurt and angry, Jane went on a digital marketing rampage using the organisation’s Facebook page to reach over 5000 followers to air her grievances.
And when Jane’s Facebook administrative rights were revoked, she didn’t stop there. No, she started another Facebook page. She emailed every member of the organisation telling them to move across to the new page and prompted people on Facebook to abandon the old page for the new and improved one she was managing. This created disunity within the organisation and confusion for our audience to say the least. The cost of this little stint was huge.
The lesson? Plan, plan, plan and plan some more.
My tips for managers:
- Never, ever let the Janes of the world run wild and free. Autonomy within a project is important. Unilateral decision making is disastrous. To avoid this, a clear management structure must be in place so people are working towards a shared vision with clear goals.
- Get involved! If you understand social media then you are in a position to monitor it.
- Get out the Rule Book and start writing. Every organisation needs a procedures manual.
- If your volunteers aren’t playing by the rules, kick them off the bus.
- Plan for succession. Jane might be responsible for Facebook but one day Jane is going to quit. How will your organisation manage this transition? Does Jane know all the logins to all your accounts? Can you quickly block her to avoid disaster?
My tips for marketers:
- Approach digital marketing like you approach getting dressed in the morning. Pieces of clothing don’t exist in isolation. You have to bring your wardrobe together and dress the whole person. Mix and match. Integrate and overlap.
- Get your managers involved even if it means teaching them a few things so they understand what you’re up to. Run workshops and seminars. Invite management to play and participate.
- Use a social media management tool so you can plan all aspects of your digital marketing with no one person taking ownership. A popular tool at the moment is hootsuite.
- Brainstorm all the things that could go wrong, and plan for them. You don’t have to create a 100 page document. Start with a list that says, “if this happens, we will do this.” For example, you might say, “if someone swears on our site, we will remove the comment as per our Terms and Conditions and contact them explaining why. If it happens again, we will block that user.”
- As dull as it may seem especially when all you want to do is start blogging, use procedures manuals.
Here are some more great tips on planning for crisis.
This comic from The Oatmeal about how to get more likes on Facebook really cracked me up. In short, remember:
- Don’t over-do it with the like buttons
- Don’t be insincere or overly familiar
- Don’t be desperate
- Most importantly, don’t ask people to vote for your baby to validate your belief that your poo-machine is adorable.
- Create things that are hilarious, sad, beautiful, interesting or inspiring
- Write songs, paint pictures, and embrace the absurd
- Most important, do include tanks
Thanks for the LOLS.
I saw this IFAW ad on Foxtel and thought, “What a clever marketing concept.”
What I love:
- This surprises and delights.
- Great educational tool.
- Use of hand held camera to grab your attention and make you believe it is a home video.
- Suspension of disbelief – you’re thinking, “Is this real?
- No context given again, sustaining your interest.
- It gets your attention and keeps it ’till the end.
- It makes you laugh.
- It triggers a desire to share cool stuff.
- Clear message at the end successfully shifting your opinion.
- As a consumer of “cool stuff” I feel there should be more to the IFAW experience. I want this journey to continue.
- I would like to see a whole series of “freak animal landings” or something following this theme (I’ll be keeping an eye out).
- I’d like to see a call to action or a way to take the next step in interacting with IFAW.
Marketers who work for charities and not-for-profits have a profound willingness to share their expertise. One such marketing expert is Rafi Cooper, Communications Manager at WSPA. He spoke at a social media forum about how best to engage your audience.
Rafi explained the need to, “tell a colourful story” and to avoid dry, impersonal material like statistics, reports or wordy documents.
To make the most of the story-based approach you need to draw the audience in with the back story – interviews, biographies, photos en route to location, profiles – the story, and finally the follow up – interviews, results statistics, and feedback.
You can tell, a “story of self, story of us, or story of now,” but you have to “keep the story simple – the brand, who we are and key messages.”
Rafi breaks it down into an acrostic poem: TEA.
Touch: what touches people? You have to make it meaningful.
Enthuse: make your audience passionate.
Act: give your audience a reason to do something whether it like a post, donate or subscribe.
Most importantly he said, “keep it simple. Make it personal. Make em’ laugh or make em’ cry.”
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Here are some more social media tips from Rafi Cooper, Communications manager at WSPA.
- Do ask your audience to do something e.g. like a page, answer a question or contribute material of their own. For example, WSPA will publish a picture of an animal’s foot and ask the audience, “what animal is this?” You might run a caption competition every Friday.
- Do thank your community.
- Do credit other organisations.
- Do use techniques to drive traffic to your website where you have a large “donate now!” button or other call to action.
- Build trust with your audience by providing engaging and authentic material.
Here are some big social media no-nos.
- Do not use social media for advertising.
- Do not ask for money.
- Do not plagiarise – borrowing is ok if you acknowledge your source, copying and pasting is a big no no. People will realise and you will lose your online credibility.
Thanks for sharing, Rafi.
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Rafi Cooper is the Communications Manager at WSPA. I heard him speak at a social media forum about how best to use a story-based approach to engage your audience. Afterwards, I asked him to comment on the highlight of his career and to give advice to aspiring digital marketers.
Rafi speaks of traveling to Romania to see the WSPA-funded Zarnesti bear sanctuary and to witness the rescue of a bear.
“We worked with WSPA’s National Ambassador, actress Asher Keddie. The media coverage included an eight-minute feature on the project, a long article in The Australian Weekend Magazine and features in Mamamia and WHO magazine. The social media response was also fantastic. The levels of engagement before and during the trip were unprecedented, as we told Asher’s, and the bears’, stories,” he said.
The most important thing you’ve learnt from working in digital marketing at WSPA?
“Bring the story to life.”
He explains that digital marketing works when you make the characters real.
“Tell people about their thoughts and feelings, describe what they’ve been through and how they’ve emerged. This could be the story of an animal, a supporter, a volunteer, anyone who works for the organisation etc.”
He speaks of the need for visuals.
“Use emotive pictures, videos, language to establish the connection with your target audience. Whatever the point of the story is (whether it’s sad, funny etc), bring that emotion to the fore. Digital marketing requires a fairly directly, overt, approach.”
Finally, he explains the need to tell the full story.
“Make sure this story is told from beginning to end – people will connect best with a journey that they have been able to follow it all the way through. This includes telling people the back story as well as keeping them updated of the progress of the hero / heroine.”
Rafi’s final tip: have one message with multiple channels.
“Make sure that you achieve consistent messaging across whatever medium you choose to use. Using a different channel does not mean changing the key message. The message will resonate best with your target audience if it’s relayed in a variety of media.”
Once again, thanks for sharing your expertise Rafi.
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