Nov 11 ,2016
Direct Online Participation: Cause campaigns are doing an excellent job of posting about current initiatives online, but how many go beyond the “building awareness” phase? How many invite consumers to participate directly in the campaign online, from wherever they may be? Getting audiences involved with a cause on social media can be challenging yet it is very possible. The 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, got audiences to share videos online of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads. By sharing them on social media platforms and tagging and nominating the next participants, the success of the cause was left almost completely up to social media users. Participants recruited the next participant, made time to take action, record and upload the footage, and were responsible for holding each other accountable. Whether participants chose an ice water bath or donations, all forms of participation took place online.
Convenience: Although cause marketing campaigns executed on social media are not likely to be a one-step solution to recruiting loyal supporters, it’s definitely an opportunity to create major awareness about an issue and spark engagement from target audiences. Uber led a campaign to help raise money for animal rescue organizations and attempted to get furry pets forever homes in the same initiative. People could donate $10-30 and get Uber to deliver a puppy for 15 minutes of playtime before sending them off to their next potential adoptive family. #UberPuppyBowl was successful because it created online participation, was easy and enjoyable, and didn’t require any lengthy process or long term commitment.
Strong Visuals: With less than seconds to capture your audience on a scrolling news feed, messaging must be immediately clear and powerful. High quality visuals with relatable content and good composition are a must. Not only that, but they must convey a message your audience can relate to. With video gaining traction and priority within tech giant algorithms, consider investing in video first and photos second. Also, because a big part of cause marketing involves storytelling, videos are better at getting the message across quickly and can lead to stronger emotional connections with audiences. If done well, they can lead audiences reflect on and hopefully identify with the cause. The “Like A Girl” campaign by Always used rhetoric and documentary style interviews to compose this video that went viral and is one of their most memorable campaigns to date.
Tapping Into a Cultural Trend: Remember when social media platforms were used to share photos of people rather than food? It’s been so long since the Instagram foodie movement started that Land O’Lakes thought it was time to remind people that not everyone has a good meal to photograph- let alone eat. The butter company partnered with Feeding America for a campaign which promised to donate 11 meals to people in need for every food picture deleted from Instagram. Audiences surely had plenty of food pics they could delete, and earned 2.75 million donated meals. Not only did this campaign involve convenience and direct online participation from consumers, but it also tapped into the #foodpic trend to challenge something people across social media could easily understand and identify with.
Rather than asking people on social media to leave the platforms to participate, cause marketing campaigns are making it easier for audiences to engage wherever they are, using tools they already know how to use. That’s the premise of a lot of the work GSG does: meeting consumers where they are and meeting their needs by bringing brands and consumers together to tackle causes bigger than all of us. Check out some of our campaigns or give us a call if you would like to learn more.
Jul 21 ,2016
While it’s true that some of the hype around content marketing has taken a back seat to current marketing trends such as social media reach, influencer advertising, and mobile application advertising, the success of most long term marketing strategies still heavily relies on content marketing, including cause marketing. Here’s how:
Demonstration of Long-Term Commitment
In order for audiences to be able to understand and believe in a brand’s commitment to a social cause, they have to see consistent cause-driven messages on more than one campaign. Inconsistency can indicate inauthenticity, so in order to gain credibility, your website, social media, newsletters and product packaging should all communicate the essence of your cause marketing campaign. Evaluate every platform available to see how you incorporate a tie in to your cause. Messaging should not cloud the brand feel or main mission, but enhance it, same as a well-chosen Cause should.
Content marketing lets people find the information they want to find easily and readily. The information they seek should be accessible in the least amount of clicks possible, whether they’ve landed on your Instagram profile or are browsing your website. Information about your brand’s involvement in a cause shouldn’t be hard to find. In between campaigns, audiences should be able to easily access information about past events, causes and impact. Let consumers know that your cause is part of your brand mission and make a clear connection to communities they care about.
Using content marketing techniques to strengthen your cause marketing is also incredibly efficient. You are already using effective communications tools (we hope!), so make it a point to maximize your cause marketing messages where you are already reaching your audience. Here are some suggestions:
A. Social Media
If you’re doing social media correctly, you’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who your audience is, when, where and how to reach them, and what content encourages engagement. Social media algorithms take into account content type and presentation, including trending news, keywords, and multimedia elements, in addition to user interest and engagement rates. By applying content marketing techniques such as SEO to social media posts, your web and social media traffic can grow and you can gain more awareness of your cause and impact.
B. Blog Writing
Blogs are still powerful tools for sharing your company’s voice, whether it be about your product, your cause, or statements on current industry events and news. By coupling your blog strategy with your cause campaign, your brand can inform your online audience about your commitment to and impact on the cause. The best thing about blogs is that you are the publisher, so you can decide to share whatever content you want! You can use your blog for releasing a quarterly statement from your CEO with progress updates on cause marketing efforts, teasers on what to look forward to, or even a more digestible version of business news. From marketing case studies of your campaign to event recaps filled with campaign photos, the possibilities are best online casino endless. Don’t forget to add social share links so your cause marketing campaign posts can easily be shared onto your readers’ favorite platforms.
C. Company Newsletters
In addition to being used for more formal purposes like company updates, mini feature stories and upcoming events, newsletters are a great resource for encouraging stakeholder involvement. If the cause you’ve committed to truly resonates with your brand, it only makes sense that the employees, customers and other stakeholders will want to hear of your accomplishments, progress, and even how they can get involved. From recruiting event volunteers to social sharing, newsletters can help reach populations that could potentially be your biggest advocates.
Cause marketing is a powerful tool for building your brand, communicating your cause, and enhancing your brand outreach. Want to learn more? GSG has helped large and small brands build and run cause marketing campaigns. Reach out to learn how we can help you too.