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.