Details matter: fine-tuning a social cause marketing campaign

August 6, 2012

By TRAY creative

This is the last in a four-part series examining how companies are leveraging their influence to drive social good, and joining their customers and fans in a demonstration of shared values—all through social media.


Here are tips 9-12 for ensuring the success of your social-media driven cause-marketing campaign.

9. Be transparent.

According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, 6 in 10 Americans don’t think companies give them enough details about their cause campaign efforts. You can resolve this by: 1) clearly communicating the name of the nonprofit partner(s) and the duration of the promotion, and 2) showing the real-world impact of the entire program (e.g., 10,000 children fed) as well as the impact of an individual action (e.g., “Your $25 donation provides meals for one child for one month.”). If you’re adding a transactional component, highlight the percentage or dollar amount per purchase that benefits the cause.

10. Keep it simple.

When utilizing social media to promote your campaign, your message should be straightforward and accessible (e.g., “Help save animals: Vote for your favorite rescue organization.”). “A simple mission with a powerful message can take a campaign far,” writes Meaghan Edelstein, founder of the grassroots nonprofit organization Spirit Jump, in an article for Mashable. “People will not get involved if they don’t understand how or why they should.” Similarly, make sure your social media promotion is marked with a clear call to action (e.g., Vote, Donate, Volunteer, Add Content).

11. Keep the community engaged.

It’s not enough to simply announce your campaign; you’ll need to host and moderate the ensuing conversation among your followers. Whenever feasible, offer feedback on user comments, and tweak the campaign based on crowd consensus. To keep people motivated, create an engaging visual that graphs the percentage reached towards the campaign goal. Offer small bonus incentives to participants—such as product discounts or exclusive content—when milestones for fundraising or community action are reached along the way.

12. Play to the strengths of individual social media platforms.

When pushing out your campaign, employ relevant strategies for each communications channel. Facebook will most likely be the home base of your campaign; it’s where you can have the most substantive, ongoing dialogue with your community. Twitter is the place for spontaneity: real-time updates on significant milestones reached, live commentary on events, and so on. Channels like YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr and Pinterest are where you can showcase the emotional, human stories behind the campaign: Create a YouTube video of a key event, for example, or a Tumblr blog that introduces real people who have been helped by the community’s generosity.

The conditions are ideal for taking advantage of this new wave of cause-marketing campaigns. The market is there: consumers who are actively seeking out brands as partners in effecting social change. The tools are there: free or low-cost social media channels to facilitate action. And the benefits are there: enhanced brand reputation and better relationships with customers, to name two—apart from the real and lasting social impact of your efforts.

It’s time to ask: What does your brand stand for?

Brands and customers joining forces for social change
Tips 1-4 on how to build a modern cause-marketing campaign
Tips 5-8 on how to build a modern cause-marketing campaign