Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One tool. Five days. 23% increase. Really.

Seem to be a lot of folks looking for Super Simple Social media examples to help them or their clients get it. So I want to share what I think to be a pretty remarkable story about a social effort that Jigsaw, the agency that so graciously writes me a paycheck every couple of weeks, did with social media in five days - Yes, FIVE DAYS. Caveat: I don't want people to take away that social media is a quick-turn solution. It typically is NOT. It is a long-term commitment. But I have found that this example has helped whet the appetite of even the biggest nay sayers, because it is so ridiculously simple.

Situation/Objective: Blood Drive. Need to get 16-18 year olds to donate blood in greater numbers. Muy pronto.

Strategy: Use social communication tool to enable current teenage blood donors to influence their friends and peers to donate.

Super Simple Tactics: Facebook. Coach 17-year-old blood drive organizer to 1) launch Facebook fan page and event page 2) add some simple video and links and 3) invite people to join. Watch cryptic teenage conversation unfold.

The Money Tactic: Create discussion threads. Ask "Do you know anyone who ever needed blood? What's the story?" Experience awe as young woman steps up to offer this emotional plea:

Then, send reminder message two days before blood drive. Encourage group members to check out the above story.

Result: 23% increase in blood donation over previous blood drive, with no other significant differences in communication. Messages from other teens indicate that "I did donate today, and Hailey's story gave me the extra boost of courage to get over my fear of needles."

A Few Observations:

First of all, it is the best feeling in the world when you know without a doubt that what you just did made a difference. There is NOTHING better. Second, it is important to note that it wasn't just that fact that we used Facebook that had the influence; the fact that we were on Facebook merely helped the organizers and participants get excited and talk up the event. All we did was organize the channel; they did all the real work. Finally, this is a best case scenario. Facebook is great for mobilizing actual causes, but I think even for those it is getting more and more challenging to get noticed on Facebook. And it's not this simple for every brand, by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, it does whet the appetite, doesn't it? Is this helpful or not?

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