Voices from the Third Sector

The Secret of Viral Social Media Campaigns?

Viral Social Media Campaigns panel

image: @ruchachitnis

Creating a successful social campaign is hard to do.

Creating a viral social media campaign is one and a million, but it’s possible.

I joined Social Media for Nonprofits at their first Leadership Salon panel to learn the secrets of success from the ALS Association’s #icebucketchallenge and the CleverGirlsCollection’s #batkid. The Ice Bucket Challenge generated over $115 million in 6 weeks, while the SF BatKid brought in a smashing 1400 clicks per second on The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s website. You may be thinking these two campaigns go way beyond your own skills, but the truth is you too can transform your campaign - THE POWER IS IN THE PUBLIC not your capabilities.

Listening to the three speakers on the panel a clear message was conveyed –

“A social media campaign will develop as it engages people and is deemed interesting and shareworthy by the public.”

A company must go into a campaign knowing that the public will mold it – very little of the progression is controlled. You should be prepared for the possible positive and negative outcomes of the campaign’s unguided image. This is the brilliance and the liability of word-of-mouth marketing. You must allow for an organic millennial engagement to evolve.

To accomplish this remember these few basic points replicated in both successful campaigns:

1. Everyone wants to be a part of a good story, a good cause – give him or her that opportunity to engage and share.

2. Decide that your intention is activism, not donations. When the public is bombarded with peers speaking about your cause and campaign, charity will follow.    

3. Use your arsenal of Social Media Volunteers – remember everyone in your community can be a voice in the world. 

4. People will share subjects that impact their lives or inspire them. Create a message that is relevant to both.



And one more thing to think about: IS YOUR CAMPAIGN FUN? Historically, the major social media campaigns that have been successful and memorable are emotional. No matter how serious the subject matter of the campaign, these campaigns engage in a way that makes you laugh and tear up at the same time. Emotions are what bond people. Build a social media campaign that reminds the human psyche that we are in this together and united we can change the world.