Lessons learned from not for profits: Social Media Club 13 September 2010

John Johnston, Social Strategist of original Earth Hour strategy

The core of the original Earth Hour strategy was the combination of user generated content with brand assets that were licensed as open source. People, organisations and creative agencies took up the cause; the latter happy to have the opportunity to work with an open brief. Key lessons:

Keep the message simple. User generated content is easy when people like the message.

Encourage others to build grass roots campaigns and facilitate them creating profiles (Twitter profiles, Facebook pages) and their own material with open source assets.

Seek partnerships with organisations that can help spread the message.

Outreach to bloggers.

Don’t intervene. Let conversations flow.

Don’t stop at English. Translate collateral into other languages and outreach to regional blogging networks.

But what about the haters? There were a few including the editor of Tech Crunch, and a new group, the Human Power Appreciation Hour. Don’t get dispirited, it just goes to show you are getting somewhere when detractors feel threatened.

Dae Levine, Head of Communications with Greenpeace, speaking about the Nestle anti-deforestation campaign

The lessons learned were spelled out in this how-to of social campaigning. After 10 years of Greenpeace lobbying Nestle and its supplier of palm oil, Sinarmas, they decided to change tact and create a campaign. The campaign was in the form of a video:

Key lessons:

Leverage a brand. It was not until Greenpeace ran this social media campaign leveraging the Kit Kat brand that people took notice … and Nestle took action.

Kit Kat brand appropriation

Create an emotional entry point for your audience. People need something they can relate to, e.g. a cute orang-utan.

Greenepeace thanks its supporters with this cute orang-utan

A bad reaction from your target can only help your campaign. Youtube pulled the video when Nestle complained about copyright infringement. The result? Nestle inadvertently created the desire for people to watch it. People re-posted the video. It went viral. This decision by Nestle was the catalyst to the success of the whole campaign.

Greenpeace Nestle video stats
Audience advice to Nestle

Embrace your social media moment. Secondary video campaign launched instructing people on how to call the Nestle CEO. by the end of the campaign this had resulted in almost 350,000 emails and phone calls.

Time your campaign. When to launch an anti-chocolate campaign? How about Easter?

Integrate your campaign with traditional activities. In Greenpeace’s case this involved hacking the wifi at the Nestle AGM so that attendees were directed to a spoof site. Interestingly Greenpeace also showed a twitter feed outside the AGM so that Nestle could see what people were actually saying. Other activities included stickering Kit Kat point of sale displays with the appropriated Killer logo.

It helps when your target sucks at social media. Greenpeace encouraged people to join Nestle’s Facebook fan page. Numbers jumped by 20,000. Nestle removed negative posts from its profile only adding fuel to the fire.

“People are awesome”. Something that Earth Hour designed as part of its campaign but Greenepeace did not anticipate was people creating their own content supporting, promoting and building on the campaign. E.g. this video.

This was the best Social Media Club I have attended for a while, but I love a good case study. The campaigns were very different but both offered a hook, something emotional that people could relate to, and of course, share.

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