Natural Foods Merchandiser

5 steps to give back locally with social media

Shape a social media giving campaign. Steps include choosing a unique hashtag, making a video, using one call to action, setting a time frame and announcing progress online and in store.

Last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took online charitable fundraising to a whole new, social level. While the campaign collected some criticism, you can use the foundation of this social charity experiment to inspire giving in your local community.

Whether you already give back or are keen to start, extend your goodwill via social media to amplify your message. These five tips for a successful campaign will get you started:

1. Choose a unique hashtag.

Choose a short and recognizable hashtag for your campaign. Do a quick Twitter, Google, Instagram and Facebook search to ensure it isn’t already taken. When possible, add in your store’s name. For example, #YourStoreGives replacing “YourStore” with the name of your business. Use the hashtag whenever you post to social media and encourage shoppers to do the same.

2. Make a video.

Bring your cause to life with a 60-seconds-or-less video that accomplishes three things. First, introduce the importance of the cause in a memorable way. Second, indicate what your store is doing about it. Third, invite the customer to participate. Capture their attention by being positive, upbeat and creative. 

For inspiration, look to popular culture to see what’s trending. For example, last year Dang Foods created a video of employees doing the Carlton Dance (resurrected during last season’s Dancing With The Stars) and asked for shares within 48 hours. Dang Foods donated $5 per share to fight ebola in Liberia where the company sources its cacao.

3. Use one call to action.

What do you want your customers to do? From showing up in store to donate, to sharing a video, to creating a video of their own, the options are endless. Choose one clear, concrete action your customer can take. For example, at the end of every ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, at least one other person was challenged. Make your call to action simple, fun and a no-brainer for your customers to participate.

4. Set a timeframe.

Motivate your customers to act now by setting a timeframe for your charitable campaign. This creates urgency—and perhaps even seasonality—around your cause. On a budget and want to keep your campaign as simple as possible? Give customers three local charity options and ask them to vote for their favorite using Facebook comments or tweets. The bonus: you discover the causes they believe in and can use this information in future marketing.

5. Announce progress online and in store.

It’s easy to see how many people share a post on Facebook, but if your charitable campaign includes reposting photos on Instagram, the results of your campaign won’t be so clear. Choose a metric to follow, whether it’s likes, shares or money or products donated, and update your customers on this progress, both in store and everywhere online. After the campaign ends, notify and thank your customers by email and signage so you can all celebrate the impact you’ve made locally.

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