Digital campaigns have the power to build a movement that creates meaningful—and measurable—social change.
A strong social media campaign starts with specific target audiences and clear call-to-actions that ladder up to your online and offline goals to make a difference. You’ll also want to define what success looks like—what are the yardsticks and milestones you’d like to reach?
We’ve been thinking a lot about digital campaigns this month as we help our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation develop a digital campaign for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to help ensure every kid continues to have access to healthy and nutritious school foods. We invite you to join the movement for healthy school foods by following RWJF on Twitter to learn more.
In the spirit of inspiration, here are five strong digital campaigns that have what it takes to advance key issues for social impact.
#LanguageMatters Puts Movement Building to Action
The American Councils for International Education’s campaign and hashtag #LanguageMatters have grown into a social media movement to advance the study of critical languages and cultures in young Americans. ACIE asked its audience to share stories about learning critical languages on social media, and with this call the #LanguageMatters hashtag grew 1000 percent in its first six months alone.
— American Councils (@AC_Global) August 8, 2016
The hashtag now cultivates a growing movement for language study on social media, reaching up to three million views per month. The campaign ultimately aims to increase the number of American students enrolled in language courses, which ACIE reports is less than 7 percent, in order to sufficiently prepare the next generation of global leaders. Take note from how ACIE builds a movement with a clear, powerful hashtag to address a nationwide issue.
Nature Conservancy’s Video Storytelling Captures Impact
The Nature Conservancy communicates the impact of its work on social media through video storytelling that empowers the people—and animals—it serves to tell their stories. The nonprofit regularly posts videos to its YouTube page, garnering almost 9,000 subscribers, and it has recently explored storytelling campaigns that take up the perspective and messages of people served rather than the nonprofit.
It teamed up with Osocio, a firm that products video for social causes, to produce a short video on how tree planting is helping Louisville Metro Council Member Cheri Bryant Hamilton care for her city. Rather than asserting the perspective of the Nature Conservancy, the video empowers Hamilton to tell the story of her community and the important role trees play in improving it. This nuanced approach to a social campaign has a powerful impact, capturing the mission of the nonprofit and supporting the heroes that carry out the work.
Artful Social Media Campaign Expands Nonprofit’s Reach
New York City-based Crossroads Community soup kitchen and food pantry takes street art to social media with a visual campaign that raises awareness about the food needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Campaign artists used colorful chalk to illustrate faces hovering over food waste and garbage around New York and posted photographs of the street art to social media to communicate the need to feed people who don’t have regular access to groceries. The photographs took off on social media, raising followers, post reach and engagement by 12-18 percent in 12 months. Ultimately, the social media campaign also achieved the nonprofit’s offline goal to motivate community members to volunteer and donate.
Powerful Video Campaign Supports $11.3M Fundraising Effort
The South Boston Boys & Girls Club leverages the power of video-centric campaigns to support an $11.3 million fundraising effort to renovate the club facilities. Embracing some of its most loyal ambassadors—Club alumni—one of three videos shows emotional testimonials that speak to the impact of the Club on the local community. It communicates the value of the Club in offering a place of safety, education and encouragement for local kids.
The organization also placed videos prominently on its social media platforms that showcase the kids who would be impacted by the improved facilities. As a result, The South Boston Boys & Girls Club has reached 99 percent of its fundraising goal and the renovation is underway.
Girl Effect Leverages Data Visualizations and Hashtags
The British organization Girl Effect social media campaign to end intergenerational poverty with programming for girls leverages research through data visualization. The organization creates potent streamlined images that visually convey the statistics that the campaign hopes to combat. The campaign inserts compelling research stats to leverage learning opportunities and forge partnerships through visual call outs to researchers.
— Girl Effect (@girleffect) March 23, 2016
On Twitter, the campaign also uses powerful hashtags such as #LetGirlsLearn and #EndChildMarriage to heighten its visibility and generate audience engagement. Check out how they use infographics to convey a message and build a movement.
What are your favorite digital campaigns for change? Share in the comments below.