Marketing is one thing. Designing intentionally for social engagement is another thing all together. This is a story of a very fun creative process that has resulting in two contests announced this week.
Nefesh b’Nefesh (the Israel org that promotes and facilitates aliyah by minimizing the financial, professional, logistical, and social obstacles to doing so) approached us eager to “amplify the conversation about aliyah in the American Jewish community”. While they have helped bring tens of thousands of new immigrants to Israel, discussion of aliyah isn’t really normalized in the American Jewish community. So, what can social media to do help?
The key to social media is the social more than the media. The challenge was to create content that wasn’t talking AT people, but talking WITH people. And further content that people in those conversations would want to share with their friends and family, leveraging networks to spread the word. That’s designing for social.
First, we identified key target audiences who are ripe for considering aliyah and are also highly engaged in social media. While many who are retiring may consider moving to Israel, they are not the target “highly social online” demographic we sought. The two we landed on: Those getting married and starting to shape a new life together; and those seeking exciting employment in a tough economy.
Next, how to get those groups talking about aliyah? We helped Nefesh b’Nefesh design two contents: The Best Job Contest and The Wedding Gift Challenge. In the Best Job Contest winners will be awarded paid jobs with top rate companies based in Israel such as SodaStream, IBM, and The Times of Israel, among others. In the Wedding Gift Challenge, winners will prize money to help start their life in Israel, and/or IKEA shopping sprees and vineyard tours.
In the contests, participants are evaluated based on votes on their contest page, and in the Job Contest, also on creating online content (blogs, video, tweets, etc.) about their process of deciding and planning to make aliyah. By incentivizing those considering aliyah to make their thinking and planning transparent, the participants themselves are amplifying the conversation about aliyah in their social networks. Which, we assume, largely also fall into the target demographic we seek to reach.
Every organization has a mission, but that doesn’t mean the staff alone are responsible for bringing that mission to life. If your goal is wide communal action, change of perception, or something as bold as amplifying a conversation about aliyah through the American Jewish community, you can’t rely on direct messaging alone, whether that’s by mail, email, Facebook page or otherwise. It’s time to engage your constituents as your ambassadors and evangelists. How are you doing it?