How can you use social media to get people to walk in the door? It’s a great question that I’m often asked. It’s big question, with many responses, but I’ll tackle one thing here: Understand your user. Who is the audience that you’re trying to reach, and why AREN’T they walking in the door yet? Once you understand what stands between them and you, you can develop a social media strategy to help. A few examples:
1) The Puget Sound Blood Center launched a social media campaign to engage new donors in their blood drives. As reported in the Seattle PI, they are now holding Tweet Up Blood Drives which are promoted entirely through social media.
The online campaign launched earlier this summer, and already the blood center has about 400 fans on Facebook and 1,200 followers on Twitter. And the blood center has a YouTube site for its online generation donators.
Many new donors walked in the door after learning about the campaign, or hearing from their own friends on Twitter or Facebook about critically low levels of Type O. Furthermore, the social media savvy donors are passing on the word, and energizing the campaign, retweeting (even if they don’t donate themselves!) and sharing their experience, even by making a video of giving blood and posting it on YouTube. From the PI again:
“They take the initiative because we’ve given them the tools,” Young said about the blood center’s online followers. “You don’t find a better group of people. To be a blood donor, you have to be a fairly altruistic person in the first place.”
From 5 to 33 percent of donors at blood drives over the last three months said they scheduled their appointments because of social media, and DeButts said he expects that number to skyrocket as school starts up and students organize drives through Facebook.
What makes this so successful? Perhaps donating blood is not as commonly talked about in this demographic, and by putting it online they are energizing the conversation, which leads to more education about both the need and the process, which results in lower (psychological) barriers, and more people walk in the door. Maybe they didn’t know it only takes a few minutes, and it’s near their office. Why do you think a third of their recent donors were inspired through social media?
2) The Obama Presidential Campaign relied heavily on volunteers to make calls and go door to door through neighborhoods. Why did so many first-time volunteers pitch in? Partially because of the candidate, but largely because the campaign lowered barriers to participation. Many prospective volunteers were nervous about walking into an office, weary of trying to represent details of policies they didn’t know. Many local offices made short, casual videos to help people understand what the culture of the office was like, and the sorts of tasks volunteers could do. Check out this one:
Avid users of social media are not looking to hide behind their computer screens. In fact we’re eager to connect with fascinating people and valuable organizations in our local communities. We seek value, social capital, and meaning. As you consider your social media strategy, think about who you are trying to reach, and how you can add value and meaning to their lives. You might be surprised what comes back to you.
How have you been inspired through social media to show up in person? What have you done in your work to connect, lower barriers, and energize people? We’d love to hear your story.