Creating Social Impact with Movements that Matter

Whether you’re a nonprofit with a cause or a startup with an idea, at some point, I’m sure you’ve wondered whether your passion would ever catch spark with others. Social impact is here to stay. Creating a movement that matters is more important today than ever before.

It’s clear, what fuels movements is more art than science and not everyone has the advantage of chemically inspired insanity. The idea matters, but it’s really the tipping point, created with art AND science, that creates movements that matter.

We’ve learned a few things about social impact movements over the years, and I wanted to share with you some key insights I’ve found in creating movements with true social impact.

Social Proof Is Important for Movements That Matter

Relatively quickly, it will be important to develop your followers. You’ll need to show you aren’t alone in this idea. BUT, you’ll need those followers to be just as into your idea as you are. These “early adopters” have distinct profiles – figure them out and speak to them. This is the time vs. money stage. There are plenty of things you can do for free, but they take time. Decide which is your most valuable resource.

Social Media Matters – But So Does Real Life for True Social Impact

Social media isn’t where ideas are born, it’s where ideas are spread. The idea and the collaboration of said idea almost always takes place offline. Don’t be afraid to use your offline connections, whether they’re on social media or not, to help fuel your movement.

And don’t discount traditional PR tactics as well, they play nice with social media and one will help the other. And the endgame isn’t about HOW it happens, it’s THAT it happens. Give your movement every chance it has to survive.

Tweet: “Give your movement every chance it has to survive.” – @taracoomans

Passion or Quantity?

You’ll want influencers, but you’ll want to make very sure your target audience relates to them, even if they don’t totally resonate with you.  You aren’t communicating to you, you’re trying to get some collective steam. And your influencer’s community is balanced by the passion of that community.  There’s an inverse correlation of a number of followers to passion. Think of it as a circle, the bigger the circle, the further from the center more and more people are. So ask yourself, does passion matter more than people? The answer may surprise you.

Tweet: “There’s an inverse correlation of number of followers to passion.” – @taracoomans

Movements That Matter Peak At The Right Time


It’s true with all public relations messaging and especially with social impact movements. Just about the time you’re tired of seeing the same messaging is about the time that anyone takes notice. Again, inverse effect, you say “no one’s responding,” just as they are starting to take notice. Breathe.

Tipping points have a timeline of their own, you can’t rush them. It WILL happen.

The bigger concern is peaking at the right time. Peaking at the right time could correlate to internal or external deadlines. What happens if your movement peaks too early? Will you be ready?  You can’t totally plan for peak time, but you should make sure you don’t peak too early. Think about what peaking at the exact right moment looks like and work backward from there – what’s it going to take (planning, time, money, people)  to create enough energy for that exact moment? And remember, in a world where we’re constantly inundated with messages, rallying people usually takes longer than you think it should. They used to say that it takes 7 exposures to a message for someone to remember the message, in today’s message cluttered world, I’d put that at closer to twelve.

You’ll Know When The Tipping Point Happens

If you don’t know whether you’ve hit the tipping point, then you haven’t yet. When tipping points happen, there is nothing you can do to stop them. You are no longer in control. This is a crucial moment. As Derek says, you want to treat your community as equals, empower them, let them stand for you. Conversely, at this point, you’ll need to be more and more clear on your message. I’ve seen movements become something completely different than the original intent because of unclear messaging at this point. Social impact movements that turn into disorganized mob scenes aren’t effective, even if they are riveting to watch. Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.

Tweet: “Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.”- @taracoomans

PS:When you’re feeling alone and isolated about your movement, watch this this short TedTalk by Derek Sivers.

Epically true, right?  I love this line: “The first follower is actually an underrated form of leadership.” What’s you’re biggest take away?

Ah, the early adopter. They’re the people who grab on to things first, they start trends and they are influencers in their respective communities.

Whether you’re a startup, a movement or a personality, you need these early adopters. Marketing to early adopters can be slippery though, what they grab on to is almost entirely motivationally based. In other words, toss out your traditional “Three P’s” of marketing if you want to capture this crowd, you’re going to need to think through what makes them tick.

Whether you’re building a product or starting a movement, keep your early adopters in mind. Early adopter marketing will be easier if you keep these strategies in mind.

Early Adopters Value Intellectual Stimulation

It doesn’t matter what your target market is, a certain segment of them are early adopters and early adopters like to be challenged and stimulated. Puzzles and quizzes are intriguing to these people, but they get bored easily, so make sure the content matches the intelligence level.

Don’t mistake this to assume that every puzzle or quiz is intriguing to early adopters. They aren’t necessarily the “Buzzfeed” quiz takers. They like to learn and be challenged but they aren’t interested in dumbed down versions of anything. By the time something has caught mass adoption, early adopters have either “been there/done that” or are already deeply engaged in using the product.

Early Adopters Have High “FOMO”

Because they value their role as early adopters, they never want to be “out of the loop” or miss something that’s particularly cool.

Tap into that “Fear of Missing Out” during the earliest stages. Give them ways to be cool to their community by letting them be the gateway to a broader audience and you’ll be tapping into their desires to be seen as an early adopter.

Google generally does this really well when it launches products. It does an initial invitation to known early adopters and gets everyone else clamoring to be part of it in the first phase and SEEN as an early adopter. Google definitely has marketing to early adopters down.

Early Adopters are Attracted to Art, Emotion and Adventure

Perhaps more than any other target market, early adopters are pulled in by emotion, art and adventure.

This is one reason why Apple’s early emphasis on design caught on with early adopters, they loved the elegance of the product and interface, the art of the experience.

Remember, art, emotion and adventure can happen online and offline. This is a place where you can really get creative and have some fun. It’s also easy to identify these people based on where they go because events like TED and TEDX inherently draw early adopter personality types.

Because of this constant searching early adopters have, curiosity is a primary trigger for action. Tripping the curiosity trigger requires some thought because early adopters aren’t generally suckers for the usual mass-marketing techniques; they’re a little more sophisticated than that. You’re going to really have to think of something that genuinely makes them curious.

The “Why” Seriously Matters

Early adopters are very observant, they generally see through tactics and need a reason to be inspired.  Your marketing message to early adopters needs to be centered around something inspiring, something bigger than the features of the product.

Instead of focusing on product features, tap into the deep intellectual and emotional reservoir of early adopters and give some insight to them about why this product or movement matters. You’ll likely need to do some message testing here, but it will be worth it once you hit on the “why” that matters most.

Don’t Confuse Early Adopters for Extroverts

It’s easy to lump the two together, but research shows that messaging that targets extroverts actually repels early adopters. Early adopters like intrigue and creativity, they aren’t particularly attracted to social attention in a public way. This doesn’t mean they aren’t on social media, it just means that their triggers are different. They like to have their role as early adopters confirmed, but they also like to be the messenger of that delivery.

 

In your experience, what motivates early adopters?

 

This blog originally appeared on akamai-marketing.com

Case Study #4: Neighborhood Shopping Center

Background:

This client came to me with a desire to raise awareness of their shopping center and the variety of stores and shops within the shopping center.  The shopping center itself is in a very urban area, but provides services and shopping to a family-oriented clientele.

Listen:

They had previously done an influencer campaign which produced a short burst, but didn’t create anything sustainable and they couldn’t figure out why.

Think:


After hearing about their previous experience, Akamai determined the influencer campaign fell flat because the influencers weren’t neighborhood influencers. These influencers had their own set of chops as foodies and heavy social media users, but these influencers weren’t influencers to the target market either in terms of demographics, motivations or geography. We recognized that the likely shopper to this center had a distinct ethnic and demographic profile.

We actually recommended that the shopping center reduce the number of social media profiles in order to focus on the platform that was most likely to reach their audience.

We also wanted to start building an email list for the shopping center so it could continue to reward and connect with their customers outside of social media. We used promotions on Facebook to build this list.

Do:

We kicked off the campaign with a community, family-focused event which included prizes and give-aways for social media participants.

Akamai Marketing developed a promotional Facebook campaign and contest that created curiosity and conversation among it’s target market while highlighting the variety of stores and shops in the shopping center.  All content was custom developed to resonate with the target audience from a motivational and interest perspective.

The nature of the campaign enabled it to stay fresh for the entire 6 months without duplication.

We then advertised these posts to our highly targeted audience using a small but effective Facebook advertising budget.

Results:

Increased Shopping Center Traffic: 178%
Increased Awareness: 3,800%
Increased Unadvertised Impressions: 87%
Increased Overall Impressions: 644%
Email Registrations: >200 in 6 weeks

Lessons Learned: 

We learned to be highly targeted and clear on audience demographics for each post. We also learned that the stores would not provide content, so we shared what we could and supported the stores by offering to create content for them.

For our target audience, the overly slick content didn’t do as well, so we stayed with a more homey, less “advertising” feel to our content and messaging.

With a newly engaged social media community, we tested the audience with a selfie contest over a heavy shopping weekend. This contest was not successful and we attribute that to the audience, it’s comfort with sharing and the interface hurdles inherent in the sharing of the selfies.

Every shopping center is designed around an ideal customer.  It’s important to embrace that ideal customer’s natural tendencies, motivations and inclinations. Taking risks in social media should be balanced with campaigns that the user will naturally be attracted to.

When To Stand Up for Your Brand in Social Media

This week, with the Dave and Busters “Juan” tweet yet another social media gaffe made its what into the collective conversation.
It sparked furious cries of racism.
It sparked snickers.
It sparked the “holier than thou” media to earn mega points for traffic.

Imagine for a moment, the alternative tweet: “I hate tacos” said no one ever. #tacotuesday.

Imagine what THAT would have caused: crickets.

Which of those  two messages was more brand consistent, more interesting, more compelling and took more courage?

Branding is like getting a tattoo: it takes guts and commitment.

Tweet: Branding is like getting a tattoo: it takes guts and commitment.

This is why brands and businesses must be crystal clear on who they are, what they stand for, and who their target customer is. I’m not suggesting that every brand and business rush to the edge of every cultural controversy and insensitivity in order to create some reaction to their message. But in order to make it interesting, they HAVE to know where the line is on risk-taking. Brands and businesses have to accept that people who AREN’T their customers aren’t going to “get” it and they have to stand with their customers who DO.  If you insist on a completely bland copy, messaging, and creative, you will get some bland results.

Tweet: If you insist on a completely bland copy, messaging and creativity, you will get some bland results.

Tweet: Brands and businesses have to stand with their customers who DO “get it”.

I’m actually disappointed Dave and Busters didn’t fire back to the haters with another pun. Dave and Busters is a GAMING VENUE for grown-ups. It isn’t a financial company; it isn’t a children’s nonprofit; it isn’t a government agency; it isn’t a church. It’s supposed to be FUN. Taco Tuesdays are supposed to be FUN. I don’t know about you – but I could use a little fun in my tweet stream.

So here’s where we’re at with a collective lack of spine in the social, marketing, and advertising world: be creative, be dynamic, create conversation and excitement, but DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE RISKS. Does the marketing and advertising world really want to be known as the analysis paralysis industry, whose signature color is beige?

Tweet: Does the marketing and advertising world really want to be known as the analysis paralysis industry whose signature color is beige?

Yes, let’s think through things. Yes, let’s consider the context. But let’s stop freaking out the minute someone with 2,000 followers takes issue with an edgy statement. Let’s understand our brands, their purpose, their customers, and values, and let’s stand by those values even when everyone else doesn’t get it. It’s OK. If your brand is truly defined, not everyone will.

Yes, the pain of nasty-gram tweets and email is piercing. They don’t last forever. In fact, in most cases, those same people are off on an entirely different tangent tomorrow. Being a wishy-washy brand isn’t good for anyone, except dish soap – and those consequences are far longer reaching.

Tweet: Being a wishy washy brand isn’t good for anyone, except dish soap – and those consequences are far longer reaching.
Stand tall. Take smart risks. Stand by your customers. Have some brand confidence. Stand by your brand.

 

This post originally appeared on Akamai Marketing

This week, with the Dave and Busters “Juan” tweet yet another social media gaffe made it’s what into the collective conversation. It sparked furious cries of racism. It sparked snickers. It sparked the “holier than thou” media to earn mega points for traffic.

Imagine for a moment, the alternative tweet: “I hate tacos” said no one ever. #tacotuesday.

Imagine what THAT would have caused: crickets.

Which of those  two messages was more brand consistent, more interesting, more compelling and took more courage?

Branding is like getting a tattoo: it takes guts and commitment.

Tweet: Branding is like getting a tattoo: it takes guts and commitment.

This is why brands and businesses must be crystal clear on who they are, what they stand for and who their target customer is. I’m not suggesting that every brand and business rush to the edge of every cultural controversy and insensitivity in order to create some reaction to their message. But in order to make it interesting they HAVE to know where the line is on risk taking. Brands and businesses have to accept that people who AREN’T their customers aren’t going to “get” it and they have to stand with their customers who DO.  If you insist on completely bland copy, messaging and creative, you will get some bland results.

Tweet: If you insist on completely bland copy, messaging and creative, you will get some bland results.

Tweet: Brands and businesses have to stand with their customers who DO “get it”.

I’m actually disappointed Dave and Busters didn’t fire back to the haters with another pun. Dave and Busters is a GAMING VENUE for grown ups. It isn’t a financial company, it isn’t a children’s nonprofit, it isn’t a government agency, it isn’t a church. It’s supposed to be FUN. Taco Tuesdays are supposed to be FUN. I don’t know about you – but I could use a little fun in my tweet stream.

So here’s where we’re at with a collective lack of spine in the social, marketing and advertising world: be creative, be dynamic, create conversation and excitement, but DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE RISKS. Does the marketing and advertising world really want to be known as the analysis paralysis industry whose signature color is beige?

Tweet: Does the marketing and advertising world really want to be known as the analysis paralysis industry whose signature color is beige?

Yes, let’s think through things. Yes, let’s consider context. But let’s stop freaking out the minute someone with 2,000 followers takes issue with an edgy statement. Let’s understand our brands, their purpose, their customers and values and let’s stand by those values even when everyone else doesn’t get it. It’s OK. If you’re brand is truly defined, not everyone will.

Yes, the pain of nasty-gram tweets and email is piercing, they don’t last forever, in fact, in most cases, those very same people are off on an entirely different tangent tomorrow.  Being a wishy washy brand isn’t good for anyone, except dish soap – and those consequences are far longer reaching.

Tweet: Being a wishy washy brand isn’t good for anyone, except dish soap – and those consequences are far longer reaching.
Stand tall. Take smart risks. Stand by your customers. Have some brand confidence. Stand by your brand.