Recently I had the chance to speak with Bridget Hankin about tips for effective fundraising phone calls. As we were talking, she mentioned her work with Amanda Hite in the No Kid Hungry (NKH) campaign. After the introduction, Amanda and I scheduled some time to talk.
Amanda sits on the Share Strength advisory board for No Kid Hungry and helped coordinate the Dine Out Week (September 18-24). She helped create their social strategy in September 2010, and I was amazed at the success they had. She kindly got down to the basics and explained the steps they took in order to build the huge tweetathon they held this past September 19th.
Starting from scratch, how did you begin your outreach?
We started reaching out to online influencers, namely bloggers with big communities, about a month before the campaign launched. We weren’t afraid to pick up the phone, and ask for their support and buy-in. Generic/broadcast-type tweets aren’t good enough. We asked them to post blogs asking their communities to participate in Dine Out two weeks out. Last year, we had 1,000 bloggers Tweeting. This year, thousands more came together to help produce over 10,000 Tweets during the Dine Out week.
We also went to the local restaurants that had signed up and gave them webinars that showed them how to use social media to drive consumers to their business, but also a call-to-action to get their employees to help with campaign. Our campaign’s landing page had sample tweets they could use, along with simple and very easy instructions on how to participate.
What was the primary call-to-action in the tweetathon?
We were raising awareness and asking people to eat at restaurants participating in the campaign during Dine Out week. Dine Out week started on a Sunday but our tweetathon was on Monday. So in the tweetathon, we asked consumers to tweet their favorite restaurants and ask them to participate in the Dine Out. This is a bit risky because you don’t know how restaurants would react, but in the end 55 new restaurants registered that same day.
How did the tweetathon go?
We had a lot of fun with it. Brandon, one of our volunteers, wrote and recorded some jingles for the restaurants on the spot and post it on their Facebook page or Tweet it out to them. Other supporters made their own videos asking their favorite restaurants to participate.
There were several things going on that day, such as prize giveaways for the participants. The important thing was to keep the community energized and excited, and to continuously be thanking them and encouraging them for their work. A simple thank you makes a huge difference.
What were the results?
We used Hashtracking.com to track #nokidhungry to help let us know how many people are tweeting and supporting the campaign, and we got a report at the end. Throughout the day, we feed these metrics to the crowd to get them pumped to keep going.
There were 93.7 million impressions and 8 million followers were reached on Twitter with the hashtag.
We had great support from influencers that joined, like Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ. I looked up the number of restaurants in his district that were participating in the campaign, and sent a tweet saying “Over 75 restaurants in Newark are participating in in Dine Out” and cc’d him in it. Then he returned the favor and spread the word about our campaign.
When so many people were talking about it, restaurants started coming forward and asking about it because they saw the buzz.
This is something people will schedule around and drop what they’re doing to help. Spend a lot of time thanking each person, ensuring how they made a difference.
At the end of the day, many people felt good and connected about this. They didn’t know the power of social media, were impressed.
To get people to buy into your campaign you have to provide them with two things: a personal connection with you, to the point that you can call them, and ownership of the campaign. This is hard for many nonprofits because it’s out of their comfort zone, but in reality this is empowering to them.
Find the people who are already talking about your interests, and before you ask something from them, offer them something in return. Talk, interact, and complement them. And when you do ask them for support, let them execute their own ideas so they feel they own it. Make them feel part of the team. They’ll do anything for you at that point.
Invest in the relationship! Many nonprofits and businesses say they don’t have time, but if you invest in the time up front, this will work like clockwork throughout the year. Invest the time and look at what you can do with it; look at what they accomplished with it.
I don’t know what’s more powerful and can spread quicker… how can you reach more people than you can online? There’s no other way where you can touch people and spread a message faster than online. This is an investment that you have to make if you want to make a movement like this.