As the lead blogger for the Donate Life Utah campaign that ended on October 24, 2009 (National Make a Difference Day), I had the opportunity to participate in, as well as observe, how social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WordPress (blog) can be utilized to build an event-driven community.
Donate Life Utah was a campaign across Utah college campuses to generate the most organ donor registrations prior to the October 24 deadline. On the final day, campaign organizers held a 9K Race and .9K Walk to raise awareness and attempt a Guinness Book world record for the most organ donors to register in one day. The schools were each given $1,000 by the Quest for the Gift of Life Foundation to fund recruitment efforts. The winning school received $9,000 in scholarship money.
Our campaign kicked off on September 9. Our first blog was posted September 11. We posted daily (using a team of 4 individuals) and every post was tweeted via Twitter. A master tweeter tweeted several times daily. We also created a Facebook fan page.
In a campaign that lasted six weeks and started from 0 (0 blog readers, 0 Twitter followers, 0 Facebook fans), the final stats were as follows:
- Twitter account reached almost 200 followers
- Facebook page reached almost 600 fans
- The blog had more than 50 posts, almost 1,000 unique visits, with over 350 of those in the final week alone.
The campaign steadily built momentum, reaching a crescendo during the final week. The deadline date, race and Guinness Book world record attempt helped to drive social media buy-in as volunteers and potential donors “tuned in” to social media platforms to get event details, check their school standings and obtain donor registration information.
The Takeaway: As event-based social media campaigns emerge, benchmarking among organizations and campaigns will be critical to gauging average vs. exceptional results. While all results are relative to the organization’s goals and incentives, the numbers of followers, fans and subscribers generated are less relevant than the rates of conversion (from Twitter followers to organ donors, Facebook fans to attendees, etc.). Live events and social media campaigns work well in combination. The sense of urgency created by a live event drives participation in social media platforms and is a critical component for community building.