Home > Uncategorized > Connected Causes- Social media meets cause-related marketing

Connected Causes- Social media meets cause-related marketing

With the rapid change in technology, advertisers have several online tools to target consumers. Social networks are making it that much easier for advertisers to connect with us because we have provided them with our likes and dislikes. Let’s face it, everyday we willingly put a lot of information about ourselves online. On average we create 90 updates of content every month, spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.  Users are sharing private thoughts about family and friends, experiences with brands and much more. We just love to share our personal thoughts and broadcast it to 500 of our closest friends. Take note, marketers and advertisers are paying attention. If sharing your personal thoughts isn’t enough, Facebook added the Places application (mobile devices) that allows you to share your location with friends.

Foursquare is a location based social network allows people to connect with friends, earn points, prizes, coupons and badges by checking into your favorite places. As if we don’t update our Facebook statues enough, now we use Foursquare and give our exact location.

A recent NY Times article highlights the use of Foursquare for a cause marketing campaign with billboards. Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm created a billboard campaign in the Bay Area Rapid Transit System to raise money and awareness for the endangered Pika. They had a simple idea, people are constantly connected to their social networks, view billboard ads and generally want to do good. Earthjustice knew that they had a captured audience of people waiting on the bus or train. The campaign invited commuters to check-in at the four billboards; each check-in generated a $10 donation. The campaign was a success as over 5,700 commuters checked-in raising more than $50,000.

Earthjustice found a unique way to capitalize on the social network phenomenon, specifically with Foursquare’s geo – targeting capabilities and also made people aware of a pika. (I’ve never heard of it, but now I know they are endangered.) I have not seen any other organizations or companies use Foursquare to generate donations based on a stationary billboard ad. I assume that people checking in at the ad can see other friends who are nearby and have a conversation about the endangered pika. Because commuters check-in by an ad, they are not allowed to interact with the organization in any way.  The ad does not have a web site or any social media sites listed which does not prompt people to learn more about the cause. I think one of the disadvantages of this type of campaign is that it does not allow the commuter to interact with the organization and it’s staff. When people check-in using Foursquare they are at their favorite store or restaurant and can leave tips, talk to friends/staff, or purchase items. This is example is just one of the many ways that organizations are using social media to garner awareness about a cause.

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