From Social Media to Memory

28011015990_8ff191ee0f_mFirst the unfortunate news, as a small nonprofit, the chances of going “viral” in the traditional sense are unlikely. The good news is that there are lessons to take away from the most successful social media campaigns that can help your organization use social media to lead your supporters to action.

Looking at lists of the most influential social media campaigns of 2015, viral hits like #SquattyPotty, GoPro’s Skateboarding Cat and Buzzfeed Tasty made several appearances. So, what lessons can a smaller nonprofit take from these memorable campaigns?

#SquattyPotty was a brilliant and hilariously memorable marketing video. It took an issue that is not usually spoken out-loud and turned it mainstream. Is there an issue that your organization addresses that is difficult to explain or difficult to discuss? Consider engaging board members in creating short videos where they explain the issue the best they know how as the stars of that video. Once the video is made and posted, those board members are more likely to share it with their friends because they were the stars – which means more exposure for your organization.

GoPro’s Skateboarding Cat capitalized on the fact that cats are really popular right now but the takeaway for your organization doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with cats. At its core, GoPro’s Skateboarding Cat took something popular and paired it with user-generated content. Think emojis, think selfies, think guacamole, think pop culture and then help board members and supporters create user-generated content promoting your organization’s latest initiative.

Buzzfeed Tasty has us all wanting to make nacho monkey bread for sure, but the fact that we all WANT to make nacho monkey bread is what made this a powerful campaign. Very short videos like these recipe hacks suit the attention span of social media frequenters. Your organization could use this concept to create videos or quick slideshows of the day to day goings on behind the scenes or of an event. Clocking in at under one minute, content like this is a way to connect with your audience and share what you do.

Cognitive scientist and author Dr. Carmen Simon said To make memory lead to action, we must offer something that our audiences’ brains consider rewarding. Ultimately, the goal of creating social media content like this is to make people want to do something and for non-profits that can mean giving money, giving time, getting more involved. The choice and direction need to fit your organization’s mission and we’d love to talk to you about finding out what your audience values most and how we can help you turn those values in to action.


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