How To Make Your Social Impact Message Go Viral: 5 Principles for Digital Engagement

You know digital activism is more than a passing fad when technology giant Microsoft launches its new Nokia Lumia 735 phone with a social good activation. "The Selfie Collection" not only highlights the phone's ability to take improved selfies, but it also helps fight online bullying.

The campaign raises money through an online auction by inviting fashion bloggers to take selfies wearing or displaying items they donated to the auction. In addition to donations from the online auction, Microsoft will make a donation to Children's Helpline International. This campaign is just one of many new efforts to garner attention for important causes through reaching consumers where they are – on digital.

Looking to create a digital campaign? We've gathered five principles for digital engagement based on the findings from the 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study:

  • Open the door: Don't undermine the importance of a simple tweet or post – this is the gateway to future participation. Remember, even though a click might not necessarily translate into an immediate dollar in your coffers, it's a critical first step on the engagement ladder and can open myriad opportunities for your organization to gain the crucial support it needs.
  • Hyper-target your approach: Prioritize who you're trying to reach. Understand the channels they want to interact on and the content they want to see. Instead of applying a blanket approach to engagement, hyper-customize your outreach to resonate with your specific audience.
  • Think differently about content: The days of the million dollar PSA are over; it's time to get flexible, nimble and creative in how you approach online content development. Your audience seeks information, but that can take many forms. Think quizzes, videos and infographics. Keep your eyes on what's trending to stay relevant and use this to tell your social or environmental story.
  • Make it real and make it now: Let's face it – many social and environmental issues are complex and less accessible. Digital can help transform a complex issue into an emotional, informational six-second video or image. Create content that makes your issue tangible and urgent. Reinforce why participation is critical at this moment in time and exactly how it will help.
  • Revolutionize your ask: When you look at the outpouring of support after disasters or compelling calls-to-action like the Ice Bucket Challenge, there's no question Americans want to help. But, it is going to take more than a share or donate button to grab people's attention. Don't be afraid to take more risks and push the limits of engagement.

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