With thousands of popular Facebook Causes applications and Web sites like Changents.com, which bring together people who want to share their altruistic experiences, there’s little doubt that cause and social media make great bed fellows. Worried that you won’t be homing in on your target audience? Don’t be. According to our 2008 Business in Social Media Study, 59 percent of social media users are already interacting with companies online. In fact, 25 percent interact more than once per week.
As social media marketing moves beyond its tipping point, companies searching for new ways to engage their stakeholders with a cause are starting to take notice. In its recent Press Play: Be the Change campaign, GAP challenged its employees to create videos of themselves performing volunteer work and post them on www.pressplayatgap.com. Customers were then asked to vote on the best video with the winning submission receiving $10,000 to be donated to the charity of the employee’s choice.
Press Play: Be the Change serves not only as an innovative employee engagement program, but it also makes it easy for consumers to voice their opinions by voting for the best video and ultimately rewarding a worthy nonprofit. This new brand touchpoint could even win GAP added customer loyalty; 56 percent of social media users feel a stronger connection to a brand when they can interact with it in a social media setting.
But—a word of advice before you decide to launch a social media cause strategy—you need to cede control of the conversation. In social media, it’s enough just to be a part of the conversation, so allow consumers to express their own thoughts and ideas, whether approving or disapproving. You may actually learn something valuable from your detractors.