Social Media Campaigns to Keep Your Eyes On

Remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the watershed social media campaign that changed how charities and businesses looked at fundraising? Not only did it raise more than $100 million to benefit research for a cure for ALS, it redefined what it meant to go viral for a good cause.

As a small business owner, campaigns like these represent a way to participate in the fun while earning serious name recognition and increasing sales. The key to succeeding is to tap into the cause that’s right for your business. Here are five social media campaigns to consider along with tips for making them work for you.

  1. #nomakeupselfie

This social media effort urges people, mainly women, to join the fight against cancer by posting images of themselves without wearing makeup. It’s a courageous act that aligns them with cancer victims who often lose their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes to harsh treatments like chemotherapy.

If you operate a salon, spa, or sell health and beauty products this campaign is tailor-made for leveraging. Encourage staff and clients to post without makeup, and make a dollar or more donation to cancer research for each instance. For added awareness, consider producing a calendar featuring someone that’s not wearing makeup each month. Then donate proceeds of calendar sales to cancer-fighting efforts.

  1. Movember

On the opposite side of the no makeup spectrum lives ‘Movember,’ an effort that encourages men to grow facial hair, especially moustaches, during the month of November to bring awareness to men’s health issues.

Barbershops and men’s salons can get in on the action by offering moustache grooming tips or clinics on twirling the handlebars just right. Charge a small fee for these services and donate them to one of the many causes Movember supports. Post the burliest, classiest, dandiest ‘stashes on Facebook and let visitors vote on the best. Inviting the media to your events may also net your business free publicity worth thousands of ad dollars.

  1. Action on Hearing Loss

Here’s a case study on how a simple request can make a big difference. Using Twitter, Action on Hearing Loss encouraged upscale British retailer, John Lewis, to include subtitles in it’s holiday TV ads. The store complied, and the result provided millions with hearing loss a reason to stay tuned. One ad in particular has netted more than twenty million views on YouTube alone.

Is there a segment of the market you could reach by adjusting your advertising? Would direct mailers in Braille, perhaps, be welcomed in your market? Think about where your business could make inroads where others aren’t. Use social media to start a conversation about unmet needs and see where your fan base leads you.

  1. UNICEF ‘Likes’

While ‘likes’ are the currency on Facebook, they can’t pay for things like medicine, food and clothing that can benefit the lives of impoverished children. UNICEF’s campaign pointing out this discrepancy netted the worldwide charity nearly one million YouTube views in almost two hundred countries. It challenged those who liked their page to donate money – and make a true difference.

Your business has the power to use social media the same way. Is there a cause it can get behind, such as the equitable distribution of food in the world? If you’re a grocer, you might use Facebook and Twitter to lead by example – donating goods or money while encouraging fans to do the same.

  1. #FindMike

Years ago, a British man suffering from schizophrenia was talked out of jumping off a bridge by a stranger. Rethink Mental Illness’s effort to bring the two together again marked the beginning of a social campaign that vaulted the cause to the forefront of millions. It eventually joined the two men, marking the end of one journey and the beginning of another: to keep the conversation about mental illness and suicide prevention alive.

Most small businesses have pet causes. While some are easier to talk about than others, #FindMike shows that any conversation can thrive under the right circumstances. Think about the cause your business cares about most and look for connections. The more you make, the more successful the effort.

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