How to Use the Power of Social Media and Local Businesses to Fuel a Local Charitable Online Marketing Campaign
It's the time to pay thanks and what better way for real estate professionals to become actively involved in their communities than to put the power of social media marketing to a charitable use online? Today I am going to use the GiveNGoble Campaign to illustrate how you can use the power of social media and your local business connections to power a local charitable online marketing campaign.
The Give'n'Gobble Campaign is Sherwood Oregon's annual 5Krun/walk and 10K run on Thanksgiving. The money and food raised during the run/walk goes to Helping Hands, a local food bank associated with the Oregon Food Bank. This year they have turned to social media to fuel their donations and WOM(Word of Mouth Marketing) and it has served the campaign well.
Here is what they did that you can emmulate to drive a local charitable online marketing campaign,
1. Bought a domain and drove traffic to a designated website for the charity
The website gives all the necessary information about the charity as well as an eye catching left hand side bar with 10 reasons why to participate and photos of the past year's events. It also includes a sponsor list, a map(would've been nice to see a Google Map also), a lists of sponsors (which are logos that link back to the sponsors websites) a form for volunteers, and a press release section.
I would buy a designated domain. Domains are pretty cheap to buy these days because domain dealers are currently holding an excessive inventory. I might even go with a .org instead of a .com. domain. If you are lacking time and resources to host and create a website, I would contact a local website provider and ask for a donation.
2. Used a flickr account to display photos
Consumers like visuals and do image search daily. Adding a flickr account for your charitable online marketing campaign just makes sense. Make sure to tag photos well and mark your distribution rights accordingly. Here are 14 other image search engines to consider for your campaign.
3. Created a Facebook Fan Page to drive online awareness and donations
Some of the most effective advertising through Facebook Fan Pages has been as a result of viral quizzes, contests,giveaways and strategic campaigns. A Facebook Fan Page should be part of any online charitable marketing campaign. It should include updates on campaign activities and behind the scenes action shared through notes. It can include polls on the wall about topics surrounding the campaign. I would include stats on how the contribution will directly help the charity from past experience if you have those stats or in general if you do not.
Tap into the viral marketing power of Facebook by reminding visitors to share the page with a friend. Add the Facebook FanBox to the dedicated website for the charity.
4. Twittering with a Charitable Purpose
Micro blogging the charitable event before, during and after makes sense. Create a separate Twitter handle and list it in local twitter directories like Twellow. Geofollow, and localtweeps. Think about how contributions will serve the goal of the charity and that is how you want to craft your message on your Twitter Page to create an empowering call to action.
The GiveNGobble Twitter Page makes a smart call to action by directing visitors to its Facebook Fan Page.
5. Blog the charitable event before, during, and after it is over
Blog your charitable event before, during, and after it's over. The blog should be built into the designated website to increase search engine rankings for your targeted keywords. Include links to the blog in blog directories and pertinent web pages.
Invite guest bloggers who are either sponsors, volunteers or participants of the event.
Here's a few things I would add to the online marketing campaign mix
Radio-If you have an Internet radio show include 3 spots for the event- Before to build awareness, the day of to kick start the even, and after to discuss the results.
Video-Launch a YouTube channel for the event OR include videos of the event on your YouTube Channel.
Generational Marketing-Advertise the event through online resources where you can get volunteers like college websites.
Business Branding-Give your real estate business some credit by including a link on the charitable website/blog to your website or at the very least a business citation. You will get some natural business branding by writing a press release and in return getting mentions in local and possibly national news.
Savvy Linking- Create buttons for sponsor, volunteers, contributors, to put on their website that will link back to the charitable website.
Don't forget that a key to success of this type of campaign will be to partner up with local businesses. Pop by in person or call them on the phone to get their assistance and their support.
It might be a bit late to ramp up a charitable online marketing plan like this in time for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is still a month away and there are charities all year round. You don't have to wait for a holiday to get buzz going and give thanks by helping others.
You can use the power of social media and local businesses to fuel a local charitable online marketing campaign anytime.
Rebecca D. Levinson is a real estate marketing consultant with 17 years of experience serving real estate industry professionals.