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|The following is a guest post by Ehren Foss, the CEO of HelpAttack!, which is a platform for using any kind of online content to support a cause with microdonations and awareness. As part of your cause marketing campaign, you can use HelpAttack! to donate – and ask your audience to donate – any amount per Facebook profile or page update.|
When a for profit company partners with a nonprofit or cause, that’s cause marketing. There are lots of great reasons for companies to add cause marketing to their overall marketing, communications, and strategy with the public — beyond your company being a productive and positive member of society. We’ll wait here while you familiarize yourself.
Ok, now you’re convinced to do some cause marketing, you’ve found a cause partner to work with, and you’re curious how to use Facebook to help. Most of these guidelines are tried-and-true lessons of nonprofit campaigns, and marketing in general.
- Use multiple channels like email, your blog, Twitter, and Google Plus.
- Does it make sense? If you sell fried chicken, maybe don’t partner with a diabetes organization.
- When you deploy your campaign, set a deadline, keep it simple, make it easy — more people take action when you do.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a few different types of cause marketing on Facebook.
Facebook, the Channel
Facebook is simply a great tool to spread awareness, and ask people to take action: Volunteering, donating materials, or changing their buying habits to enable additional donations for a cause. It’s simple: Write effective, engaging posts talking about your cause marketing campaign, link to relevant sites, and thank people who get involved.
Donate Per Like
It’s pretty easy: Write down how many Likes you have on Facebook right now. Then, tell people about your campaign. Keep track of your Likes, keep encouraging people, and announce victory when you hit your limit. Brands often donate the full amount, even if they don’t hit their goal of Likes. That’s ok, as long as you don’t break any promises you’ve made to participants.
One downside of this kind of campaign is that the audience you gain may not be very loyal, and might not actually be interested in what you have to say. There’s an easy way to fix that, though: Ask them to Like the cause’s page instead! That way the cause benefits from a boost in the right kind of audience, and you still benefit from the cause marketing.
Donate Per Post / Comment
Compared with other kinds of content, Likes — important as they are — feel a bit stale. Meaningful posts, photos, comments, and other content are why people engage with you on Facebook to begin with. Just like donating per Like, you can decide to donate with these other actions. What if for the month of March you donate $100 to the Red Cross per Facebook post on your page (March is Red Cross month)? Or, you could donate $100 per post mentioning the Best Friends Animal Society that your partners post on their own pages. Or $1 per comment left on one of your posts about Donors Choose. Or…
Because there are lots of different ways to mix and match content, giving, your customers, partners, and audiences, you should consider campaigns that match your resources, the cause, and audience.
Involve Your Audience
At HelpAttack!, we think there’s one big thing missing from most cause marketing efforts on Facebook. Brands, when donating, usually don’t ask their audience to donate with them. One reason is that if consumers are going to get out their credit cards, the brand would rather they purchase a product. Another reason is that keeping track of lots of different content, donors, and content is challenging. Plus, you now have to manage incoming tax deductible donations from many donors the right way. We work pretty hard at HelpAttack! to solve these problems for you.
It would work like this: Announce your donation, but specify it’s a matching donation. Individuals need to pledge — and donate — $1 per post on the brand’s Facebook page. Or, people donate per photo uploaded to a special album of employees volunteering. Or donate 5 cents each time they post themselves.
When you involve your audience in a way that goes beyond slacktivism, the benefits for the cause are raising more money and finding and engaging more donors and supporters. For your brand, when someone commits to a pledge, or takes an action beyond just Liking a page, they are likely to think about the cause, and the brand who organized the campaign, more deeply and more often.
The Long View
Cause marketing works best when you’re able to build a successful, long term relationship with a cause that works well with your brand and their mission. You don’t have to knock it out of the park with a million dollar campaign to do cause marketing. It doesn’t even have to involve money. Communicate with the cause, build trust and momentum, and figure out what works based on the resources you bring together. Reach out to nonprofit professionals, cause marketers, and partners to get advice and make your campaigns even better. Remember that you can, and should, use Facebook posts, Likes, and other content to help drive your campaign.