A recent case study about REI's Opt Outside campaign shared by Sprout Social has some interesting takeaways I want to share with you. Hopefully these successful tactics, and some insights about each, can help you in your work.
Here are our three top takeaways from the study (quoted in bold)... and a little something extra from me to help put it into context:
1. “Don’t shy away from changing your goals as your campaign grows up.”
This is a critical and often overlooked component when planning a campaign. Learning to evolve the way you think about engagement and call to action campaigns requires being more responsive to how your audience participates—and being ready to adjust as needed.
This dovetails with a question we often ask during Same Page Content Planning Sessions and in our content planning meetings with social media management clients: "What's happening in our audience’s lives this month?"
Staying front-of-mind means keeping current with what is most important to your audience, moment by moment. For example, the case study makes the point that "Opt Outside" originally was done as a reaction to Black Friday, but has evolved in 2020 to respond to climate change.
This speaks both to the alignment between business strategy and digital strategy, as well as to how important it is to ask questions about relevance to consumers. (When we talk about engagement in social media, this is an important component of planning for engagement.)
2. "Have a lot of partners."
It’s important to recognize the many partners you likely already have, as well as identify strategies for developing new relationships that can be mutually beneficial. A partnership, quite simply, is a way to bring two audiences together. It can present new opportunities for activating your brand, building new social media partnerships, and deepening existing partnership relationships.
Partnerships can take a lot of forms - from tagging your customers in a post to paid campaigns, to brand activations that bridge the online and offline worlds. For example, REI partnered with nonprofits, including the National Park Service, to highlight outdoor activities their audiences could engage in as part of the #OptOutside campaign. The partnerships offered audiences a way to connect offline, built lasting relationships with other organizations, and created PR opportunities to highlight environmental efforts that reinforced REI’s brand identity.
3. "It's simple to ask employees to advocate on your brand's behalf, but the real power lies in giving them...intrinsic motivation to do so."
These days, many brands are not just seeking to define themselves, but to inspire people to join a movement that aligns with their mission. This sense of being part of something larger can not only motivate target audiences, but also employees.
Stakeholders who are aware of and invested in your organization’s “movement” may also be more motivated to participate in engagement campaigns because they know what’s exciting, or what brings people back, or what inspires the community.
It’s worth the time and energy to build a compelling vision statement for your social media program, because it can help align your brand with your call to action and ultimately place your campaign within the context of a broader movement that people are eager to join.
If you’re still feeling stuck or daunted, don’t panic. We offer consulting and training services for nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and faith communities so that you can empower your in-house teams, collaborate and schedule your social media more effectively, and reach new audiences with just the right message. Learn more about our services and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for monthly tips, strategies and shares.