Let’s start with your role in this campaign. Social media operations is a huge challenge in itself. We’ll get to what you did in a moment. But first, how did you get it done?
Brenna Holmes: In the case of this urgent campaign, not only did I serve as an advisor, I also helped with implementation for all things social – optimizing their existing Facebook fan page with the custom welcome tab and many personalized Facebook Markup Language (FBML) widgets. Later in the campaign, I started and managed their Twitter account.
CSPF is a very small and tightly knit organization. Their Director of Membership, Greg Zelder, and Director of Communications, Jerry Emory, are my daily contacts and it was (and is) in collaboration with them that we got a full-scale multichannel campaign up and running within one week of learning of the Governor’s proposed budget cuts.
The first thing that catches my eye about this case study is the quick, large Facebook fan page growth that led to positive media stories. But when you explore this success a little deeper, it’s not just a case for social media marketing, but integrated marketing as well. Can you give us more details on how you used multichannel marketing?
BH: At AH&A, we LOVE multichannel integration. As a direct mail fundraising shop that has expanded to include pretty much in-house everything (online, telemarketing, creative, production, and analytics), practically every campaign we plan has multichannel components.
And this case was no different. CSPF had been a direct mail and telemarketing client of ours for many years, but 2009 was the first year that my department began working with them.
Actually…the budget cuts issue made us start our contract a month early! Within 48 hours the organizational website was redesigned to accommodate an Action Center, daily homepage updates, graphic social media sharing links, and embedded YouTube videos made by both the organization and passionate supporters.
The Facebook “Friend Get a Friend Campaign” was launched the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend, May 26, (which is when the Governor’s proposal was released) via an update to CSPF’s original 517 fans.
The update explained the imminent threat parks were facing and put a deadline – Friday, May 29 – and a goal – 5,000 fans. “This year’s cuts are ten times as bad, so we need ten times the fans on Facebook.”
Once supporters became fans, they were presented with an action item asking them to visit CSPF’s site to sign an email petition to the California legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger. We also set up and managed CSPF’s paid online advertising on both Facebook and Google to drive supporters to become fans and/or sign the petition. All this Web outreach was supported by an aggressive email petition and donation campaign to the house list and partner organizations in California.
The online campaign was mirrored in direct mail with three “urgent grams” that were in people’s mail boxes by the end of the week – one to high-dollar donors ($1,000+), one to all other members, and one to prospects. All three pieces netted funds and raised more than $200,000 in just over a month. Telemarketing was also excellently leveraged – existing campaigns were halted and new scripts were implemented, raising more than $88,000 in the first two weeks of the campaign.
That whole week in May, Foundation staff members were being interviewed and the story was picked up by SF Gate, Huffington Post, LA Daily News, Frommers, etc. They even made it onto Digg! By early June the Facebook growth was being referenced in mainstream news articles and on other environmental and California-based nonprofit Facebook pages.
Were these other channels used to primarily promote Facebook over the CSPF website?
BH: Facebook was never promoted over the website. Facebook promotion was always either in conjunction with site promotion (general “Find Us on Facebook” links) or as a secondary ask (“Thanks for taking action! If you are on Facebook, click through to join the conversation”).
Other than the specific “Friend Get a Friend” outreach on Facebook and some of the Facebook ads, we were primarily driving supporters to the online Action Center to sign the petition, make donations, and later on, print Save Our State Parks signs and upload their photos from the SOS weekends of action.
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