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Posts Tagged ‘12for12K.org’

How an Organization is Using Social Media to Increase Awareness and Significantly Impact Lives

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

On-line networks are filled with information about social media and how companies are using it as a way to increase brand awareness and form closer, more meaningful relationships with their customers.  However, the skepticism among B2B marketers remains.  You can Google dozens of blog comments and articles where marketers still don’t associate social marketing with bottom line results.  Marketers are demanding more quantitative data on social marketing.  As a B2B marketer, I am continuously looking for examples of how social media has created an impact, whether financially or socially, and have provided one for my January post.I had the pleasure of chatting with fellow marketer Danny Brown about social media and how he’s using it to get the word out on his latest project www.12for12K.org, a charity organization that focuses on helping 12 charities, a different one each month, for 12 months.  January’s charity, War Child, provides relief for children of war torn countries like Gaza and Afghanistan. 

Q.     What sparked your desire to start the 12for12K initiative, what it is, and why use social media to do it?

A.      I’ve been involved with charities for a while. I don’t know when it was that the idea for 12for12k came to me – maybe it was an epiphany? I guess it started as “What can I do for 12 months?” and then the numbers came – 12 months, 12 charities, 1200 people, $10 per person per charity, $12,000 per charity.Once the idea was in place, I knew social media was the way to go. The outreach you have on places like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the connections that you make and that they make in return, made social media an obvious channel for the 12for12k project. The first week has been slow as people come back from the holidays, but we have some big plans for promotional pushes over the next couple of weeks.

Q.   With all the mixed press out there about social media (i.e., it’s a fad, doesn’t deliver ROI, etc.).  Describe two ways you think social media will endure the test of time and provide value for organizations.

A.    I think the main reason for organizations to get involved and use it is the cost factor. For example, instead of spending $50,000 on a PR campaign, why not spend $5,000 on a coordinated social media PR campaign instead? Use the tools that are available and spread the word that way? Of course, still have some form of traditional PR working alongside it, but nowhere near $50,000 worth.

The other real benefit is the connection social media can offer between businesses and their customers. With the unsure economy and reduced consumer spending, you need to keep your customers – connecting with them via the likes of Twitter and blogging and actually interacting with them will reap its own rewards. I always liken social media ROI to “Risk of Ignoring” – that’s where the value comes in.

Q.  How has social media benefited your own business and how do you measure its value?

A.  From a business point of view, it’s allowed me to get my brand and services in front of people I may have otherwise struggled to (from a logistical point of view). I can have a short bio on Twitter, people know what I do and how I do it, and that’s on view 24/7 to potentially 4 million people. Just the other day I met with a potential new client who found me on Twitter, liked what I was saying and set up a meeting.

Of course, it’s not just Twitter – there’s LinkedIn and FastPitch and many others, as well as using my blog to offer views on something that might help people. As far as measuring its value, it’s a waiting game, and I always advise my clients of this. It won’t be an overnight success; it won’t happen within a few short weeks.

But if you can build solid relationships with people through social media and offer as much of your service as you do promoting it, you’ll build a link that’s hard to break. People will come to you first and that kind of connection and trust is where the real value lies.

Danny Brown is a long-time corporate communications, marketing and promotions professional who has been involved in social media for six years.  He owns PressReleasePR, a boutique agency specializing in search engine optimized press releases and social media PR.   He has guest authored at Web Analytics World , is a blog partner of WebProNews and iEntry, and regular contributor to the  Dad-o-Matic project.

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Anna Barcelos is an AMA member and monthly blog contributor with 15 years of B2B/B2C marketing experience.  She is constantly on the look-out for best practices in both traditional and on-line marketing and likes to share it with fellow marketers through her blog and social media sites like Twitter (@ableo2).  Currently she’s the Director of Marketing & Business Development for a RI-based messaging (email/voice/surveys/SMS/fax) technology company.

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The views and opinions on this blog are solely those of the contributors and do NOT necessarily reflect the official opinions of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association.