Bliss wanted to test a direct donations campaign using the social media space, something that has never been done before.
Many charities had used social media to support, drive awareness and generate online conversation around an existing offline campaign or event – for example individuals running marathons/taking part in sports events for charity, or the receipt and wearing of ribbons/poppies. Few charities (if any) had used social media exclusively to generate donations.
In addition to driving donations, Better Things were tasked with driving awareness of Bliss amongst new audiences.
Better Things recognised the fact that the best advocates for charity tend to be those that have had direct experience of the good works of that charity. So we came up with a solution that asked parents of children affected by premature birth or needing special care to draw on their personal experiences to explain to others why they should donate to Bliss. We asked parents to create their own bespoke ‘billboard’ ad, and distribute it to their friend and family groups using email, Facebook and Twitter.
We designed and developed a microsite, www.blissbillboards.com, to enable users to create these ads. We gave users the option of uploading their own image or using one of a preloaded library of images, then adding their own headline text and selecting where that text should appear on the poster, before sharing to social networks.
Each billboard created was automatically posted to Bliss’s Facebook page wall.
We drove awareness of the campaign amongst parents (encouraging them to generate ‘Billboards’) by ‘seeding’ our campaign in social media – parent interest Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, blogs – and parenting websites such as Ask A Mum, and Babyworld as well as targeting Bliss’s opted-in database with a segmented email broadcast.
We found it difficult to generate donations without an off-line lever such as an event, or some kind of social reward for donating. This was a useful and productive finding from the test in itself, and will be used to inform Bliss’s social media strategy in the future. The site did raise £240 for Bliss and is still generating donations. However, the test activity did return a number of useful benefits and findings for Bliss, including:
Participation of parents: Over 300 Billboards created in first month of campaign
Generated leads/data: 246 new registrations/leads in first month of campaign
Facebook: Daily wall updates of user generated content (‘Billboards’). Generated interaction – comments and likes. 60% of all visits to microsite came from Facebook
Good level of traffic to blissbillboards.com: Sent around 4,000 unique visits to Billboards microsite in first month
Driving traffic to bliss.org.uk (awareness): 226 visits from 12 countries, 831 pageviews, responsible for 48% of new visits to site in first month
Longevity: Launched the site on 24th May 2010, ‘Billboards’ still being created seven months later
Tone of voice: The campaign delivered significant insight into the way users/donors talk about Bliss, insight used to validate client voice in future marketing campaigns
Reaction: Critically ill babies and infant mortality are extremely distressing situations for all involved, and parents going through these experiences should be treated with respect and sensitivity.There was a concern before launching the campaign that grieving parents might be upset by the campaign and contact Bliss to communicate this. Not only did Bliss receive no negative comments about the campaign, but many grieving parents got involved too – they were willing to share their pain to help Bliss generate donations.