Posts Tagged ‘@VolunteerMatch’


When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Andrea Corbo*

Peacekeeping - UNAMID

Flickr Image: United Nations Photo

We all know there are many reasons to use social media, but why not use it for a good cause? Well, that’s what many non-profits, NGOs, and supporters do! 

Let’s take a look at a recent social media campaign launched by USA for UNHCR. The initiative, called The Blue Key campaign, aims at raising awareness of UNHCR refugee work and raising money through the purchases of blue keys that symbolize a key to a home, which refugees no longer have. Their goal is to “dispatch 6,000 Blue Keys by December 31, 2011.” To date, they have dispatched over 3,400 keys. The campaign has had huge success this year and still has a presence if you run a Twitter search today. #BlueKey

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Shonali Burke, a public relations and social media strategist based in metro D.C., who consulted on The Blue Key campaign (USA for UNHCR is her client), and blogs at Waxing UnLyrical. From our discussion, I was able to see that the tactics fell into several categories.

Measurement
If you are a PR professional running a campaign, you may choose to set a goal that you can measure such as a set-amount of followers, hashtag mentions, or number of group members. (One of their goals was the number of blue keys.) You can then relate these quantitative metrics to monetary measurements and numbers of people positively affected as a result of such aid. You can also take a look at qualitative metrics, think tone or sentiment, to see how people may be reacting to your campaign and how your campaign may have shifted their awareness – positively, negatively, or neutrally.  What types of response can you get?

To understand how analytics helped UNHCR tell their story, check out this interview between Shonali and Beth Kanter, author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media.  

Timeliness/Relevancy
Use holidays and events to your advantage. A great idea in the Blue Key campaign was to incorporate an online frenzy via a tweetathon (on June 13th) that approached World Refugee Day, held each year on June 20th.  These tweets then led to more awareness which, for UNHCR, resulted in a direct increase in support through purchases of blue keys. In fact, the tweetathons were so successful that they were held again in September and again on Monday, October 24th in honor of United Nations Day.

According to a recent email message sent by Marc Breslaw, executive director, USA for UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency, the tweetathon held last week generated 1, 800 tweets with the hashtag #bluekey and have helped to spread even more awareness and keys.

And as 2011 draws to a close, another tweetathon is planned for November 17th from 9am – 9pm.

Word-of-mouth
Clearly, USA for UNHCR and other organizations can create their own campaigns to raise awareness. But how can people get involved with these organizations if they don’t launch the campaign themselves? That’s where the Blue Key Champions come into play. Social media users, in general, can aid in these campaigns by participating by spreading knowledge, posting info for events or fundraisers, and sending targeted info to their friends.

Community Engagement (In Real-Life)
Since part of the goal is to actually bring real world action to causes, it is important for organizations and the communities to meet in real life, not just online. Today (November 2nd), in the NYC-area there is a  tweetup (NYC #bluekey tweetup) organized by local Blue Key Champions and the D.C. #bluekey tweetup will be on November 10th. These tweetups are a great way for people who are passionate about a cause to come together and meet others who are equally as passionate and foster a sense of active community.

 

Want some other causes to follow on Twitter? Help promote a cause that you are passionate about. Use your social media power to your advantage. Here are a few Twitter handles I suggest you follow to get started: @UNRefugeeAgency@planuk@unicefusa@Polaris_Project, @PlanGlobal@tkhf, @VolunteerMatch, and @ecoteer.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to get involved and help promote through your social media accounts. It’s easy and it means something important. What organizations do you follow on Twitter? Tell us by leaving a comment on Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries.  Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce