In November 2009, 25 emergency service workers donated a month of their annual leave to run 6,021km from Cooktown to Melbourne. Their aim was to highlight the impacts of climate change to the social, economic and ecological health of Australia, as well as the potential solutions.
the c word was approached to develop a social media campaign for Run for a Safe Climate. Our crew became the “Official Social Media Partner” and implemented a six-week campaign using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and blogs to:
- increase awareness of Safe Climate Australia and Run for a Safe Climate
- begin a conversation with people on social networks across Australia
- increase awareness of local initiatives and solutions
We achieved significant support across multiple social media channels, including more than 1,500 Facebook fans and 800 Twitter followers. We also reached an extended audience of 15,000 Facebook fans and 53,543 Twitter followers thanks to support from Cool Melbourne, Greenpeace and Green Cross and our 30 most-interactive Twitter followers.
Run for a Safe Climate is a fundraising and awareness-building campaign on behalf of Safe Climate Australia. The aim of this campaign was to highlight the impacts of, and potential solutions to, climate change in Australia.
Safe Climate Australia is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation launched by Al Gore in July 2009 and formed by concerned climate scientists, and community and business leaders with a shared understanding of the need for emergency action to restore a safe climate.
the c word had a crew of three communication professionals working tirelessly during the six-week campaign. Our days were rigidly organised to ensure we were monitoring and updating the various social networking channels from early morning to late evening.
phase 1: Preparation
Preparation for a social media campaign is as important as training for a run. We started by brainstorming ideas and preparing a comprehensive social media strategy covering the relevant channels, including an action plan for each tool. While Twitter, Facebook and the blog were the primary focus; we also used Flickr, Twitpic, YouTube and Google Reader.
Next, we educated the runners and support crew about what was required from them to keep the social media content flowing and engaging. Many were basic Facebook users but hadn’t had much exposure to Twitter. Rather than teaching them to Tweet from their own devices, we decided to manage the content by collecting updates via text messages.
We developed a blog calendar to guide our content and also collected facts and trivia about every destination we were visiting. We also prepared runner profiles, strategically followed people on Twitter, posted calls of support to Facebook fans and drafted blog posts about the route, destinations and community forums. The final activity was the development of a social media pack for bloggers.
While social media is a powerful communication tool, it can be enhanced with traditional communication. Before the Run began, phone calls were made to Victoria Police, Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Association and Cool Melbourne to garner support across social media. As a result, we tapped into such well-established resources potentially adding another 100,000 people to the potential campaign audiences.
phase 2: The launch
On the day of the launch, the c word tweeted and twitpic-ed at the media launch and the official launch. We also posted photos across Flickr and Facebook, and posted an overview on the blog.
phase 3: The Run begins
Despite not spending the whole time on the road, we posted daily updates on the blog, Twitter and Facebook to keep fans and followers updated. The first few days were a little quiet due to the remoteness of the location and a lack of phone reception. However, a steady flow of text messages, images and updates continued for the 28-day journey. The personal approach and authentic personality of the updates and images resonated with fans and followers and resulted in support through retweets, blog posts and Facebook interactions.
Daily blog posts about upcoming destinations, weather conditions and runner profiles were uploaded throughout the day. Google Reader was used constantly to identify relevant blogs to pitch to, Twitter people to follow and to monitor online coverage.
As well as posting updates about the Run itself, we were continually monitoring other relevant topics to share with our followers. We also maintained high levels of communication engagement by continually responding to messages of support from fans and followers. The immediacy of the responses allowed people to engage with the run and develop strong ties. This translated into calls of action from many fans, messages of support and even fundraising efforts.
phase 4: The last kilometres and after the Run
The final day was a big day for the runners and a huge day for the social media crew, with updates and images being uploaded regularly to give supporters in other states a chance to be a part of the festivities. This was one of the busiest days of support and the twitpic of the ‘000 Climate Emergency’ human sign received the most views of all our images.
One of the initial challenges was timing. We only had a couple of weeks to develop the campaign before the Run began. It also followed successful social media campaigns for Youth Decide and EnviroWeek which created a level of ‘Green Fatigue’. And there was competing noise with Copenhagen fast approaching, Liberal Party leadership challenges and the Senate’s rejection of the Emission Trading Scheme.
Overall, the campaign was an extreme success with social media tapping into more people than the 30 community events taking place along the route. With the potential reach of fans and followers exceeding 60,000 in such a short time frame, the results exceeded our expectations.
Champions such as Twitter followers @unenergy, @FollowMeAussie, @frombecca and @AdamBandt helped spread the word to their supporters and were very vocal in increasing our fan/followers base. We even secured messages of support from celebrities such as Mia Freedman and Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges.
The key outcomes from the campaign were:
- Great foundation of 1,500 plus Facebook fans and more than 800 Twitter followers over a six-week period
- Further reach of 15,000 fans via support from Cool Melbourne, Greenpeace and Green Cross and potential reach of our Top 30 most interactive Twitter followers is 53,543
- Since October 2009, there have been a total of 8596 Facebook page views and an average of three interactions per post
- Twitpics were extremely popular. Aerial shot received 394 views with an average of 39 views per image
- Secured excellent social media exposure for major sponsor NAB and official automotive partner Mercedes Benz Cars Australia
- More than 770 @replies/mentions during six-week campaign including 322 re-tweets and an average of 25.1 @replies/mentions per day while across Twitter it remains at 5.3
- Several radio interviews were secured via Twitter connections
Although not a flawless campaign, it did re-affirm the need for an on-the-ground specialist and more importantly to need to draft and collate as much information and content as possible ahead of time. The destination posts and Town Trivia, which were developed early, proved to be a useful tool in delivering interesting yet relevant content, particularly when mobile phone reception was poor or the team was otherwise occupied.
With the foundation set, future campaigns have an amazing pool of resources to tap into. Twitter in particular has proven to be good for marshalling active supporters – which we’ve seen for following campaigns such as Walk Against Warming – and with ample preparation time, they can be invited to events and help drum up support to raise more funds.
If you’re interested in hearing what social media can do for your organisation, please contact Jack or Maryann on 03 9676 9040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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the c word