The concept of social good is a far encompassing one, and certainly nothing new. The goal however, has always been to help the greatest number of people in the biggest possible way.
With the concept of Crowdsourcing being formally introduced in 1996 by Jeff Howe, it is time to consider how social media has contributed to the phenomenon, and who has learned to use these concepts with great success. The most important thing to consider is the limitations of crowdsourcing before the advent of social networking. It was all about proximity, limited time and space. With the development of the internet, we have been able to take these barriers away.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept either, but the means by which companies strengthen and exhibit their CSR has certainly changed since the advent of social networking sites and Enterprise 2.0 practices.
Considering that social networking sites now eat up more of our time than any other online activity, it is natural that many brands and non-profits have begun to delve heavily into this median:
The beverage company has had the most recent, and by far the most successful social marketing campaign harnessing social good in 2010. Announced in January, PepsiCo vowed to forgo their traditional advertising at the superbowl for the first time in decades, and instead funnel all of that money into a project that would donate $20 million dollars to fund great ideas across the United States (and now the world). At the outset, many saw this as a risky venture, and doubted wether people could get behind such a movement.
Just weeks ago, at the Mashable and 92Y’s Social Good Summit, Bonin Bough, global director of digital and social media at PepsiCo announced that the Refresh program had now garnered more votes than the past US presidential election. With tens of millions of votes cast and a global expansion in continuous progress, we can say with confidence that the project has been a success.
Such a project may not have an easily measurable ROI for a brand, but the impression it leaves, and the potential for further developing a brands image (arguably the most valuable asset to any company) is tremendous.
For those who don’t have the financial availability of a multi-billion dollar soft drink company, lets consider some other companies and non-profits that have had great success leveraging their social marketing campaigns to rally communities and/or build influence:
Recently launched a facebook campaign to donate $1 towards the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers for every person that ‘liked’ their facebook page. The page has over 5000 fans with a ton of potential for engagement. The page has also become a place for the community to discuss and post pictures from their experiences from the charity weekend. This campaign has contributed positively to the immediate community, helped generate funds for a charity, and has given Royale a great community of users who are receptive to their brand.
This one’s an ongoing movement. Back in 2009, Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with Cancer. Upon diagnosis, he launched a website that allowed people to “blame” everything on his cancer. To this day, thousands of people have blamed tens of thousands problems on Drew’s cancer.
With this new found community, Mr.Olanoff, who owned the @drew moniker, was able to (with twitter’s consent) put the name up for auction hoping for a top bid from a famous Drew (Drew Carey or Drew Barrymore).
With November fast approaching, we couldn’t help but list this great example of social good through social networking. If you don’t already know, Movember is an annually-held, month long charity event to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer. This charity has truly harnessed the power of social media to bring significant awareness to this event, as well as great communities for its supporters to enjoy. With an active facebook page for each country within its program (That’s right, they engage each community individually), a well-maintained twitter account, and a youtube channel with a very active following, Movember stands out as a highlight of a great grassroots movement that has used the power of engagement to create a global charity event.
All great examples of social networking helping to increase the magnitude of social good. Good any other great examples? Please let us know.
That leaves just one question, Fellas, are you going to be growing a mustache for @movember?