The idea for this post first struck me when I saw this YouTube video:
Pretty great, right? As you can see, CKDJ 107.9 Ottawa’s New Music (a station run by Algonquin College’s Radio Broadcasting students) is once again joining the Movember campaign to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. Their hook? Get Canada’s Prime Minister to grow a mustache and be a “MoBro”.
After watching CKDJ’s campaign unfold over a few days, I noticed that it relied heavily on social media to get the word out. Given that this is a student group whose primary focus is NOT marketing or communications, I thought the campaign was being handled quite well.
I wanted to talk strategy, so I tracked down the man in the video (@RyanPaulGibson) for a quick discussion. We had a great conversation, and I was rather impressed by the thought and effort that went into this campaign. Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation.
Q1. Before we talk about your strategy, what are your goals?
First of all it’s about raising awareness for a good cause. My family has been impacted by prostate cancer, and it’s something that is not talked about enough. If we can raise a little money along the way, all the better.
- 5,000 views of our YouTube video.
- $5,000 raised by our Movember campaign
- 10,000 signatures on our petition for our Prime Minister (@pmharper) to grow a mustache
Even if we don’t get the Prime Minister to grow a mo, we would have still raised awareness by creating content that engages our audience.
Q3. Did you really create a social media strategy, or is this stuff just common sense for CKDJ?
Absolutely we created a social media strategy. If I just posted the video on YouTube, I don’t think it would have done much. It would have gotten lost within the thousands of hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every second. If we didn’t use social media to promote it, it would not have been picked up by mainstream media, and the dominoes wouldn’t have fallen into place. If you want to get your message heard, you need to find a way to get it out there to the people who will get it on another channel. Sometimes you just have to light the fire a little bit.
Q4. Boil down your strategy and tactical approach for me
Well, step one was make the video, and then promote it on Twitter. I tweeted (and emailed) 40-50 news organizations and around 100 journalists that I follow or knew existed. I also tweeted key cultural figures, such as George Stroumboulopoulos (@Strombo), Alan Cross (@AlanCross), or Algonquin College graduate Tom Green (@TomGreenLive), in hopes that they would retweet the message and share the video. I even sent our news release to some press secretaries on Parliament Hill.
Within our Twitter strategy, we created a hashtag (#MoHarper), and added the hashtag for #Movember. Then we made sure that every single tweet was sent with our station’s handle (@CKDJ1079) and the @MovemberCanada handle so that everything we did was noticed by Movember Canada. Next thing I knew, the phone rang and it was one of the head organizers of Movember Canada calling me from Toronto. He thanked me for being involved and gave us the heads-up on some things that they were doing this week to help build momentum. But if I didn’t use social media to reach out in the first place, the video would have just sat on YouTube with a couple dozen views.
We’ve also created a Facebook page where we share our events, media coverage, and news about the campaign. It’s turning out to be a great place to connect with our audience.
Once I had the social media structure and protocols established to manage our brand, I then looked to other students in the program to leverage their social networks and share our message about Movember beyond just the social media properties owned by CKDJ.
Q5. Did you look at social media and traditional media as separate, or complementary?
This is the first time I’ve tried anything like this; I’ve never even run a campaign before. At first I saw them as separate, but as I started to implement the plan, I saw for the first time how those properties overlap.
Q6. Tell me about the YouTube video
It stemmed from the professors here at Algonquin College telling us that the skill-sets needed to succeed in a career in media require expertise in a variety of sectors including video, audio, writing, social, and web. With that in mind, this was done very quickly, very guerrilla, and very unsophisticated. It was shot in one take with big signs and fake mustaches. We wanted to keep it simple and include a call to action to sign our petition and visit our Facebook page. Ninety seconds is all the time you have to deliver your message online; a video any longer than that often drags.
Q7. How can people can get involved?
- Donate to our Movember campaign
- Sign the petition
- Like us on Facebook
- Share our YouTube video
- Retweet our tweets
There you have it, a quick behind-the-scenes look at how some Canadian students are leveraging social media to raise money and awareness on men’s health. During our conversation, Ryan and I touched on a number of best practices, but his understanding of where social media fits in an organization was spot on. Social media strategies are not something you create for campaigns; they should be created and integrated into your everyday business operations. Using social media needs to be baked into everything your business does.
Are you a “MoBro” or “MoSista”? Let us know if/how you are getting involved in Movember this year.