16 Mar

Lessons learned from Kony 2012

The recent viral documentary campaign to raise awareness for the charity Invisible Children about the activities of Joseph Kony and the Lords’s Resistance Army was universally received as a brilliant piece of film-making and a significant propaganda statement (if you haven’t seen it you should make yourself a cup of coffee and then click the play button below – it’s 30 mins long). There is much that can be learned from this sort of activity and used as a case study of viral capability.

First some facts (at the time of writing):

  1. Nearly 80 million hits on YouTube
  2. Over 1.3m likes and 643k comments on YouTube (comments now disabled)
  3. 17.1 million hits on Vimeo
  4. 21.2k likes and 1.2k comments on Vimeo

Many NGOs and charities have criticised the film as being too simplistic in its argument for the capture and bringing to justice of Joseph Kony. That’s as maybe but it is nothing to do with the success of the piece, since it was all about awareness and fundraising. In both respects it has been massively successful, as the statistics above bear out. However it’s the audience profile that is of interest since this is a political campaign and yet the predominance of viewers are between 13-24, the majority being girls aged between 13-17.

So what causes them to watch the film? The power of social media. Simply put, the film is emotive to youngsters as the content portrays those of a similar age in a regime of fear and oppression, and that’s what causes them to spread the word.  And that’s Jason Russell’s genius – using his son as the central character in the drama and thereby drawing on an audience of active social media players to act as advocates for the cause.

Like all good communication it all comes down to great content – create appropriate and appealing content for the target audience and let social media do the rest – genius!


14 Mar

Magic Bus UK roars away

Helping children in India prosper through sportA new website for Magic Bus UK was launched on 5th March 2012 in conjunction with charity fundraising agency partner John Grain Associates. Featuring a multi-level CMS and a fun, engaging design, the site is designed to be easy to manage by the charity and simple to navigate by their supporters, fundraisers and donors. With enhanced visibility in search engines Magic Bus are off to a roaring start with their new website.

As a specialist in websites to support the specific needs of charities, I am often called upon to advise on strategies to enhance online communication channels using websites, social media and direct engagement tools such as newsletters.

Visit Magic Bus UK.

Please get in touch if you have an online project to discuss for your charity.

02 Mar

Facebook Timeline for Brands

Facebook Timeline for Brands

Facebook Timeline can be used creatively by brands

Since Facebook for brands was launched this week (in preview prior to switching them live on March 30th), I have been trialling the service for a number of clients. Here are my observations so far:

  • Firstly it is a huge aesthetic enhancement to brands’ most potentially engaging social media platform.
  • Existing content created at 520 pixels width, such as tabs and apps will continue to display in the new Timeline format. However some work is likely to be required, to change content to fill the new 810 pixel wide space.
  • You can no longer use default landing tabs for non-fans in Timeline, which is a shame.  You can use the new design to your advantage though, but it would appear to me that conversion rates are going to drop significantly as a result of this change.
  • You can use Timeline’s preview on your Pages right now, but I am not generally making Timeline a permanent feature until the end of March, just so that any bugs are ironed out before taking them live.
  • Add milestones to humanise a brand and tell a story over time.
  • Apps appear under the cover photo, so ensure that these are the ones you want to promote to users.
  • Pin interesting content to the top of the Timeline to keep it visible, but rotate this on a weekly basis.
  • The new private messaging feature allows a much better and more personal brand experience, but it needs to be used with temperance, otherwise it is as bad as spam.