9 tips for successful brand #socialgood campaigns

Listerine Facebook campaign

Social good campaigns are good for brands. In this post I will share the rationale for this and showcase the Listerine #SwishSelfie Campaign to provide nine tips to maximise success for your brand and the charity.

Social good campaigns, in which a brand uses social media to fundraise and raise awareness for a cause, helps build brand value, develop brand advocates, attract new customers and increase sales. The rationale for this is that research has found that people like to use social media to support causes and they like to encourage their friends to join them. Combine this with the willingness of people to switch brands to support a cause and you have a strategy that is win-win-win. A win for your brand, a win for your charity partner and a win for the participant.

Some key research statistics:

  • 57% of Facebook fans surveyed ‘like’ a charity on Facebook because they want to publicly display their support of the non-profit to their friends (Source: Digital Persuasion Report)
  • 76% of Facebook fans surveyed agree that its important to them to influence others to care about the charities and causes they care about (Source: Digital Persuasion Report)
  • 50% of shopper’s surveyed have made a purchase based on the recommendation of the people they follow (and like) on social networks (Source: The psychology of social commerce)
  • Almost ¼ of Australian consumers surveyed switched from their usual product/service to another because of its support of a cause/charity (Source: Charity makes consumers switch brands)

Listerine #SwishSelfie Campaign

SwishselfiechallengeListerine is hosting #SwishSelfie, a 21 Day Challenge to improve oral health, raise funds for Oral Health America and promote their mouthwash. They created a Facebook competition in which people submit a #SwishSelfie photo using mouthwash. Listerine is donating $5 to Oral Health America for every photo submitted and weekly prizes of $500 for the top selfie. Voters can win prizes too. Now for the 9 tips:

1. Leverage a popular trend

Listerine based the #SwishSelfie campaign on the popularity of “the selfie” in which people take a self portrait photo (typically using a hand-held camera phone) and post it on social media. Other organisations have successfully leveraged the popular trend of posting food images to raise funds and awareness for a cause eg FoodShairFilter for Instagram.

2. Create a campaign #hashtag

Make it short and memorable eg #SwishSelfie.

3. Make the participant the celebrity

swishselfie of the moment 2014-02-11_18-43-13Make the participants a celebrity to increase the chances of campaigns going viral. Showcase their photos and posts. Retweet their tweets. Share and +1 their Google Plus posts.

Listerine features one person each week on Facebook for their “Swish Selfie of the Moment”. How happy would you be if that was you?

Listerine also engaged a celebrity, Elizabeth Banks, as the face of the campaign, but it’s really not necessary. Having said that, if you can secure the support of a celebrity with huge follower numbers (Elizabeth Banks has 1.4 million followers on Twitter) it will do wonders for boosting your reach. If you do make the celebrity the face of a campaign, try to ensure the campaign image is relevant. For example a Facebook cover photo of Elizabeth Banks doing a “SwishSelfie” would be far more engaging than the current ‘celebrity shot’ (as beautiful as Elizabeth’s white smile is).

4. Partner with a charity that’s a natural fit for the campaign

Oral Health AmericaPartner with a charity whose mission is in synergy with your brand values and the goals of the campaign. This synergy creates authenticity for the campaign from the viewpoint of your followers, your partner charity’s followers and the public at large.

Listerine and Oral Health America both aim to improve oral health so there is a natural fit for the #SwishSelfie campaign.

Plan the campaign together and ensure that both parties are promoting it. That includes liking and sharing Facebook posts, Google Plus posts, retweeting etc. Social good campaigns are about “friendraising” for both parties, as well as fundraising and sales, so ensure that you coordinate your joint campaign to achieve this goal.

It is important to note that at the time of writing #SwishSelfie charity partner Oral Health America are yet to promote the campaign on their website, Facebook or Twitter @Smile4Health.

5. Consider creating a competition

#SwishSelfie competitionCompetitions increase virality as people encourage their friends to vote for them. Provide a fundraising incentive to encourage people to post images using your product and to vote for their favourite image.

The #SwishSelfie campaign is based on a Facebook competition which involves a donation of $5 to Oral Health America for every photo submitted and people are encouraged to vote for their favourite photo. Each week the top voted selfie wins $500 and voters can also win a prize.

It is important to highlight that, unlike with commercial competitions, people participating in social good competitions do not need a personal financial incentive to participate. They will happily submit photos and click/vote to increase donations for a charity. Another great example of a social good campaign asking people to submit photos to help a charity is the Johnson & Johnson Donate A Photo App.

6. Link your campaign to an Awareness Day

Linking your campaign to an awareness day relevant to the cause eg World Health Day or Cancer Awareness Week, will serve to create momentum for your campaign, extend reach and increase awareness for the cause. Remember to use the event #hashtag.

7. Set a donation ceiling

Brands typically donate $1 for each social media post by participants and set a cap. This enables them to run the campaign without worrying that if it goes viral it will blow the budget. Listerine, a global brand, set a limit of $US 64,000. Make sure your limit is prominent on your campaign material.

8. Set a time limit

Setting a short time limit (eg 21 days) for a campaign creates urgency and buzz. However it is important to set enough time to build awareness and momentum for the campaign. For example Listerine set a 21 day challenge as part of the #SwishSelfie campaign, based on the rationale that it takes 21 days to change a habit, however the actual campaign is running for 12 weeks.

9. Use inspirational quotes

QuotePeople love sharing inspirational quotes, especially on Facebook. If you’re stuck for quotes, liaise with your charity partner (see Tip 4.) Remember to add your brand name or the campaign to the quote image (in small text).

About Us: Byron Bay Social Media

Byron Bay Social Media is a social enterprise helping business, nonprofits and government build brand value through social good strategies. If you’re interested in having a chat about how I can help you with your social media strategy, training, policy or other services, please contact me.

If you have extra tips to add or other great examples of brand social good campaigns, please feel free to share them here. Thank you!

Related Articles

Harnessing the transformative power of social media for social good

BBSM socialmediaSociety has entered a new paradigm… the biggest shift since the internet revolution. Social media and the mobile web has changed the way government, business, nonprofits and communities interact with each other and the world around them.

What I believe is really exciting is the transformative power of social media for social good. Some key statistics:

  • 170 million people globally have taken action on Causes.com
  • A ‘Thunderclap’ tweet and Facebook post issued simultaneously across the globe for World Humanitarian Day had a social reach of over 1 billion
  • 57% of Facebook fans ‘like’ a charity on Facebook because they want to publicly display their support of the non-profit to their friends
  • During Hurricane Sandy 1.3 million images were posted on Instagram by users
  • 400,000 users downloaded the CFA FireReady app which enables people to help themselves and their neighbours by sharing bushfire information via social media
  • Almost 1/4 of Australian consumers have switched from their usual product/service to another, because of its support of a cause/charity
  • 50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on the recommendation of the people they follow (and like) on social networks


Whether you’re a government agency, business or nonprofit, these statistics mean that if you engage in social media as a ‘good social neighbour’ you will build brand value and be rewarded with brand advocacy. Also, whether your community is local, state, national or global, the same principle applies, because social media has created a global community where people want to join together to help each other.

emergency2.0wiki_logo_colour_lowres (2)


I experienced this transformative power of social media for social good in my role as Founder and CEO (voluntary) of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a non-profit global online resource for using social media in emergencies. This world first initiative would not have been possible without social media and a global community of volunteers.

Galvanised by the devastating Queensland floods of 2011, Gov2qld, a voluntary community of practice of people working in the social media/government field utilised Twitter, a LinkedIn Group, a Blog, YouTube, Slideshare, Skype, Google Docs and the Wiki itself to create and build a global collaborative knowledge sharing and crowdsourcing community of organisations and professionals from business, government and the nonprofit sector. Social media has enabled people across the world to join together, share information, co-create knowledge and amplify the cause of using social media to build resilient communities.

whdthunderclapsmallimage14-04-2013 12-41-24 PM


The World Humanitarian Day ‘Thunderclap’, in which a billion people across the globe were reached simultaneously via a Tweet and Facebook post, is a great example of harnessing the transformative power of using social media for social good while building brand value. The whole of community: business, not for profits, governments and the public joined together to utilise their social media accounts to spread the message of taking action to do good using the Twitter hashtags #WHD2012 #IWASHERE.

Thunderclaps have proved an extremely powerful tool to create a campaign or publicly support a cause aligned with your organisation’s brand values and to leverage that support through the amplification effect of social media.

Causes.com is another powerful social media platform for business, government and not for profits to utilise for social change, brand advocacy and brand building through awareness raising, pledges, petitions and fundraising. Given that over 20% of people who take action on causes.com encourage their family and friends on Facebook to join them, this is an extremely effective tool. (Though it must be noted that only US charities can receive donations via causes.com at the present time).


And, if you are a business, large or small, Causes.com is an excellent mechanism for creating or aligning with a cause that fits your brand values and then leveraging your involvement through amplification via Facebook, Twitter and your other social media channels. A great example of an organisation doing this well is AT&T’s ‘Connect for Good’ cause which supports numerous campaigns on Facebook, resulting in over 250,000 actions and raising over $US 400,000.

Imagine the brand value of having 250,000 positive actions undertaken by people on social media across the globe, associated with your brand?

Whether you’re utilising social media to help provide sports equipment for your local school, empower youth at risk or provide clean water to a village in Africa, you can build brand value by being a ‘good social neighbour’.

The term ‘social media as a service’ has now emerged in the government sector as agencies are realising that social media is not just for community engagement, but can be used as a tool to deliver services and empower citizens in areas such as emergency management, youth services, seniors services, services for people with a disability and for the culturally and linguistically diverse. Checkout this powerful infographic “LocalGov2.0: How Council Can Use Social Media” by the team at Symphony3.



An inspirational example of this is New York City, now dubbed ‘the Social City’ which uses a variety of social media channels to support over 60 agencies in their service delivery and engagement. They also provide innovative mobile apps due to their commitment to open data and city sponsored ‘hackathons’. Checkout their Digital Roadmap.

CFA FireReady app

CFA FireReady app via www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/fireready-app/

Having worked across all three sectors (government, business and nonprofit) in my marketing communications career, and now as a passionate advocate for utilising social media to build resilient communities, I have never been so optimistic about the opportunities for social good that social media and mobile technologies offers.

I’m also thrilled to share that today is the launch of +Social Good, a platform that unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: The power of technology and new media to make the world a better place. I’ve joined and I encourage you to do the same! Checkout their YouTube video:

I established Byron Bay Social Media as a social enterprise to help government, business and nonprofits leverage the transformative power of social media for social good. I also aim to help build connected, empowered communities, because I believe that connected communities are resilient communities.

If your organisation would like assistance in utilising and leveraging social media to build your brand and create brand advocates while having a positive impact on your community, I would love to hear from you. Whether you need help with strategy, social media policy, guidelines, or training I would be interested in having a chat.

I aim, through this blog, TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn and future social media channels, to showcase inspirational examples of the transformative power of social media for social good in government, business and the not for profit sectors. If you would like to share any examples please post them here or contact me. Thank you!

Related Articles