TIP: Choose Your Partners Carefully
Cause campaigns on Facebook tend to be short-lived but this doesn’t mean you can skimp on the due diligence needed to vet a potential partner. Be careful about who you’re choosing to affiliate with in this very public medium where the power of the crowd leaves no stone unturned. Carie Lewis, director of emerging media for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) shares how her team learned this lesson the hard way.
“The feedback loop on Facebook is almost instantaneous and we’ve learned we need to be prepared. A while ago, we decided to enter a voting contest offering a $10,000 prize to the most vote-getting organization. As we ramped up, all it took was one comment from a member of our Facebook community asking if we were aware that the sponsoring company profited from bull fighting. We immediately responded that we would look into the situation. When it turned out to be accurate, we apologized to our community and withdrew from the contest. Based on that experience, we now do in-depth research on any company we plan to promote through social media. Because if we don’t, our fans certainly will.”
TIP: Develop Common Knowledge
Be sure to gauge the social media savvy of your partner and be honest about your own internal capacity. It’s possible that one partner may need a primer on social media vocabulary, expectations, metrics or recent changes. Provide or seek any necessary training needed. Although this training may take time at the onset of the campaign, it will undoubtedly pay large dividends if it enables both partners to effectively engage their respective audiences and support the campaign with a united voice. Ensure that any agency with which you interact has experience with Facebook and cause marketing campaigns. In particular:
Be Mindful of UBIT – Certain activities, considered unrelated to a nonprofit’s core mission, are subject to taxes. This tax is called Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). Nonprofits we consulted were careful to point out that UBIT concerns can dictate specific wording of content in support of cause marketing partnerships. “We're careful about engaging with these types of Facebook cause campaigns,” explains Leah Ray of Feeding America. “We never act as salespeople for our corporate partners and we choose our words carefully. We might say, ‘For every Facebook Like Company X Receives, Feeding America receives Y donation’. We’re still making an ask but in a much more indirect way. We don't want to get into a UBIT situation where we can be taxed because we're encouraging our constituents.”
TIP: Establish Shared, Measurable Objectives
Ask any Facebook marketer what they measure and you’re bound to hear a variety of different metrics including ‘Share of Voice’, ‘Stickiness of the Offer’, ‘Share of Conversation’ and ‘Influence’. Demonstrating return on investment for Facebook campaigns has proven difficult. According to a study of consumer packaged goods manufacturers, about half of survey respondents (48%) say social media has only been “slightly successful” in achieving their business objectives. Only 2% say it has been “very successful”.
With this in mind, it’s critical to come to an agreement in advance with your Facebook cause marketing partner about which metrics you’ll be measuring, how data will be collected, how it will be shared and what constitutes success for the other partner. It’s imperative to document these metrics and revisit them weekly with your partner.
TIP: Discuss and Document These 8 Important Parameters – Similarly, all aspects of the partnership should be discussed and documented, including:
- Where the campaign will “live”. On the brand’s Facebook page? On the cause’s Facebook page? A separate application or campaign page?
- Run time of the campaign.
- The specific call to action. Is a Like required to participate? Will participants pledge to take an action? Make a donation? Share a message? Change their status or icon?
- Any guaranteed minimum donations required/expected.
- Any supporting or reciprocal promotion or publicity desired/expected by either partner.
- Parameters around what content may be posted regarding the campaign (there may be UBIT concerns from the nonprofit organization – see above).
- How frequently the cause campaign will be mentioned on each partner’s page and other marketing channels.
TIP: Use These Communication Tools – To support open, frequent communication of expectations and results, consider using the following tools suggested by our cause experts:
- A shared editorial calendar outlining what type of content will be posted and how frequently.
- Examples of content to be posted (sample polls, quizzes, questions, topic of the week, general content posts, pictures, videos, etc.).
- Weekly touch-base meetings. A must to ensure the campaign is progressing on target and to make any necessary mid-campaign adjustments or tweaks.