Monday, 4 October 2010

NHS Organ Donation Social Media Campaign

Genuine good causes can work extremely well on Social Media. If the aim of a campaign is to raise awareness, then a viral platform can obviously be very useful in bringing those desired numbers. Funny or entertaining content is generally what spreads best, but a good cause is also very likely to be shared.

The first organ donation campaign to run across the UK was launched in Autumn 2009. This campaign aimed to promote public awareness about organ donation and increase significantly the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register, so that many more lives could be saved and transformed.

Twitter and facebook profiles have been launched to help support the campaign, which you can visit at the links below;

The facebook page at the time of publication has almost 300, 000 subscribers. This is great number, but actually represents an even larger reach. A general rule states that about ten percent of a Social Media profile's fanbase will regularly interact with it. So, the page can expect about 30, 000 of it's fans to be interacting and to keep doing so. Comments and 'likes' will be displayed on the fans personal profiles, for any visitors there to see. Most importantly though, when they initially 'like' the page or if they share a post from it, then it will appear in their friends news feeds. On average, a facebook user will have between 100 and 200 friends, therefore those interactions could have reached over 3 million people. Now, newsfeeds can move quickly, so that's not to say that each of those people would always see those messages, but the potential is there.

And it's not a marketing department or a corporate brand passing that message to them, it's their friends, so more likely to be trusted and acted on. Many of the unique comments (i.e. not a reaction to a post by the page, but stand alone comments by fans) are personal stories from people with real life experience of organ donation. Again, this is content that is very likely to be 'liked', especially by the poster's friends, and therefore, shared. They're genuinely touching and inspiring and within five minutes I was moved to register as a donor myself.

To register, a user does have to leave the page and visit the website. This is missing a trick really, as when people choose to be on facebook, they'd often rather not leave. The several clicks to get to the donor registration page may discourage people from going through with it, rather than if the form was available on the facebook page, where they could do it straight away. I've left a comment on the page suggesting this and they've responded, so hopefully it will be available soon. I think it would really help.

The twitter profile currently has just over 1,000 followers, which is a reasonable number, but well under that of the facebook page.  Chances are that a good few of those 300, 000 on the page also have twitter profiles, so it's worth trying to recruit them through facebook. On the surface, this may look like a waste of time, as these people are already being reached, but they may have different connections on twitter than they do on facebook. To maximise reach, both profiles should regularly feed into each other.

The content on twitter is great, being varied and interesting. It includes calls to action , with links to register, etc, 'retweets' of peoples donation stories, as well as the  more official, corporate messages. This pretty much matches what we'd suggest for any Social Media profile, whether Public or Private sector. A social element, to involve the audience, interspersed with information about the organisation, and remembering to include directives, so there is a real world outcome from the profile. Everyone in Social Media should look to follow this basic credo and it shows that the good people behind the Organ Donation campaign are very much on the right track.

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