From a global fundraiser to a national festival launch to an East Midlands wide business campaign. Here are three social media success stories, all started and organized right here in Lincolnshire.
1 Rotary Global Swimarathon
My Rotary club in Grantham has held a swim fundraiser for 25 years, raising £600,000+ for local charities. In 2011 we had the bold idea of asking Rotary clubs around the world to join us in a simultaneous Guinness world record attempt. Over a 10 month campaign using Twitter and Facebook, as a volunteer social media team of 1, I persuaded a world record 4546 people in 23 countries, 5 continents and 15 time zones to swim 100 metres, raising over $100,000 in 1 hour towards the eradication of Polio.
The project received two national awards including the UK Fundraising Best Facebook campaign 2012 and cost the club absolutely nothing.
The 2013 and 2014 were even bigger and have put the event well on the way to becoming the biggest and most inclusive annual swimming fundraiser in the world. What’s really inspiring is that the event has proved to be a catalyst for launching other global fundraising events shared by the Rotary Family around the world. The map above really brings home just how far this simple idea has spread. We have now developed sister events, the Greatest meal to End polio, and the Rotary crocus campaign (a silk flower badge made by the manufacturers of the Marie Curie Daffodils) that have massively increased the amount raised. All in all, since 2012, an incredible $1,200,000 (and still rising this year) has been raised for Polio eradication, more than 30,000 people at events organized by over 1000 clubs in 56 countries have taken part. To put the amount raised into a human context -that pays for the immunisation of over 2 million children.
In March 2012 I was put in contact with South Kesteven District Council who were just 6 months away from a highly ambitious brand new science and arts festival celebrating Lincolnshire’s most famous son – Sir Isaac Newton. So very much a race against time to raise awareness both amongst the local population and the science and arts community.
In my role as social media lead, I learned the vital importance of Twitter for rapidly building a relevant audience – by proactively following local business, community and media accounts, connecting with followers and attendees of other science festivals, and establishing early contact with the festival presenters and performers, I was able to rapidly build up from scratch a very engaged and supportive following of over 4000. As you can see from the image a sense of fun and encouraging interaction and participation was very much the theme of the social media campaign. Remarkably the most widely deployed measure of social media influence Klout reported a higher rating for our fledgling event than for any established festival in the country bar the Edinburgh Festival. For the grand transformation of the town night where more than 12,000 people flooded the streets of grantham for a spectacular show of world class aerial acrobatics, carnival parades , twitter came alive with stories and pictures from the wider public. The event is now firmly established as bi-annual event, and I’m already working on next one will be 24th -28th September 2014.
Grantham based sign manufacturers Viking Signs supported the Gravityfields festival and their Managing Director Darren Joint contacted me in January 2013. The brief was clear, as a signage company they are often the first to know about new business launches and developments, so as well as raising their own profile, they really wanted to use social media to promote and showcase local success stories.
Growing from less than 100 followers to over 2500 (over 80% within the East Midlands region) is only part of the story. Through a combination of his own personal Twitter account working with the Viking Signs Twitter feed, Darren has been able to respond proactively to customer enquiries and build great partnerships with other local organizations. A great example is the Viking challenge bike charity race event in Leicestershire which was a perfect fit for sponsorship – not just providing the signage and through their involvement it now has a much greater profile on social media.
All of these case studies go to show that social media is a great way to find people with a common interest and build relationships with them, irrespective of your business and where you are physically located.
What can social media do for you?