Influence Over Reach

I was interested to read a case study from social media monitoring giant HootSuite which details their work with The Rockefeller Foundation, a non-profit organization whose focus is “to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world…[by] advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity.” Hootsuite worked with them on promoting their #MyCityNeeds hasgtag, in support of their 100 Resilient Cities campaign.

While understandably focused on the role of HootSuite, what I like about the case study is how the Foundation decided to forego the more straightforward – and less impactful – metric of reach (how many people potentially saw your content) and focus on engaging with influencers instead to get them involved and to become champions in spreading the Foundation’s message.

I wanted to share two particular tactics that your organization or campaign may want to look at emulating for your next initiative:

      Active Monitoring: The Foundation used a number of methods – tracking Twitter lists, keyword searches and even Klout to identify those who may not have large followings, but are influential in the areas The Foundation was focused on.
      Direct Outreach: Instead of simply retweeting or just following these people, they reached out to them directly: “Using tools such as Twitter Direct Messages, we are able to nurture relationships with bloggers, media and high-profile individuals by pointing them to articles they might find interesting, asking them for their thoughts on a topic.”
      Empowering Staff: Rather than just giving direction to their employees, the digital leadership first set up Twitter lists of staff and key stakeholders to determine “who was naturally social”. They then leveraged their natural areas of interest and expertise to develop a content strategy to support them.

The lesson here is that The Rockefeller Foundation knew that it is not enough to simply post content and hope their existing network would carry most of the water. They took a proactive approach to identifying, listening to and directly engaging with the stakeholders that would then carry on the Foundation’s campaign message.

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