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Elements of a Successful Social Media Campaign

Jenny Love
Published:  06/17/2020

This is a two-part series. In Part 1, we looked at why social media is taking center stage now in fundraising, and how to create an effective social media strategy. In Part 2, we tell you how to measure success on social media, and share how Sharp HealthCare Foundation used social media to boost the performance of its Covid-19 response campaign.

sharp covid campaign images
Sharp HealthCare Foundation's social media campaign for Covid-19 relief featured Sharp doctors and simple copy encouraging viewers to support caregivers to save lives.  

How to Monitor Your Social Media Performance

You can't have a successful social media campaign if you don't first identify what success looks like. Dollars raised is always an important metric to gauge the impact of your social media strategy, but a prominent social media presence also raises awareness and builds your brand, objectives that are harder to measure with data. 

For these softer objectives, engagement is commonly used as a proxy measurement. Betsy Chapin Taylor, president of Accordant Healthcare, counsels that “if your stuff is getting shared and getting likes, that's always an indicator that you've connected with somebody.”

Comments and shares are similar metrics that show that you’re succeeding in starting a conversation with your audience. When measuring the size of the audience itself, both the total followers and the growth rate are important indicators.

Case Study: Sharp HealthCare Foundation

Sharp HealthCare Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Sharp HealthCare, which runs seven hospitals, three medical groups, and a health plan in California, has taken the importance of a robust digital marketing strategy, including social media, to heart.

Sharp’s commitment to digital strategy was one of the primary contributors to the recent success of their Covid-19 campaign, whose results are among the top in the nation for an organization of its size.

The philanthropy team was not new to social media when the pandemic hit. For the last five years, Sharp had posted regularly for Doctors Day and had more recently expanded social media promotion to special events and a stewardship campaign, according to Bill Littlejohn, Sharp HealthCare Foundation’s senior vice president and chief executive officer. But social media marketing really exploded in their response to Covid-19.

Bill credits the agility of his team within the broader Sharp organization for their ability to create a campaign quickly.

“In a crisis, there’s no time to keep going back to the board and reiterating,” he said.

Because Bill and his team had a strong existing partnership with the marketing and digital departments, they were able to develop a coordinated response that optimized each department’s strengths.

“Our response was a Sharp strategy, not a fundraising strategy,” said Bill. “It was a system-wide effort. Coordination between the organization and the foundation is especially critical in the digital age.”

For example, close cooperation allowed the foundation to push its message to the organization’s online communities, which had a much larger base of followers than the foundation’s own. 

Sharp’s Covid-19 response campaign’s social media component aligned with a broader digital marketing strategy that included email, display, and over-the-top advertising, geofenced to the San Diego market. Creative featured Sharp doctors and simple copy encouraging viewers to support caregivers to save lives.

In total, the campaign generated more than $5 million from more than 4,000 donors. Facebook ads generated more than 20 percent of the traffic to the Sharp coronavirus page, second only to Google as a source of page traffic. Together, Facebook and Instagram ads generated almost 200 clicks to donate money, supplies, and meals.

Bill encourages other organizations to include social media in their strategy to get the word out about coronavirus relief. “People are bringing food over. They're flying jets. They want to help. Go give them the opportunity.”

Betsy agrees about the benefits of finding time to focus on social media.

“Three years ago, I thought social media was a waste of my time,” Betsy said. “Two years ago, I started throwing stuff out there to see what happened. My followers grew to almost 7,000. And everywhere I went, people would come up to me and say, ‘I read your post on social media.’ It’s been astounding to me how it has created community around my work. It’s become part of what I prioritize.”


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Meet The Author

Jenny Love
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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