KD Paine and I had the pleasure of interviewing the Arlene McCrehan social media team at Goodwill for our soon to be launched book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. Goodwill uses measurement and learning in its evolution into a networked nonprofit. One practice they have mastered well is the ability to use experiments (with measurement) to mature its practice.
One of their newest experiments is a Twitter campaign, #150jobs. They launched it to align Goodwill with Labor Day, and to shine a light on the challenges faced by people who are unemployed, as well as the transformation a job has made on their lives. They just marked their 150th first-person story on their blog, so in the 150 hours leading up to Labor Day, @GoodwillIntl is tweeting out one of these success story per hour under the hashtag #150job to spotlight someone who has found work, education or volunteer opportunities with support from Goodwill.
Arlene McCrehan is the Senior Director of Online Media where she directs the team responsible for social, mobile, email, and public web initiatives for Goodwill Industries International, a social enterprise comprised of independent, community-based Goodwill organizations that provide job training, employment placement services and other programs. Her teams also provides guidance and support to their DC-area office and the Goodwill network around information architecture, design and content in the implementation of new technologies, campaigns and microsites. I interviewed Arlene to learn more about they’re measuring their Twitter campaign and what they’re learning.
1. What is the objective of the Twitter campaign? How are you defining success? How will you measure it?
Since 2009, we’ve posted a weekly first-person success story and podcast on our My Story blog. We realized we were about to publish our 150th story on Labor Day and decided this was too much of a coincidence not to capitalize on. With the elections coming up in November and the unemployment rate still at 8 percent, a lot of the current conversation around jobs is mired in negativity and debate.
We wanted to approach the need for employment and training opportunities from a more positive angle, demonstrating through first-person success stories the remarkable impact that finding a job can have on individuals and their families. We also want people who are currently unemployed or looking to advance their careers to view Goodwill as a resource for their career and education needs.
Because of the project’s scale, we opted to use Twitter as our communications channel instead of Facebook. We identified two quantitative success measures, Twitter impressions and content sharing. Based on past performance, we’re hoping to achieve more than 1 million unique impressions on Twitter and increase the rate of sharing among new and existing supporters by more than 30 percent relative to our baselines.
We’ll also be monitoring Twitter for qualitative success indicators like on-mission comments from new and existing Goodwill supporters. For example, after re-tweeting one of our stories, one supporter wrote: “@GoodwillIntl: THANK YOU for the amazing work you do. You continue making a difference and investing in people to be the best they can be.”
2. What best practices or tactics are you using to implement this campaign on Twitter?
First, we’re timing the campaign to draw increased attention to our mission at a time when people are naturally talking about employment and jobs. We’re using a unique hashtag to curate the conversation (#150Jobs) that isn’t already in use. Hopefully the powerful, compelling and shareable quotes we’re using in our messaging will make people want to click through to read the full stories. A few other tactics:
• Using HootSuite to mass schedule the 1 X per hour posts, and to generate trackable links
• Providing messaging for our partners employees at our network of 165 Goodwill agencies to encourage them to participate in the campaign
• Adding a live #150Jobs Twitter feed to our homepage and referencing our on blog page.
3. You mentioned this is an experiment, can you tell me more about how your organization experiments and evolves aspects of its social media practice/strategy?
First, we have a culture that supports innovation. Our team was swamped with projects when our Blog Manager Jenni Baker brainstormed ideas with us — she eventually landed on this concept on her own. We’re happy for team members to move into a project leader role as their skills, time and great ideas converge. Second, we know that social isn’t always the answer to our organization’s communication needs, but when it is, we evaluate what met our goals on previous similar projects and then allow ourselves a little creative time to continuously improve. Good opportunities to experiment often emerge through our cause partnerships, since we are compelled to find an activation that supports both unique brands.
4. What advice do you have for others?
A campaign like this wouldn’t be possible on Twitter without the great repository of content already developed on our blog and website. An initiative like this also demonstrates how content can have a life beyond the week or two after it’s posted. Think creatively about content and other digital assets and how they might be put to new use. These first-person stories are powerful – if that strategy works for you, equip as many qualified, on-the-ground staff with the resources they need to regularly collect these stories. Be sure to get signed releases for these folks. The stories are great for social media, as well as advocacy efforts, resource development, online giving solicitations and more.
How has your organization measured the effectiveness and success of using Twitter? How has your organization considered extending the shelf life of its content strategy?