Blog

A space for me to share my thoughts and resources on digital marketing.

How I Helped Win A Shipping Container On Facebook

How I Helped Win A Shipping Container On Facebook

Some of you may know that my day job is spent as a missionary with Youth With A Mission in Australia. I am part of our creative & communications team and spend a good chunk of my time looking after our social media profiles. One of the challenges myself and many social media managers find in any field is showing tangible results. We all know social media is important and has a part to play in our organisations, though showing that importance is quite different. Facebook's entire advertising platform has been scrutinised for that exact reason. I have had mixed results on social media though recently I had the privilege of seeing what we do with social media turn into something that produced a real result. This result was a shipping container.


Firstly, you are probably wondering why a shipping container? As some of you may already know, our new ministry centre has been fitted out with reused shipping containers. Each of our 8 containers plays a part in the building; from offices to a mezzanine floor. So yeah in short we are in the business of shipping containers.


During a recent search for an additional container we came across a nationwide Facebook Contest. In it a company was giving away a shipping container each month to the non-profit with the most votes. Unfortunately it was already half way through the month so we had some catching up to do. Within 24 hours we had shot into first place and doubled their votes. A great start right? While most were convinced we had it in the bag I saw what was coming next. Overnight 2nd place jumped us and nearly doubled the lead we had once held! While discouraged, a group of us jumped on Facebook and continued to rally others to vote. Before we knew it we had taken back the lead. This lead did not last and we went back and forth all the way to the final day. While the last few hours were quiet we sat patiently, always ready. We had seen such a wave of support and wanted to see this thing through to the end!


While the result is in the blog title I wanted to share some of the things I learned through the process. Keys that not only helped me win a shipping container for my organization but also apply to any of our efforts on social media.

Your Social Media Posts Are Worth A Thousand Pictures

Your Social Media Posts Are Worth A Thousand Pictures

Whenever I am asked to share with a group on social media I can't get away from the subject of how we use our words. The top social networks Facebook & Twitter revolve around features that simply and quickly allow you to write short updates. These updates have allowed us to pour out our hearts & minds at a rapidly growing rate, to an alarming number of people. No invention in history has expanded our potential to communicate then social media. I believe it will even have a wider spread impact then Gutenberg's Printing Press. You see the printing press gave a small minority of people who knew how to write the ability to communicate to another small group of people who knew how to read. Even today it is only a select few authors who have the ability to write a printed book and have it read by millions of people. Now along comes social media. If you just took Facebook alone you have 1/4th of the planet with the power to write anything at the click of a button. Then what they write has the ability and potential to be read by millions.

Proverbs 10:19 says "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

Never before has this simple proverb been more relevant. Words get us into a lot of trouble. So much conflict comes from the simplest of miscommunications. From people reading or hearing our words and interpreting them through their own lens. A lens that comes with it's own history, it's owns hurts, rejections & failures. We read what others post, and write our own posts, through a context created by our own personal experiences & what we know. It is this context that so often gets us into trouble. Famously Ashton Kutcher handed over the reigns of his Twitter account to a PR firm because of this exact thing. He posted his opinion about something before he knew the context. He jumped to conclusions about people's motives and got caught red handed. Sadly this is now a normal occurrence for celebrities on social media.

So what can we do to get better at this? Honestly I think back to that Proverb. We need to get better at holding our tongues. It is in this holding that we can process our words and think about the context. We can think about the lens we are writing from and then who our audience is. The next time you go to post something on social media try writing it down on a notepad first, or record the video, wait a few hours, then read/watch it back to yourself. Does it still mean the same thing when viewed again? What do you think are some ways others could misinterpret it? A simple pause, combined with a few questions, could transform our social media.

This morning as I prepared to write this blog I had the famous saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" come to mind. Though not in it's usual form and I think it sums up perfectly what I am trying to get across.

Fast Food Social Media

Fast Food Social Media

Ok so I started off this blog with the title "Tweetdeck is your enemy", though as I continued to write I realized there was much more to it. I also realized I might hurt the feelings of my many friends who use the application themselves. So yeah this blog is not so much about Tweetdeck but more about the trap many social media users slip into. Myself included. The trap of treating every single social network as if they were the same thing. Though the reality is that every social network is different. Facebook is not the same as Twitter, which is also not the same as LinkedIn which is most definitely not the same as Pinterest. So why then do we use tools like Tweetdeck to post the exact same posts on each of these social networks? From my personal experience I, and many others, have done it out of pure laziness. Who wants to rewrite a post 5 different times for 5 different social networks? That's not very efficient is it? No not really.