Best of the Social Platforms in 2010

It’s no surprise that social media has been a game changer for cause marketing in recent years.  There are thousands of causes, non-profits, marketers and individuals, that have used various platforms to get conversations started.  Here's a round up of a few of my winners this year in the HIV/AIDS category. 

In collaboration with (RED) Twitter encouraged users to incorporate hashtags such as #red, #worldaidsday and #hiv.  Using these hashtags changed the color of the text of users’s tweets to red. Half a million members chose to participate in a single day, not only encouraging conversation, but creating visual documentation of participation.  

Honorable  Mention:
Led by Alicia Keys, several celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake, pledged to silence themselves on all social media outlets (primarily Twitter) until $1 million had been raised for the Keep A Child Alive fund. 
No matter how self absorbed or narcissistic this campaign may have seemed, the bottom line is that it got a lot of attention, raised a substantial amount of money and started conversations on a monumental scale.  The reason it doesn’t top my list, however, is because most of the conversation that was generated revolved around the individual celebrities and their Twitter accounts, and not about HIV/AIDS as a global epidemic.  #nicetry.

In 2010 for the first time, Foursquare teamed up with various organizations to offer badges to users who were involved in the HIV/AIDS conversation. 
GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campaign”:  Collaborating with MTV, Foursquare awarded a badge to members who “checked in” for an STD test during the month of September.  The campaign encouraged open communication regarding sexual activity and STDs. 

On World Aids Day Foursquare responded by offering members the ability to find local HIV services, events and testing centers.  They also offered a limited-offer badge for users who checked in and mentioned #turnred at any location.  The effort was in collaboration with (RED), in their attemp to “Turn the World Red”.  

Together with, Flickr asked users to print a PDF inscribed with the words “Facing Aids”, and an additional phrase of their choosing, and incorporate it in a photograph to share with the world. 

With Facebook being the most visited website in the United States in 2010, it would be silly for cause marketers not to tap into the rich resource.  However, I had a hard time pegging down one single campaign that had utilized Facebook better than all the rest.  I had to give this one to Project (RED) as a whole.  In addition to using Facebook as the primary platform to raise awareness about the project, (RED) has had a substantial presence on the social media website, boasting 671,076 (as of 12/31/10).  The organization has launched several campaigns via Facebook, including The Lazarus Effect documentary (in conjuction with HBO), their Shop(RED) products, the (RED)Nights concert series, and their Turn(RED) profile picture campaign.   (RED) is also my overall winner in terms of social media usage.  The organization has promoted its message and effectively utilized several platforms including Twitter, Foursquare and Youtube.  

The participation has been incredible this year.  Social media has driven conversation, raised awareness, generated funding and increased participation like never before. 
Hopefully in the upcoming months we’ll see more campaigns that don’t only pick up steam on December 1st, but year round.  Can’t wait to see what 2011 brings! 

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