Random Act of Kindness Day: A Case Study in Using Social Media for Good
by Frances Leary
February 17, 2016, was Random Act of Kindness Day, and we wanted to mark the day by doing something that would go above and beyond our normal efforts of using social media for positive impact. Truly, that is something we try to do every day with every post, every tweet, every comment and every share. Our social activities are aimed at making the world a better place - whether it's by helping businesses succeed or by increasing awareness about issues that matter. We know that we have a responsibility to use our social media power to do good things.
So, we decided that we wanted to get our fans involved.
We would run a one-day campaign aimed at raising funds for a non-profit organization that we support. We chose Bryony House in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The "rules" of the game were as follows: We would give $1 to Bryony House for every like, comment, share, retweet, etc... of our social media post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Here was our post:
"Today is Random Act of Kindness Day, and we'd like to give all of our friends an opportunity to join us in contributing to others in a meaningful way. For every like, comment or share on this post today, we will donate $1 to Bryony House in Halifax. Tell your friends."
The posts on Twitter and LinkedIn were shortened versions of the same, and on each platform we shared a variation of this image:
By the end of Day 1, people were asking for us to keep it going for another day...so we did. By the end of day 2 we had achieved 3200 likes, comments and shares on this and other channels. So, that is our donation amount to Bryony House. However, the image kept living on.
We did not boost or promote the posts in any way, and the reach was so exciting to watch. In total image reached 71,000 social media users and received 7,000 interactions. While we had to cap our donation at $3,200, we have reached out to other businesses in the community and are hoping they will pitch in so that we can donate the entire $7,000 to Bryony House.
The comments we got from people about the campaign were incredible. We got a lot of:
"Awesome!" "Way to go!" "Wonderful." "Thank you for donating."
And every single comment made our hearts smile.
Then we got some lengthier heartfelt comments like this:
"Great idea they do good work. I have been there back in the 80's thank you for all you did for me and my three girls."
"Bryony house is an amazing and safe place for women. Thank you for all you did for me."
"Thank God for Bryony house..."
"That's awesome I know there was a time in my life where I had to use the Bryony House. I was glad it was there and appreciated the support."
"Like, comment, share, like, comment, share,.....we could wish they'd no longer have anyone in need, but until then? like, comment, share, like, comment, share,......"
"What's not to like about the momentum in this day,...in this effort to raise funds for an AMAZING yet unfortunately NECESSARY organization? Like, like, like!!"
We also heard from people sharing their own random acts of kindness:
"Visited a neighbour who is receiving palliative care at home."
"Left some $$ at Salvation Army store in Cole Harbour!! So helped out 2 awesome organizations by sharing this post."
"This is a good thing, I will do a random act of kindness today!"
"I put change in the Meter next to me cause it had 1 min left and the ticket guy was coming- car driver no where to be found."
And we heard from people sharing their own thoughts on kindness in general:
"Everyone should do a random act of kindness every day"
"Kindness can move mountains, help to start mending shattered hearts, give hope to the disheartened. It costs nothing but remains one of the most precious gifts one can give."
"Nice. I believe In Paying it Forward, my girl guide troop made gift bags of toiletries for a local women's shelter at our sleepover this year. We made 27 bags!"
"I don't need a special day I do a random act of kindness daily it makes your heart sing:))))"
It was an extremely rewarding experience, to say the least. As an added benefit, we got more than 220 new fans to our Facebook page. That was by no means the point. However, it does illustrate the fact that doing good brings good back to you.
You don't need to be a B Corporation to use social media as a force for good, and it doesn't have to be Random Act of Kindness Day. You just have to want to make a difference. Look for ways that your organization can use social media for good. Once you start looking, you'll find an endless supply.