10 October 2012

How Social Media Changed My Game (Part One)

Two-weeks ago I blogged about my campaign to raise funds for indigenous education through my push to qualify for the 2012 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

As I explained, a huge part of my strategy hinged on being effective in social media channels, particularly Facebook and Twitter. With my fundraising ambitions having already been achieved, it’s a good time to reflect on the relative merits of both platforms and ascertain what worked, and, just as importantly, what didn’t.

Let’s start with Facebook. I employed it because I was small-scale and thought it important to engage with people I already knew in real life. As I’d hoped, these were people who were immediately interested in what I was doing. I also found that:

 • Facebook is a great medium for posting photos. With images playing a key role in conveying my message, the style of presentation enabled by the site’s album facility made a strong visual impact.
 • Facebook’s event tool was extremely useful, enabling me to run little fundraising incentive programs. One such program saw me ask people to select a calendar day on which they’d donate the price of a coffee. It only took one person to click “attending” for others to follow.
 • Facebook groups enabled me to access people that would automatically be interested in my campaign, such as the Triathlon Club, and raise awareness in specific spheres.

Less than successful was using Facebook for posting links. There’s a lot there already (eg: companies and radio stations people have liked), so putting up yet another link and asking people to leave Facebook to go somewhere else, such as my own personal web blog, proved fairly ineffective. I also found that posting updates like, “here’s my fundraising page, visit it, buy something, donate”, didn’t work. People needed a more substantial reason to divert to my page from Facebook (more on that later).

Next week I’ll talk about Twitter, and the significant impact it had on my campaign.

Author: James GoswellBachelor of Commerce graduate, University of Sydney Business School.

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