How Ronald McDonald House Can Benefit From Social Media Events

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched television events in America every year. Every first Sunday in February brings an exciting football game, creative displays of marketing, and a rush of hashtags, trends, and opinions from every spectrum of the American population. Truly, Super Bowl Sunday offers a complete form of entertainment that spans across all media channels.

The TV spots for showing an ad during the Super Bowl run millions for precious few seconds. Small businesses and non-profits can rarely afford such dramatic costs to raise awareness for their brand.

Even so, there are ways to benefit from the trends for non-profits like Ronald McDonald House. Mainly, non-profits can join the madness on Super Bowl Sunday and tweet along with the commercials. Furthermore, non-profits can check for the most popular trending hashtags, apply them to a tweet, and also use a hashtag with their organization’s name to raise visibility.

Focusing more on my particular client, the Ronald McDonald House of Morgantown, I believe the charity could use events like the Super Bowl to have people become involved. For example, I think RMHC could host a Super Bowl Party, where volunteers can come and fix party foods for the families of the house and enjoy the game alongside one another. Social media would, certainly, play a huge part in getting the awareness up for the event. RMHC could also reach to other local businesses to have them involved by having them donate to the party or even be present (such as a restaurant).

The Super Bowl is an event that brings people of all manner of differences together to witness the biggest sporting event of the year, as well as laugh and, perhaps, cry at the commercials. Due to this power of togetherness, I think the target audience, ie. donors and volunteers, would be happy to support such an event of RMHC’s. Furthermore, other popular broadcast events, such as the World Cup or the Oscars, can be used for the same purpose.

Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show

Stadium during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.

 

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Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown, WV

RMHC-logo

The Ronald McDonald House is a charitable foundation designed to house families of ill children being treated at nearby facilities. The organization has strong ties to McDonald’s, being founded by Gerald Newman, Chief Accounting Officer for McDonald’s.

For the purpose of this blog post, I will focus on the Ronald McDonald House present here in Morgantown, WV. This small branch of the corporation was only opened in 1990, so we are still a fledgling operation. I use “we” because I have been employed by the Ronald McDonald House since summer of 2014. As the mission statement states, RMHC’s purpose is to provide “a home-away-from-home” for families who have their children being treated at any Morgantown facility (such as Ruby Memorial Hospital). To elaborate, RMHC has sixteen bedrooms that house four people each, a laundry facility, and a large kitchen and pantry stored to the brim with essentials. Through work that the employees do and the charitable donations of various corporations and people, RMHC makes sure that families can focus solely on the health of their loved ones during trying times, instead of worrying about where they will sleep and how they can afford it.

As far as local competitors, RMHC is rather standalone in what the organization does. The neighboring Rosenbaum House provides the same service, but Rosenbaum houses families of adults aged eighteen and over. There is a three year overlap between potential guests (RMHC’s age bracket is birth to twenty-one), though otherwise there is no direct competition in the manner of guests. However, looking at competition from the perspective of receiving donations and volunteers, the number of competitors certainly increases.

In terms of volunteers, RMHC directly competes with the Rosenbaum House, Ruby Memorial Hospital, Bartlett House, and many other non-profits located in Morgantown. Likewise, RMHC competes with the aforementioned for donations, both monetary and for items, in addition to other organizations like Salvation Army.

The RMHC social media pages are run by the very talented Ms. Lindsay Dawson, and RMHC has presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube. Every page is updated at least once a week, with Facebook having the largest reach (as of this blog, 3,349 people have liked the RMHC Morgantown Facebook page). The aforementioned competitors all have strong social media presence as well, with strong reviews on their social media sites like Facebook. However, none have the amount of likes as RMHC (Bartlett House has 777 as of this writing).

Even so, the competition for donations and volunteers is still strong. I have told many people that I work for Ronald McDonald House and they have responded with “McDonald’s?” To increase RMHC’s social media presence even more, I would focus on Twitter and Instagram to attract more young people as volunteers. I would update more frequently with events and photos. Moreover, I would use social media to target more corporations around Morgantown to attract them to RMHC’s events so that they may view our devotion to helping families firsthand.

RMHC is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping children and their families during turbulent times, and for that cause, I want to bring a even larger awareness to their mission.

 

 

If any of you reading this are interested in learning more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown, feel free to visit the wonderful Facebook page, as well as the personal website!

https://www.facebook.com/RMHCMorgantown/

http://www.rmhcmorgantown.org/

Social Media: The New Grassroots Movement

protein world

The chances of a company, regardless of size or classification, not having some sort of social media presence in the modern age are very slim. Most start-ups build their social media presence from their inception. A strong social media presence from the beginning can help small companies get their name visible and begin to build a reputation.

In many regards, a small company has more to gain from a well-supported social media presence than a well-known national company. In the days of yore, start-ups would often employ a grassroots campaign to generate word-of-mouth and interest in their service, product, or their brand. Now, social media has become the new grassroots campaign of today’s business world.

Grassroots campaigns for the business world means generating buzz at a smaller level before expanding nationally and relying on word-of-mouth. Book clubs are good grassroots campaign starters for novels. Restaurants testing new products in certain locations is another example. But online forums and social media platforms have allowed even those businesses to move their grassroots campaigns online and reach more people.

For example, start-ups can create Twitter campaigns to create a trending movement for a product their selling. A YouTube video has the potential to go viral. Facebook can host a company page, filled with information and photos of their product, employees, and any aspect that adds to a company’s visibility and personality. All these sites can be used successfully to generate buzz around a company.

A recent example is Protein World (a UK based workout supplement company), who caught flack for a photo advertisement. Some Twitter users tweeted criticism, but many others gave the company support. Either way, the company started trending and Protein World capitalized on the newfound attention to promote their products. Other examples include Soundwave and OnePageCRM.

As stated, any company absolutely requires social media presence in the business world of 2016. However, in terms of gaining a larger presence and promotion, a smaller company has the potential for much larger gains than a large, well-established company.

 

Sources:

3 Examples of what Social Media can do for Startups

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/01/protein-world-beach-body-ready-ads-asa

#Scandal, or how to use social media to bolster a show’s ratings

I’m sure many people reading this blog have seen, heard, or even tweeted about Scandal. The soapy political drama is now in its fifth season and, just like Grey’s Anatomy, will probably be on air for years to come.

But Scandal did not begin life with the popularity the show currently enjoys. The show premiered with a very short, seven-episode first season in April of 2012. Given the pedigree of Shonda Rhimes, the show did not debut with stellar ratings. Certainly, the ratings were not awful, but Grey’s Anatomy, it was not. At least, not at the moment.

ABC employed an aggressive social media marketing campaign, centered around Twitter. The cast of the show would interact with fans directly on Twitter through the hashtag #AskScandal. Using the hashtag, fans could ask the cast questions about the show and the cast would respond accordingly. This was a great way to bolster interest in the show, given that celebrities are not so easily reachable, usually.

That was hardly the extent of Scandal’s social media impact. ABC would create hashtags based around current events in the show every week. For example, a presidential assassination attempt brought #whoshotfitz (a clever riff on “Who Shot J.R.” from the 70s show “Dallas”). Fans of the show were dubbed #Gladiators. Thursdays became #ScandalThursdays. In essence, every Thursday became host to a slew of Scandal related trending topics on Twitter, and the show became the most-talked-about show on Twitter.

And with the increase in social media popularity came actual ratings increases too. The show rose in ratings over the course of its short debut season. And once the show returned in the fall of 2012 with Season 2, it had already become a pop culture phenomenon.

I believe the Scandal campaign is the strongest example of social media boosting a TV show’s popularity in actual ratings. As stated, Scandal started off somewhat weak given the creator’s pedigree. However, through fan support on social media, the show grew to surpass Grey’s Anatomy in ratings. There are no changes that I could think to make, because the campaign was clearly a massive success that resonated with the target audience and brought on new fans.

That said, who’s ready for #ScandalThursdays2016?

 

scandal-logo

 

Sources:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2013/02/19/abc-scandal-builds-momentum/1930963/

http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2013/10/beginners-guide-tweeting-about-scandal/70148/