Courtney Eckerle

Cause Marketing: “Likes for Tikes” campaign generates a 39% increase in Facebook Likes for small firm

Thinking of businesses during the holiday season often conjures up the image of Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge, building his fortune a penny at a time and miserly clutching every one. The uncanny number of movie versions of the tale usually perpetuate this, with an updated Ebenezer being a stingy CEO or mogul – see Bill Murray in Scrooged.

But, for many companies in the marketing industry, the truth is much closer to the old Jimmy Stewart classic, It’s a Wonderful Life – people building a business by working hard while balancing the profits of business and goodwill.

World Synergy is an online marketing firm based out of Cleveland, Ohio, going into its 16th year of business. It provides a real-life example of how companies are integrating giving back with business as usual.

Toys for Tots has been the charity of choice for World Synergy, and Facebook the chosen outlet for the give-back campaign “Likes for Tikes.”

“It is an outreach opportunity for us. … We wanted to get engaged with our current customer base and our employees’ friends and family,” said Glenn Smith, President and CEO, World Synergy. 

 

 

Outline the campaign

The concept is simple, and it was designed that way purposefully, according to Smith.

“We look at our current employees and we look at the cost of it, saying, ‘What is the easiest way to touch a lot of people?’”

In the “Likes for Tikes” campaign, for every five “Likes” the company received on Facebook from Nov. 26 to Dec. 14, World Synergy donated one toy to Toys for Tots, run through The Salvation Army.

“Facebook just seems to be the right vehicle to do that. It is the right medium that allows us to share those ideas, since we are able to update it often with pictures,” said Smith. He added that Facebook was also chosen because of the way it has “communicated with our customers and friends” in the past.

It has taken some time to get off the ground, according to Smith, but three years into the annual project, World Synergy is an official Salvation Army drop-off location, and utilizing social media to help spread some holiday cheer.

 

 

Get employees involved

The program was structured by setting up an online Amazon account. Employees were given access to the account, and each employee, based off the number of Likes World Synergy had, purchased a toy for Toys for Tots.

“They get the ability to buy the types of toys they would pick for their own kids. … [Amazon] ships them to our facility, and then we ship them to The Salvation Army. It is a nice way to get the whole company involved,” said Smith.

World Synergy made sure to encourage employees to allocate a small portion of their business day to the project, incorporating the giving spirit into their daily regimen as a company.

Employees were asked to reach out to current customers, as well as through their own social media accounts — such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — to friends and family to promote the campaign.

 

Increase communication between company and customers

“It has given us another touch point with our current customers and their friends, to talk a little bit about World Synergy and some of the other things that we have done throughout the year with other charities,” said Smith.

Smith said this campaign has been so successful as a touch point with customers that it will be expanded next year to highlight this objective.

Although World Synergy hasn’t vetted out all the logistics of its plan for next year’s Toys for Tots campaign, Smith is adamant about the importance of involving customers even further into the process.

The current plan is for three weeks prior to Dec. 14, 2013, and World Synergy will extend the Likes for Tikes campaign to include its customer’s pages, as well.

“If any of our customers get a Like within that three-week period, we are going to add it into our Likes for Tikes campaign. … Right now, we have a little over 200 customers, so it could get rather extensive. So hopefully we could get a large community involved with our customers,” said Smith.

World Synergy has also purchased the LikesforTikes.org URL, and plans on building a website to carry the history between Toys for Tots and World Synergy. The website would also serve as a benchmark each year the company continues it.

 

Give back

“The overall takeaway is that we have found another vehicle … to use social networks for the holiday season and for holiday cheer,” said Smith, adding that it is a festive change of pace since “traditionally we have been trying to use social networking, social media to benefit our business and try to get a ROI.”

World Synergy accumulated 151 new Facebook Likes from Nov. 26-Dec. 14. In all, the company will be donating 59 gifts to Cuyahoga County’s Toys for Tots, which more than doubled its donation from last year.

 

Resources:

World Synergy

 

Related Resources:

Marketing Management: Incorporating giving into your marketing department or agency

Social Media Marketing: 7 steps for using contests and sweepstakes to promote your brand

Random Apps of Kindness: Using mobile for nonprofit and cause-based marketing

Social Marketing: Twitter contest boosts followers 43%

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