What’s the real value behind friending, liking, tweeting and following?

It’s true that social media is the world’s biggest popularity contest. Often times we’re all big kids, socially self-indulging with no overarching purpose outside of our own interests. But I believe humans are capable of being selfish and compassionate, entertainment driven and driven to make a difference. With a little bit of ingenuity and creativity, we can wield social media towards whatever we desire. Even helping those who would demolish a keyboard with their teeth if given the opportunity.

Best Friends’ invisible Dogs campaign

Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is proving social media can influence social good in the offline world with the Invisible Dogs campaign. Created by Claudia Perrone, marketing manager at Best Friends, the Invisible Dogs campaign is raising awareness online about shelter dogs in local communities. Visitors to the Invisible Dogs site can engage and make a difference by pledging to adopt a shelter dog, walk a shelter dog and/or take a photo of a shelter dog and share it online. So far the campaign has gained 1,837 pledges.

Creating effective social media campaigns

By using Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, the Invincible Dogs campaign has been very influential in driving online audience awareness and engagement:

  •  Best Friends’ Twitter has gained over 44,000 followers by tweeting #InvisibleDogs and encouraging followers to re-post using the same hashtag.
  • By logging in with a Facebook account, Invisible Dogs ‘pledgers’ can create their own local Dog Wall and visitors can post photos, videos, text stories, Facebook and/or Twitter content about the campaign and their experience with shelter animals.
  • The campaign’s coordinators creatively implemented Foursquare into their efforts for National Animal Shelter Check-In Day on Nov. 12, 2011. According to Julie Castle, senior director at Best Friends,  “We’re asking every Foursquare user to head to their local shelter and not just check in, but adopt, volunteer or simply take a photo of a dog available for adoption. By doing this, we’re making shelter dogs visible!”

Best Friends’ Invisible Dogs campaign is just one example of a nonprofit constructively changing the way we perceive and engage with social media. For more information about social media being and social good, I recommend Zoe Fox’s  ‘How Non-Profits Are Using Social Media.’