I am deeply touched and moved by the video that was released two days ago on YouTube by Invisible Children. It has had more than 7.5 million views in 2 days! It is powerful, moving and compels me to action. It will be one of the greatest social media campaigns of the year.
In a day where you are lucky to capture someones attention online for more than 15 seconds, this captivating video manages it for 30 minutes. If you haven’t watched this video, I highly recommend that you do. In fact I urge you to, for two reasons:
1. This is a cause that deserves global attention, action and response. It calls each of us to action on a cause that might not affect us personally, but affects us as human beings.
2. This is one of the best social media campaigns I have ever seen. It uses all the elements that makes social media a powerful tool for social change.
Below the video we explore what elements make this campaign so powerful, so that you can consider them in your own campaigns.
Here are the elements that make this work. Consider them as you build your social change campaigns or in developing online communities around a core idea or purpose.
Start with the Big Picture
The video starts by painting the global picture of how change is occurring in the world. The fast paced imagery and evocative music draws you in immediately. In painting the global context, it sets the issue up as an issue that affects us all. It takes almost 2 minutes before the actual cause is known to the viewer and by that stage, you are already captivated.
Find a way to engage the masses and then bring it back to the cause. Use topics, images and/or music that has wide appeal.
Bring it Home and Make it Personal
Very quickly the video takes the global issues right back to the individual and says it is about you. This demonstrates relevance and keeps the viewer engaged. The shots of a new baby and the introduction to his son, makes it personal relevant. He uses this family relationship and the relationship with Jacob in Uganda to ease us closer to the confrontational message. Being a Dad at the birth of his son, is something that many can relate to. Many who not otherwise watch this film.
This clip cleverly takes us on a journey. Make sure the linkages are authentic and strong.
Build Your Credibility
In this video the film maker, Jason Russell, uses his own child to introduce a very emotive topic. By using his own child he shows that it is about each one of us and just because we are privileged and white, does not mean that this should ignored. It also shows how committed he is to the cause. Whilst this worked in this situation it has backfired for others in the past. Remember Steve Irwin and baby Bob in the crocodile enclosure?
In this video his son’s participation is authentic, sensitive and real. Find the human aspects of your organisation that help show why you have a right to share this message and represent the cause.
Focus on the Issue or Cause NOT Your Organisation
The thing that makes this clip the most powerful is that the focus is on an issue. The Russell uses the organisation and his own family to help paint the story and they do ask for support, however the power in this campaign lies in the focus on the issue. Many will watch it, share it, talk about it and maybe take action locally, but may not donate, sign the petition or put up a poster. This is the essence of true social change and social media provides a powerful medium to facilitate that change.
The by product is that Invisible Children will receive some support (far more than ever possible without this level publicity and awareness) and if they truly, genuinely want the outcome to be the arrest of Kony, then this is far more likely with them being willing to put that front and centre, over their brand.
Give Direction and Give Hope
This clip is very well scripted. Using direction such as “….in order for this to work, you have to pay attention” makes the viewer alert and builds anticipation. Each step along the way the filmmaker gives clear information, clear instructions and clear motivation to be involved. He builds hop and shows that others have participated, results have happened and now it’s your turn.
Doom and gloom or using fear can compel people to action, however building a picture for a brighter future and demonstrating that the desired outcome is possible, is a far more compelling and as this campaign shows, people want to share hope.
Make it Current
This video uses Facebook Timeline as the platform to tell the story. This is very new technology that many people are still figuring out. It is topical, current and sexy. Many social causes are not sexy. If you can find a way to use new technology or tell your story using creative mediums, you may just be able to bring your cause to front of mind, with audiences you haven’t previously been able to connect with.
Clear Call to Action
Tell people exactly what you want them to do and how to do it. Make it simple and make it shareable. This campaign is genius in the way they do that. Wear the bracelet, enter your number online, geo tag where you put up posters – it is all about the potential to go viral.
The one thing they most want you to do – is share the video – which is free. Always give people a way to participate, even if they can’t donate. You never know who might see your content, shared by someone, who will never donate, volunteer or connect directly with your organisation. That is what viral marketing is all about.
Make it Time Specific
The final powerful element in this campaign is that it is time specific. There is a deadline and this compels people to take immediate action and share it now, rather than something to do later.
Find something in your campaign that has a time limit. Use it to encourage people to share your message now!
Whilst this video is the culmination of 9 years of work, thousands of small actions and a very professional video, you can do this on a smaller scale within your own organisation.
Watch the video once as a human being and then again as a marketer. Second time round, you will be able to see the elements that you can use to attract support for your cause or issue.
What do you find most effective in the video? Will you take action?
NOTE: In the couple of hours it took me to write this blog post, 2.5 million more people watched the video!