When the government announces new funding for a children’s charity there is usually a news release, a press conference and a photo opportunity of some description. The media will break the story. The political opposition will provide a critical soundbite. Spin doctors will provide colour and context. This is how it’s done, right?
Nope, not anymore. Not if you want to engage the Millennial and Gen Z audience, especially in the run up to a national election.
Instead you use smart social media tactics that put your funding announcement front and centre with your target demographic at the exact moment they are focused on the issue…say at huge charity musical festival featuring some of today’s biggest global stars and celebrities.
On Sunday in South Africa some of the world’s top music acts, including Ed Sheeran, Jay-Z, Beyonce and Usher, entertained a crowd of almost 100,000 people at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, a charity concert hosted by Daily Show Host Trevor Noah.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to announce that Canada would give $50 million to a global charity for children’s education.
“Hey @Trevornoah – thanks for everything you’re doing to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy at the @GlblCtzn festival. Sorry I can’t be with you – but how about Canada pledges $50M to @EduCannotWait to support education for women & girls around the world? Work for you? Let’s do it!”
Noah thought it was ‘amazing’ news and showed the tweet on the big screen at the concert. The crowd cheered. And then the crowd (mostly Millennials & Gen Z) liked and shared it. Within moments, the news was shared with tens of millions of people via Twitter and other social networks.
The tweet got about 6,000 @replies and RTs. And, as one might expect, a lot of the Twitter commentary was critical of both the announcement and its mode.
Canada’s mainstream media picked up on this angle and gave it massive coverage. But focusing on the backlash misses the point.
On the surface the negative commentary looks bad. But, if you look at all the related social media data and weigh the massive reach and hundreds of thousands of positive gestures against the few negative ones, it’s clear this tweet is a success.
Today’s savvy digital consumers are in control. They choose the stories they want and when, how and in what format. To be relevant, we must leave old ways of communicating behind and embrace new paradigms.
Trudeau’s tweet did just that.
I was asked to comment on this story by the CTV National News. Here’s a link to the story.