As part of our reporting on the recent Social Media Marketing World Conference in San Diego, we’ve been interviewing fellow attendees to discuss their social media programs and learn from each other. We spoke with Heritage Christian Services’ Marketta Bakke, associate director of communications and syndicated columnist, and Samantha DeMart, manager of communications and advancement, about their social media work in Part One of this interview. In Part Two, we focus on one of their most successful recent social media campaigns.
To recap, HCS, based in New York state, supports thousands of children and adults with disabilities, provides high quality child care and offers services to help keep seniors in their homes.
QUESTION: Can you give us an example of one of your most successful social media campaigns?
Samantha: Our most successful social media campaign recently was a really cool video that one of our designers hand-animated to help spread the word about a statewide campaign that was going on.
The minimum wage for restaurant workers is going to go up to $15 in New York state. People are going to be able to make $15 flipping hamburgers while people who work direct support level for us, serving people with developmental disabilities, start out at $11 an hour.
It’s much more physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding to do this kind of work than to flip a burger. In response, people say, “OK, just pay them more.” Well, the only way that we can pay them more is if we get more money from Medicaid.
The New York state government, our governor, when he was putting together his budget was not going to give money for us to pay our direct support professionals any more.
As a result, there was a statewide campaign by different groups of providers who do what we do called “Be Fair to Direct Care.”
QUESTION: When was this happening and what did you do?
Marketta: The campaign ran in February 2017, when the budget amendments were happening.
Samantha: One of our designers, Jessica Goosey, did this awesome video. Here’s the link on Facebook to the video. We saw so much engagement. Not just people liking, loving, and whatever, but people commenting, people sharing, and people viewing.
Marketta: We did wind up boosting it after it had been going for about a day. We’d had some other videos that might have more reach, but I feel like this was the piece that people actually started asking questions about and we had a real conversation around. The reason that was so successful is we did some brainstorming in our meeting and we really tried to broaden our thinking.
We don’t want to just reach the same people, the people who already know about us. What we want are the people in that next ring. In order to reach them, we’ve got to connect with them and help them understand why they should care.
We started to think about what is it that we can agree on with that next ring of people. What is it emotionally that we can connect with them on?
We felt like the message that was true to everyone was that old saying, “If you have an honest day’s work you should get an honest day’s pay.” That’s really the underlying message that we went with because we thought that’s the one people could really relate to.
One of the lines in the video toward the end is that, essentially, “Mary’s effort isn’t minimal and her pay shouldn’t be minimal.” I feel like that really helped people understand.
Samantha: We had 10,000 views which is huge for us and 226 shares of the video.
Marketta: Along with that, we also had 2 jpegs, photos of our employees, with a call to action and those also ran within a couple of days. It was to try to get people to write letters to the governor, to send emails, and to make phone calls. That ran in conjunction so I would say that the campaign was even more successful than just the numbers you’re seeing on the video.
QUESTION: Where do you see the future of social media going?
Samantha: It’s hard for me to even hazard a guess, because I feel like it just changes every day all the time. I feel for sure Facebook is not going away, but it’s so interesting to see how it’s changing, and how it’s really becoming about many older audiences.
Younger people aren’t necessarily on Facebook anymore, which is interesting. Instagram for sure, and Snapchat. I understand the allure of Snapchat because people are by nature narcissistic and want to take pictures of themselves doing things and share it with others. That’s what works there.
One of the greatest values that I have found is that as marketers, we need to look at social media through the lens of people using it personally.
The people that we’re trying to talk to are people…Looking at it through the lens of how people use it in their personal lives, and then figuring out how to make that easily transferable to their professional lives.
It’s about us figuring out how to seamlessly integrate into people’s lives and, frankly, not annoy them, offer things that are valuable to them, that they can use and that makes them want to engage.
Marketta: I don’t think people understand how to draw stories out of people, and how to find that information that they need. When we think of social media, we think of social and we forget the media part. If we could bring in more of a journalist approach to pieces of that, it could be really valuable. What is newsworthy? What draws people to stories, and how to get those stories from people? How to listen and watch for that I think could be really beneficial for how we all practice social media.