A week ago, I had the great chance to speak at an event hosted by Ireland's Safefood, an organization "responsible for the promotion of food safety on the island of Ireland." They brought together social marketers from the region to share about their experiences working in social media. Folks from Bord Bia, Ireland's Food board and the Irish Blood Transfusion Service all shared some interesting cases.
Safefood is humble about what they have accomplished themselves in social media. They organized this event to accelerate sharing towards everyone's benefit. Just that step - hosting a sharing conference - shows an innovative spirit and commitment (disclosure: safefood works with Ogilvy in Ireland) Despite their humility, Safefood has one of the best Facebook integrations I have seen from any marketer not just the social media community.
Weigh2Live could be described as a typical social marketing health campaign. Its got the clever name and the ambition to help the population help themselves towards better eating habits and weight management.
How they integrate with the social Web
When you visit the safefood organization site, the first two things I notice are:
- clear navigation based upon whether I am a consumer, educator or professional
- great cross promotion into their various social networks including
- Facebook - engaging consumers via Weigh2Live program
- Twitter - an organizational handle for all relevant news
- Linkedin - a prioneering use of the "Companies" function to connect people with the people at safefood
- Ning - access to a private network
Safefood also maintains a blog on their main url. Here's how the author, who is a great guy, introduces himself: "My name is Dermot Moriarty and I live with my beautiful wife and two boys in Dublin. During the day, I work in the communications team at safefood and count myself very lucky to enjoy what I do, working with great colleagues in Dublin and Cork...." Here's a great post to give you a flavor - "Social media and our food."
Most organizations would then create an informational Website to ensure they did their duty of delivering the correct, approved information for consumers to seek out. Most government organizations for years assumed their job was to offer the information on their own Web site. Knowing that most have not embraced sophisticated SEO programs, that means they expect consumers to seek their Web site out from all the other health, wellness and food sources out on the Web.
Not safefood. They went to Facebook.
The Weigh2Live program comes to life in three ways on Facebook. Smartly, they set it up that once you are registered in the program, you never have to leave Facebook to interact with it. They have also kept the program, itself simple and I believe, credible. Rather than join the diet fad race which requires some innovation to draw weight plan fanatics convinced there is some model out there that allows them to eat what they ought not to and still lose weight, safefood offers the basics - information, simple tools and a way to get support form others.
Facebook Tracker: They have essentially pulled all of the tools from the microsite into a Facebook tab. I can maintain a dead simple food diary, activities and my weight goals - all within the page. Most importantly, I can post to a private wall that only select friends can see. We often joke about "death to the campaign microsite." Microsites have a purpose. That is largely to serve as a billboard for a program and provide good Google juice (good search results). But today, we bring the interaction into the social networks themselves. For a typical campaign, I would spend less than 15-20% of my non-media budget on a microsite and all the design effort would go towards SEO performance and a solid brand presence.
Your Friend's Support Group: I can select from my Facebook friends which will have access to my Weigh2Live posts. This relieved my first concern - that facebook users would not want to share weight-related updates with the same crowd that sees their daily wall updates. This is a great strategy for any sensitive issue. It allows people to form their own support group from their friends. That has some campaign advantages later should you want to target some supporting engagement ads to drive acquisition and participation (see Facebook's "learned targeting")
Community Discussions: The weakest part of the program so far is the just launched discussions. I have yet to see a great Facebook marketing page with a vibrant use of the discussion tab. safefood has launched specific discussions for about 9 different groups including conversations dedicated to women, politicians and even bloggers. For now, these remain largely empty although they did just launch. Vibrant discussions are the hardest to catalyze. It may make more sense to find the one conversation that people are dying to have and help make that happen or grow vs. launching nine.
A Great Integration
Safefood is a small, scrappy public organization. They may be humble about what they have accomplished but they have done a lot of things right:
1. they activated Weigh2Live fully within Facebook making it possible for people to take advantage of the program without leaving their social network of choice
2. they combined utility with the unique community aspects of Facebook to create real value for participants (this is no Facebook "bolt-on")
3. they are innovating and trying solutions not planning for months the perfect plan (which is never perfect)
4. they are letting their personality come through. Their willingness to be seen and heard via their blog and LInkedIn pages is a fantastic way to let the people and their passion shine through