Social media has taken over our lives – it has become the new place to ‘hang out’. We can chat to friends who are across the globe and it also allows us to get recommendations from friends about which products and services to use. It is this latter point that has become a new marketing feeding ground that has been coined as crowdsourcing. Jeff Howe from Wired magazine defines it as “delegating a task to a large diffuse group, usually without substantial monetary compensation”.
This generally happens on social media all the time without tangible compensation. If I want a recommendation or help I generally post the info on Facebook or Twitter and hope that I can get trustworthy and good advice from my friends and their network. This can be applied to charity as well.
Many people are willing to donate time and money, they want to do their bit for humanity however; they also want to make sure it’s worth while – that the money isn’t going to land up in the hands of a criminal. People generally trust word of mouth and when looking for somewhere to give or donate I am going to trust my friend and not a random site on Google.
Twitter has become great for this because not only can we get a real time response from our friends but we can also see real time evidence of the work charities are doing by following their tweets.
Celebrity endorsements also give charities credibility and with social media celebrities have a have greater audience to talk to and of course, a greater influence. Lady Gaga currently has ± 7 million followers, that’s a lot of influence to say the least.
Its no wonder that she, Alicia and her husband Swizz Beatz, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan Seacrest, Elijah Wood, Serena Williams and Justin Timberlake will be using Twitter to support Keep a Child Alive, however they wont be using the social media platform in the traditional way – all of these celebrities with over a million followers will abstain from the social network and not return till $1 million has been raised for the charity.
Well, this seems to be a brilliant twist on the conventional word of mouth tradition, and I’m pretty sure that the money will be raised in no time. It does make me wonder; to be a successful charity is it mandatory to have a celebrity endorsement? Are they selling their souls to the highest bidder or ‘coolest’ cause of the week? Or am I just being cynical and they’re the type of people to just do things out of the goodness of their heart? What do you think?