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AOL Uses Social Media Analytics To Drive Support For TOMS #WithoutShoes Campaign

TOMS Partners With AOL For #withoutshoes Campaign

Rather than using social media metrics as an afterthought to evaluate the efficacy of a campaign, AOL recently used them to drive participation in a TOMS Shoes campaign by setting a shared goal, and then publicly tracking progress against that goal.

On April 10 , TOMS Shoes asked people to participate in its annual “One Day Without Shoes” campaign, which is designed to show the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life.  The campaign used social media to encourage supporters to amplify the message and share their experiences using the #withoutshoes hashtag.  AOL signed on to help create online buzz before the event, and AOL made social media analytics the centerpiece of its efforts to motivate fans to create more buzz.

AOL asked consumers to help distribute the #withoutshoes messages to over 1 million people before the actual “One Day” event on April 10th.  AOL then reported the messages ‘reach’ on each day of the campaign to keep supporters energized and show them the results of their efforts.

Based on data provided by analytics firm Simply Measured, the campaign achieved a potential reach of 30 million — with AOL being a significant and consistent driver of about 15% of that activity.

According to the AOL blog, the campaign’s initial goal was set at an even more modest 100,000, which AOL adjusted to 1 million after reaching that initial goal in less than 18 hours.

In order to reach its more ambitious goal, AOL used its various media assets to offer a range of ways for people to get involved in the campaign–and then encouraged supporters to share their support online.  For instance, About.me encouraged members to change their profile page in support of the campaign, MapQuest advertised the campaign at the top of its maps, and the AOL mail sign in page was donated to advertise the campaign.  Every call to action had a strong social component to make sharing easier.

Throughout the campaign, AOL used realtime social media analytics to track and adjust its efforts–and to keep supporters updated and motivated.  As AOL Social Media Director Matthew Knell told Simply Measured, “AOL was able to measure the real-time potential audience for our social campaign activity…  [This] allowed us to understand how our message was being spread and to optimize our tactics.”

In this case analytics helped not only to measure the campaign’s success, but also to drive consumers to support the hashtag by rallying them around a common goal: reaching as many potential supporters as possible.

Have you considered using realtime analytics to drive consumer participation in a campaign?

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