postheadericon Can Celebrities Raise Awareness Through Social Media Campaigns?

We use social media on a daily basis for means of communication and sharing our thoughts, feelings, and happenings; but another good way to use social media  is by spreading a positive global message. Recently for World Aids Day numerous celebrities did that exact thing. In hopes of bringing awareness to the global aids crisis, celebrities like Alicia Keys, Ryan Seacrest, Kim Kardashian, Lady GaGa and so many more took a vow of social media silence, in an effort to raise funds for the “Keep a Child Alive” organization. They promised not to reappear to their social networking accounts until the goal of $1 million was reached.

Alicia Keys co-founded the ‘Keep a Child Alive” charity and orchestrated the marketing campaign in an effort to bring awareness to the impact of aids in the world and our children while focusing on getting treatment and care to patients. In an effort to draw attention to the campaign, she assembled a team of A-List Hollywood elites to begin their “digital death” on World Aids Day and even released controversial promo pictures of the stars posing in coffins symbolizing their “digital death” in hopes of raising awareness and money for the cause. They encouraged their fans to buy back their favorite celeb’s digital life by making a donation via text.

I, for one, thought this was a pretty good social marketing strategy considering the influence these celebrities have on their fans and even general public opinion. It was a creative approach to reaching the public and persuading them to donate money to the charity, especially since fans look forward to reading real time tweets and status updates from their favorite artist or entertainer regularly. I know I do. So why did such a cool and creative campaign fail at getting their donations within their goal time frame?

Unfortunately there was still something missing to boost the campaign’s momentum because it has been looked at as a failure. Although they raised the $1 million goal, it didn’t come easy or as fast as everyone predicted.  The target goal was expected to be achieved within a day or two but after five days and only $300,000 donated, there was worry.  Finally, billionaire and philanthropist Stewart Rahr matched the public’s fundraised donation of $500 thousand which helped the organization reach its $1 million mark.

There has been debate about what exactly caused the campaign to fail; it’s been speculated that the initial minimum donation amount of $10 may have been too high for fans which prompted the amount to be reduced down to $1. Another theory is that instead of taking a vow of digital silence, they should have talked more informatively about the cause and donated some of their own money to generate their goal by their 1-2 day deadline.

Regardless of how long it took, the purpose of the campaign was to digitally raise their goal of $1 million in an effort to continue aiding those who are infected with the aids virus and they accomplished just that. The effort was very commendable and I’m sure a great learning experience for Ms. Keys and the Keep a Child Alive charity.

I guess the questions isn’t so much, “Can celebrities raise awareness through social media” but the real question is “How”? What do you think about the “Digital Death” campaign? What could celebrities have done differently with social media to raise more money in a shorter span of time?

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