Group 1 from G2 here! 🙂 We are going to share with you our social media strategy for our selected organization – SPCA.
Introduction of SPCA
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was created in the 1800s with the objective of preventing animal abuse and to promote kindness to animals. They provide various animal welfare services to the community such as the 24-hour emergency animal rescue, foster care for young animals and educating of youths in schools. SPCA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) so they rely on donations from the public to continue their role as an animal protector in Singapore.
SPCA’s Current Problems
To further analyze SPCA’s current situation, we conducted an interview with the Deputy Executive Director, Selina Sebastian to find out the current problems that SPCA is currently facing. Some of the issues include overcrowding, insufficient reserves, lack of transparency and underutilization of social media.
Based on the above internal and external analyses of SPCA, the research question is: How might SPCA improve its social media presence in order to establish favorable, long-term relationships with its target stakeholders to increase monetary donations?
Critical Analysis of Social Media Strategy
To get an idea of SPCA’s social media engagement, Synthesio was used to search for mentions from 19 September 2016 to 28 September 2017 to maximize the coverage we could analyze. The search returned 2351 results, of which 823 were available for public viewing. From our results, we can see that the biggest share of voice is found on Facebook at 41.98%. This corroborates with the pattern in social media following across SPCA’s social media platforms. It is, however, interesting to note forums such as Hardwarezone had a substantial share of voice of 22.81% in the documented period. Through observation of the forum postings, people mention SPCA most often in discussions on animal abuse or abandonment.
Based on observations on SPCA’s social media it is posited that the biggest pitfall of SPCA’s current social media practices is the existence of cross-posting without consideration for the medium. This has resulted in a waste of resources as SPCA manages a multitude of social media platforms which largely lack engagement with its stakeholders. According to McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message, any medium will introduce a new scale to issues. The various social media platforms were rolled out with the intent to serve different purposes, and thus it would be inefficient and ineffective to not tailor-make content for better interactions online. For example, Twitter is designed as a platform to share short messages in less than 140 characters. SPCA’s Twitter profile, however, automatically shares its Facebook posts instead. The lack of brevity in SPCA’s tweets defies the purpose of Twitter, especially when content is duplicated across platforms. It is thus little wonder that SPCA’s tweets garner on average no more than 6 interactions per tweet.
It is also observed that SPCA does not engage in two-way communication, only responding to queries and apologizing for poor customer service in comments and reviews. As a non-profit organization, it is imperative for SPCA to build rapport with its stakeholders, to ensure continued support and increase funding for its operations. As Deputy Executive Director Selina Sebastian puts it, people are more receptive to giving to an organization when they see the good work that has been done. This means that SPCA needs to increase its social media engagement by inviting its followers to participate in meaningful conversations so as to truly understand what they value and view as ‘good work’.
Due to their limited budget available for communication efforts, SPCA embraces the free internet channels to share its good work. In the face of scarce resources, it is hence critical for the organization to improve its social media strategies and presence in order to be able to achieve its goal of building up fund reserves.
Main Goal and Objectives for SPCA
Our main goal is to help SPCA to increase monetary donations from individuals. This is because SPCA’s financial reserves currently stand at a single year’s operating costs, instead of the recommended 3 years. Despite that, SPCA does not actively seek individual donations on social media. Additionally, it is easier for SPCA to reach out to corporates for large donations. As such, it is key for SPCA to ramp up efforts in attracting individual donors to contribute to the financial resources needed to help the animals under its care. It is also proposed that the individual donations received will be allocated to the animals while corporate donations are used for the organization’s sustenance instead in order to increase individuals’ willingness to donate.
Therefore, we proposed three main objectives for our recommended strategies for SPCA.
1) To increase monetary donations from individuals by 8% that approximates to $28,2402
2) To increase SPCA’s favorability in the public’s eye to increase the sustainability of donations
3) To increase followers by 5,000 on Facebook and 4,000 on Instagram.
Our target audience is Singaporean individuals between 25 to 44 years old and are animal lovers. According to the Digital Influence Lab, Singaporeans between the ages of 25 to 34 are the most active social media users in Singapore with the rate of 96%. However, we are also considering Singaporeans between the ages of 35 to 44 as they have the second highest active social media users rate of 93%. Moreover, according to the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), the latter age group produces the highest donation rate of 85% than other age groups. Additionally, our primary target audiences have to be animal lovers as they are more likely to empathize animals and in turn, are more willing to change their donation behaviors and attitudes.
Target Audience Framework
Recommended strategies and tactics
- Let’s SPCA (Save, Protect, Cherish Animals)
Let’s SPCA is a peer-to-peer campaign movement that aims to increase SPCA’s social media followers by increasing awareness of SPCA’s mission to stop animal cruelty. Such movements have proven to be effective in garnering public attention. It is envisioned that the potential virility of such a campaign can be leveraged upon to spread a positive framing of SPCA to those unfamiliar with the organization.
Let’s SPCA requires individuals to take a picture with their pets and/or hold a sign that says “I am against animal cruelty” or “I say no to animal cruelty,” as illustrated below. This picture would then be posted to their Instagram or Facebook with the caption “Let’s SPCA” and “Join the against-animal-cruelty community on SPCA’s facebook”. The captions allow the public to recognize SPCA’s involvement in the campaign and increase web traffic to its Facebook page. To spread the campaign, participants will have to tag three friends to participate and join the community. If more people mention or tag SPCA, it makes their account more accessible to the public.
Let’s SPCA will first collaborate with animal-loving local celebrities and influencers in Singapore for the campaign to gain hype online. This is because according to the Social Network Theory, celebrities have high centrality to help this campaign to reach out to more people. A suggested celebrity to kick off the campaign would be Desmond Tan, who is recognized as a strong animal advocate, as seen from his co-initiated campaign for deserted animals called “Blue Socks”. Secondly, marketing efforts by SPCA are needed to spread awareness of this campaign amongst their followers as well. Additionally, the time frame for this campaign is the entire six months to maximize participation from the target audience in ‘Segment 1’.
- BeLive in SPCA
BeLive in SPCA intends to increase interactivity between the organisation and Segment 2 to increase inclination to donate. It also combats slacktivism – the use of small actions online to show support for causes by making the simple action of sending gifts through BeLive a tangible effort in supporting animal welfare.
Live streaming was identified as a suitable platform as it has risen to be a global phenomenon over the past 2 years, accounting for 66% of online traffic (Mortensen, 2016). In recent months, live streaming has evolved to allow the sending of virtual gifts that can be converted into real currency. The live streaming industry has since become highly profitable, raking in billions annually. In Singapore, companies such as BeLive have jumped on the bandwagon to provide their own platform for local online personalities to interact with their fans. Therefore, this could be an opportunity for SPCA to engage its followers and subtly put forth the donation appeal with original content that shows how donations will be used for the welfare of the animals.
In collaboration with BeLive Singapore, SPCA will hold fortnightly live streams where viewers will be able to send donations in the form of virtual gifts. The live stream campaign will start off by tasking the hosts to complete a series of activities which will only be considered complete if the specified number of virtual gifts is reached. A benchmark for the desired hosts would once again be Desmond Tan. SPCA will also send a representative of its organization to host the stream together with the personality to remind viewers that the streams are an SPCA initiative. Ideally, the representative should be engaging and a familiar spokesperson of SPCA, such as Suresh Sundramurthi. In subsequent installments, donations from the previous streams will be used to purchase items such as food and shampoo for the animals of SPCA in an effort to increase transparency of fund use.
- Purrfect Friend
Purrfect Friend is an online activity that allows the public to “adopt” a pet virtually and offer real-time help. This increases the responsibility and commitment a Purrfect Friend participant feels towards the animals and cause, increasing their motivation to donate. In addition, funds usage is more transparent through this strategy, assuring donors that their contributions will directly impact their selected animal.
Purrfect Friend requires SPCA to create a page on their website and list the top 20 animals that have been at SPCA for more than 2 years. We chose these animals for this pilot initiative because of these animals, according to Sebastian (2017), have a low likelihood of getting adopted. Therefore, we would like to use the donations garnered from this initiative to first help the animals who are in greater need.
On the page, each listed animal will have a meter at the side as illustrated below. The meter shows the current amount of donations an animal receives and should receive each month based on their individual needs. After each month, any leftover donations will be carried over to the following month’s meter to maintain transparency. In addition, each listed animal will have a profile for potential donors to know them better and increase emotional attachment through the use of ethos.
To increase the donors’ engagement with their Purrfect pets, these animals will star in the BeLive streams and weekly videos that will be uploaded onto their profile page. As 6 months is a very short period of time, Purrfect Friend is a pilot initiative for the listed animals and if this campaign is successful after 6 months, more animals will be listed up on the web page.
- Woof Got Mail
“Woof got mail!” is the sending of a personalized Electronic card (E-card) to members of Segment 3 in appreciation of their contributions to SPCA. This is done in line with how people are motivated to donate again after receiving recognition. Since SPCA relies heavily on sustainable donations, a strong and positive relationship with donors is vital. This strategy will hence convey SPCA’s sincere gratitude to each contribution, as any amount goes a long way in helping the animals.
Currently, SPCA’s donation platforms only display a simple thank you message after each transaction. To demonstrate sincerity and appreciation, “Woof got mail!” will allow all donors to receive a personalized E-card via email, which can be retrieved from SPCA’s database. The E-card will be addressed personally to these donors within 1 working day and inform them about how the donations will contribute to SPCA’s operations.
- Woof Got Featured
As an extension of “Woof got mail!”, this strategy leverages on the donors’ desire to feel appreciated for their contributions. For “Woof got featured!”, we also make use of SPCA’s social media to feature their current donors by creating a photo mosaic in a public display of gratitude for their contributions.
“Woof got featured!” requires SPCA to create a photo mosaic that features SPCA’s current donors’ photos on Facebook. The mosaic is created by collating all the individual donors’ photos as seen below. The large share of voice of SPCA’s Facebook page allows for wider reach of this initiative. The many mosaic creating tools online allow SPCA to select one that best suits their needs. For instance, SPCA could use Mosaically, which is a platform to create a mosaic with hundreds of photos with a low cost.
To further increase transparency, the Facebook post can also include the overview of the funds breakdown while directing interested users to SPCA’s annual report for a detailed version. This step is vital for SPCA because transparency is a motivating factor for millennial donors to continue donating.
With a social cause centered around social media platforms, slacktivism might still occur. It could serve as a barrier to the campaign objectives as our target audience might remain unmoved and not get involved with the proposed activities. This will, in turn, prohibit the increase in donations and sustenance in donorship in long term.
Secondly, with many strategies and tactics in place, there is a potential lack of manpower in SPCA. As an NGO, they are faced with limited staff, let alone staff with technological expertise. The execution of certain strategies may prove a challenge. Despite this, Sebastian mentioned that SPCA has numerous volunteers available who consist of well-equipped and highly-expertised technological and communications individuals.
Lastly, having tested only 2 of the 5 tactics through a focus group sharing, we are unable to determine the possible effectiveness of the other tactics due to time-constraint and the lack of reach.
While it’s crucial for non-profit organizations such as SPCA to amass donations for the sustenance of its operations, it is critical to communicate SPCA’s commitment to mitigating animal abuse and abandonment. Through the proposed social media strategies, SPCA will be able to convey this message while simultaneously demonstrating an understanding of donor motivations and desires, aiding in its conquest to establish favorable long-term relationships with its donors.
We hope that the proposed use of less conventional social media platforms can generate conversations about SPCA within the animal-loving community. This will help us to spread SPCA’s work through positive word-of-mouth, and create much-needed hype for the strategies to gain traction. If these strategies prove to be useful within the proposed 6 month implementation period, SPCA could consider the continuation of the campaign and cement its position as a leading advocate against animal cruelty.
If you’ve read on despite the post being so long, give yourself a pat on a back. Thank you for reading. 🙂
Our group will also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Shim and our TA, May, for the past semester of hard work.
All the best for all your finals and may all of you have a great Winter break after this. Take care, everyone!
G2, Group 1 (Daphne, Dora, Lynn, Jiapo and Xin Kai)