In our increasingly connected world, companies have an opportunity to truly make an impact and be a force for good. Engagement marketing isn’t just about convincing customers to buy your company’s products and services—it’s about listening to what your customers are talking about and being a part of the conversation, whether it’s directly related to your product or not. Marketing, in essence, is about building solid relationships. When making connections is central to what you do, you can’t be a fair-weather friend. You have to be there in good times and in bad. If facilitating connections is at the center of your social networking platform, it’s imperative to be active in important conversations, especially when they have global impact.
Meaningful engagement is exactly what Facebook has accomplished with its initiatives surrounding the recent earthquake in Nepal. Facebook quickly responded to the earthquake by activating Safety Check, a feature launched in October 2014 that allows survivors of large scale disasters to inform family and friends of their safety. The system sent users in the area an alert encouraging them to submit their safety status. More than seven million people, equaling 25% of the country’s population, utilized the feature. That is a huge statistic showing the power of social media in modern times. Disasters can make us feel helpless, but the ability to access real-time accurate information about those we love can provide some comfort and reassurance.
Understanding Your Customers
In addition to the Safety Check feature, Facebook placed a donation button at the top of the page, which, in just two days, raised more than $10 million for victims. Facebook also inserted real-time updates into its News Feed as events unfolded, allowing everyone near and far to stay informed.
All of these initiatives came as a response to how Facebook saw people using technology and social media in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Facebook paid attention to the way people used its platform to connect with others and to find out how they could get involved in relief causes. With the launch of Safety Check and the addition of the donation button, Facebook made these processes quicker and more effective. Millions of Nepalese and their loved ones were able to feel connected and hopeful. And, Facebook knew it could leverage its 1 billion+ user base to garner substantial contributions for disaster relief.
The Future of Marketing
Facebook is a platform that connects people. It helps friends and family keep in touch, whether they live in the same town or on different continents. But more than just a social networking site, Facebook is a company that is making an impact on the global landscape. Being a responsible corporation is speaking up about the issues that face the world and stepping up to make a difference. Other companies can take a page from Facebook’s book and use their unique perspectives and capabilities to make an impact.
Thinking about the larger global picture is part of the future of marketing. When Jim Stengel, former Global Chief Marketing Officer of Proctor and Gamble, sat down with the Economist Intelligence Unit to talk about the next era of marketing, he noted how companies that address their ambitious purpose will achieve greater growth in the long-run. It’s up to marketing departments to help their companies articulate and define this purpose.
We are all connected now. When an earthquake happens, we can quickly assess the well-being of our friends, and we can even join the relief cause. Following in Facebook’s footsteps, companies, no matter how big or small, should think about what they can do to contribute to larger global efforts. Every little bit counts.
What has your company done to make a difference? Please share in the comments below.