The Secret Ingredient to a Successful Social Media Campaign
Global Citizen Policy Director Michael Sheldrick speaks at TedX in Perth, Australia.
For the past 6 years and more, I’ve dedicated the vast majority of my time to helping to build the Global Citizen movement. This has been grueling and painstaking, with many highs and lows along the way. In the process, I’ve moved to the other side of the world, from Australia to America, met countless politicians, helped produce more than eight major live music events and have been inspired by some of the most determined, passionate, and courageous activists, some famous but most are just unsung heroes making a world of difference in their communities.
When I was invited to give this TEDx talk in October in my home town of Perth, I was asked to outline the ingredients I considered most essential to making a social media campaign impactful. The thoughts I offer may sound basic, but therein lies the point. Reflecting on the activists we’ve collaborated with and the campaigns we’ve run, I found that social media is a just tool, a medium, a platform. And what made a campaign effective two decades ago, or even 200 years ago, is just as true today.
Ultimately, campaigns that truly move audiences and create change are those inspired by simple ideas and powerful, genuine stories. When amplified and channelled in the right direction through thousands of tweets, phone calls, and petitions, these ideas and stories really can change the world.
It is one of these stories of a friend, David Goldstone, who I’ve written about previously, who first really inspired me to persevere when working on one of our first and ultimately successful campaigns alongside Rotary International to raise funds for polio eradication. The stories of others, like Aristarick Joseph in Tanzania, keep me motivated when the going gets tough; those times being more numerous than you might think as inevitably we tend to promote our successes more than our failures on social media (on that note, check out how we failed to seal the deal six times this year.)
I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve so far, but as one of our co-founders, Wei Soo, likes to remind me, “Our work is only just beginning.”
It has been an incredible adventure and I am indebted forever to our cofounders, Wei, Hugh and Simon, for including me in this journey at such a young age, both for me and the organization. Hopefully, if nothing else, this TEDx talk will demonstrate why, even after all these years, I’ve never been more excited by the potential of this movement to bring about systemic change in the world.