The American Heart Association Harnesses the Power of Social Media Through Tint’s Innovative Display

The American Heart Association Harnesses the Power of Social Media Through Tint’s Innovative Display

The American Heart Association (AHA) hardly wants for recognition. Founded in 1924, the national nonprofit is the leading organization behind building better lives through scientific research and education in cardiovascular health and stroke prevention. They’ve grown into fundraising gurus, always looking for the next innovative way to increase awareness and increase funds. On a national level, The American Heart Association is a household name, but what about the individual chapters? This is a story of how the little ol’ Kansas City AHA branch thought out of the box and utilized Tint’s services to create an impactful social media display hub that led to not only reaching donation goal but caused their Heart & Stroke Walk to trend on Twitter for hours during the event. They harnessed the power of social media to reach their goals and surpass their expectations of how fruitful the digital world could be when brought to life.

Ciara O’Brien Murray, Communications Director of Kansas City and the Social Media Lead for the AHA’s Midwest Affiliate in Overland Park, saw an opportunity to stoke enthusiasm and draw donations by putting social media front and center at the 2014 Kansas City Heart & Stroke Walk. “I wanted to do something different and cool to make a statement,” recalls Murray.

Murray’s first steps to success began barely three weeks before the May 31 event during a monthly social media conference call with other AHA affiliates. Relating the success she’d had with a live Twitter feed at a previous fundraising event, Murray mentioned her hopes to raise the bar for the Heart Walk. “I realized a Twitter feed wasn’t going to be enough, but I wasn’t sure we had the means to go any further with a larger, wide-reaching campaign. That’s when somebody piped up that our national office had been working with Tint. My first thought was, ‘Huh? Lint? Mint? What’s that?’”

A follow-up with AHA headquarters in Dallas provided clarification. Tint is a visual tool to tell an organization’s social story. Through their interface, Tint is able to collect and curate social impact through hashtags, geotags and social feeds and display them beautifully on a website, or on screens at an event. A few days later, Murray contacted Tint directly and was off and walking…er…running. “All of a sudden I had this great social media platform that could integrate Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Tint was everything I wanted.”…and more!

Well, almost. Murray still needed a dynamic backdrop to display the social media posts aggregated by Tint. Angie Galindo, AHA’s Executive Director, went to their sponsor JE Dunn Construction to see if they could build a large Tribute Wall. Je Dunn Construction kindly introduced her to Dimensional Innovations, a high-tech architectural firm located in Shawnee Mission, Kansas who wanted to take the social hub design to the “next level”. The firm offered to create a three-dimensional live social media center for the Heart Walk to make their Tint feed come to life. The social hub was made a reality by Dimensional Innovations generous contribution and their immense dedication to the Kansas City community. AHA is grateful for their support and is excited to continue working with the firm for future events

But what of the social media content itself? Knowing there would be a lot of eyes on her efforts, Murray shot for the stars. “Our national headquarters had picked three cities to pilot the use of Tint for the AHA. I promised to knock one out of the park. Tint gave us the license to do it, and we were off.”

Tint enabled any Heart Walk participant with a smart phone to post to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram throughout the five-hour event. By employing the dedicated hashtag #KCHeartWalk, Heart Walk participants were able to see their Tweets, messages and imagery pop up onscreen at the social media center. “People would post and then snap a selfie with their Tweet on the Tint wall in the background,” Murray recalls. “The social media center became a photo-op stop!”

 Photos for Case Study

There was much in the way of positive results to report as well:

  • #KCHeartWalk trended in Kansas City for 9 hours on the day of the Heart Walk
  • Over the 2nd and 3rd hours of the Walk, #KCHeartWalk ranked No. 2 and No. 1 in Kansas City, respectively
  • More than 260,000 people received #KCHeartWalk messaging during operating hours for the live social media center. According to Twitter, potentially 400,000 people were reached.
  • Almost 900 posts were made during the #KCHeartWalk live social media feed, including more than 600 from Twitter alone
  • There were 70 new Twitter followers and 40 new Facebook likes during the event

Meanwhile, the 2014 Kansas City Heart & Stroke Walk brought in over $850,000.

Looking back – and forward – Murray sees many benefits for the use of Tint by the nonprofit sector. Noting that her own last-minute rush limited results for the May 31st event, she believes there is potential for great integration with Tint for fundraising, particularly “if every picture on the Tint wall had said, ‘Donate Now!’ and directed people to our fundraising page (like tintup.com/kcheartwalk)!” She also thinks Tint could be used to provide company-specific hashtags, setting up friendly competition between sponsors or departments within the same company. “We’re very excited to try something like that in 2015.” The social media success at this year’s Heart Walk set the Kansas City branch up as a leader. Tint will also be powering the New York City Heart Walk on June 18th and many more AHA events throughout the year.