Social media has transformed the ways that we learn about and take up global causes. Communications INC is a London-based communications agency that works with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help promote their missions and campaigns, and the firm often relies on social media activism to help bolster awareness of their clients.
“At the moment, the majority of our client work is currently focused on ocean conservation and ocean issues,” says Brittney Francis, account manager and social media manager at Communications INC. “The campaigns that we work on are attempting to drive political agenda to push through policy at the national and even international level, so they often have very specific timelines. User-generated content [UGC] is becoming even more crucial, as people need to direct their voice somewhere.”
Francis and the Communications INC team have turned to TINT to help aggregate UGC around efforts to protect our ocean. This customer case study takes a deep dive into Communications INC’s story by examining their UGC challenges and how TINT has helped power their UGC campaigns.
While digital marketing efforts are important to the agency, Communications INC is not necessarily a digital-first company. In fact, many of their efforts use strategic communications and traditional marketing methods, such as creating communications strategies, engaging with media, organizing conferences and producing policy papers. These long-established efforts are mainly a function of whom they are trying to reach: government officials and policy makers.
“Many of our campaigns are focused on pushing policy or legislation through at a political level,” Francis offers. “Politicians and people making these broad policy changes are still very tied to sort of traditional forms of communication and engagement.”
However, she quickly points out the power of digital marketing and UGC from social media platforms are an important aspect of Communications INC’s work and the support they provide to their partners. Francis believes that now more than ever environmental issues are at the forefront of the public’s concerns. People are seeking out ways to become advocates and activists, and social media is one channel through which to voice their concerns.
And Francis says that coordinated online conversation is pivotal in helping direct policy changes.
“Our NGO partners may be in a closed-door meeting room discussing policy—in fact, many United Nations negotiations are not open to the public—but having a UGC campaign is one way for the public to have a voice and to show their support for a cause,” Francis says. “We can aggregate this UGC and give it to our clients to show the policy makers there are clearly people on the outside holding them accountable. That level of engagement I think is really powerful.”
In the world of oceanic conservation and protection, there are a number of NGOs around the globe trying to further their own specific cause or issue. OneOcean, an unbranded collective trying to achieve the maximum positive impact for the ocean by the end of 2020, turned to TINT to help with promoting the #oneoceanoneplanet hashtag as a rallying cry for ocean conservation.
“We’ve been asking other NGOs concentrating on oceanic issues to use #oneoceanoneplanet in their campaigns along their own branded hashtags as a way to connect them to this wider initiative and global call to action on 4 key principles of ocean protection,” Francis says. “That's one of the risks, specifically in the conservation and ocean communities—it can get quite siloed. By NGOs incorporating this hashtag into their campaign, it shows not only the diversity of issues that people are calling for, but also that we all have a common goal for ocean protections.”
This call to arms has been received quite favorably—Francis noted that throughout the month of November in 2019, the #oneoceanoneplanet hashtag had more than 25 million impressions. And #Love30x30, another client’s hashtag that launched in mid-November, saw roughly 20 million impressions by the month’s end!
The wide adoption of the hashtag results in a challenge around aggregating, analyzing and presenting the data in a consumable format for the general public and policy makers.
To solve the problem, Francis and the team turned to TINT.
Communications INC sets up a variety of rules around the different hashtags they want to monitor, such as #oneoceanoneplanet and #Love30x30. The TINT platform can then easily bring in the UGC and presents it in an easy-to-consume format for the Communications INC team to select and repurpose for their campaigns.
Better yet, as the Communications INC team makes their selections, the TINT platform quickly figures out what type of content the team prefers. Through TINT’s machine learning technology, the TINT platform can then prioritize and build a unique profile based on the content preferences, helping to streamline the process.
For even greater impact, TINT provides a web gallery function that makes it easy for Francis and her team to display the content in a “TINT wall.” She believes this is key to motivating users to post social media updates with the hashtags—users and NGOs adopting the hashtags get a sense of empowerment when they see their messages on the official organization’s site, alongside key influencers to a cause.
“TINT helps to showcase that the work that you’re doing is part of a bigger picture,” believes Francis. “It's one thing to post using a hashtag search to see what other people are doing. It's another thing when you can display it in a visual manner on the organization’s website. This really makes an individual feel like they’re part of a movement.”
And being part of the movement is not just for digital-only social media campaigns: it can also translate well into the physical world.
This past year, the Communications INC team was brought on to do work with Bloomberg Philanthropies for the Our Ocean conference, an event in conjunction with the Norwegian government. Francis and her team were brought in by the conference to help monitor and aggregate messages around the hashtag #OurOcean, a digital campaign that corresponds with the physical event.
Thanks to the TINT platform, Francis was confident her team could handle the work. And handle it they did, helping aggregate and analyze over 190 million impressions of the #OurOean hashtag.
When it comes to managing UGC campaigns, Francis couldn’t imagine using a platform other than TINT. One of the things that she likes most is how TINT can take on the brand look of each client’s website. She also likes how easy the tool is to use.
“Many user-generated content tools can be quite clunky—TINT is incredibly accessible,” Francis says. “I’ve been using TINT for so long, and I’ve seen the platform evolve. And every time, it gets better.”
But the greatest power may be in how it makes UGC on social media accessible for NGOs that are putting in the work to make our planet a better place.
“We sometimes work with really small NGOs, where often there isn’t the capacity to have an internal social team,” estimates Francis. “And even though it matters, they just don't have a lot of time to spend on aggregating and formatting UGC. But with TINT, they can quickly see what advocates are saying and showcase that content on their website in a visually pleasing manner. That has a lot of value in amplifying their work and cause.”
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