In 2012, a piece of legislation was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives that threatened the welfare of an already disadvantaged group. This bill was developed and supported by an extremely influential lobbying group and, if passed, would continue to perpetuate a global health epidemic. This issue brought together a coalition of advocates from across the country who rallied together to uncover and reveal the true intentions behind this bill and protect the interests of those who would be most negatively affected. In their quest to form the most comprehensive coalition, they reached out to Terakeet to assist with the digital portion of the initiative. Terakeet’s digital advocacy team was quick to respond.
Prior to engaging Terakeet, the coalition had reached less than 10% of the directly affected market, the scope of which we identified through our proprietary software. The opposition, although not completely centralized, had swayed large national media sources, which continued to print pro-legislation materials throughout the country. Understanding the reach of these national news outlets, we knew the only way to counter this level of influence was through a quality digital outreach campaign. In addition to our end goal of defeating the legislation, we wanted to create an online resource that would be a central hub for victims and their loved ones to obtain information and support. Since the bill’s scope affected such a niche community, we knew our largest issue would be building awareness to those outside of the immediate scope while mobilizing a key group of influencers within the space. To do this, we needed a comprehensive understanding of what intrinsically motivates these varying communities and an understanding of how that motivation could be harnessed by our campaign. To best effect these goals, we created a digital platform for the coalition along with active social profiles to connect with the key constituents. Our efforts focused primarily around a petition, which would be used by the other members of the coalition offline to present to congressional representatives as evidence of organized and targeted opposition.
The bill’s introduction into the Senate presented the last chance to effectively influence Congress before this piece of legislation became law. We chose to run a campaign scheduled during a highly relevant awareness week. This campaign would highlight issues closely related to the bill, while also focusing on real life victims and their stories to appeal to a broader audience looking to join the cause. To mobilize and effectively target these communities, we utilized Facebook’s ad platform for part of our campaign. We leveraged these ads to call attention to the misleading portions of the bill, asking constituents to call or email their Senators, urging them to vote no. Further, we partnered with other organizations online whose missions aligned with our cause and asked them to help share our petition and call to action. In building these relationships, we relied on our experience in connecting with leaders in these respective spaces, ensuring each connection was mutually beneficial and impactful to our campaign. Understanding not only where these individuals interacted online but also how to mobilize them in a way that benefited their interest in our cause and the mission of the campaign was something we continued to focus on. Through our comprehensive understanding of these niche communities, combined with our proprietary tools, we were able to find and target additional key influencers within these relevant spaces while riding the wave of digital chatter that the awareness week generated.
The campaign was a success. In addition to increasing year over year Pageviews by 65%, the campaign website outranked the text of the bill from Congress’ site in the organic search results for key phrases, proving that Google found our coalition’s site to be most effective in fulfilling these respective queries. The campaign helped the coalition meet a plethora of long term goals, including identifying new advocates to speak out against the legislation, truly allowing us to amplify the voice and concerns of those directly affected. The campaign raised hundreds of signatures in one week, 40% of whom identified as being directly affected by this legislation. These signatures were further represented in quotes and stories presented to Congress as additional offline collateral, adding a name and a face to the hundreds of pages of opposition. Since these target communities were so close-knit, the connections we made with their respective thought leaders helped build authority for our campaign, which was illustrated in the amount of social shares and organic traffic directly tied to their syndication of our content. Most notably, however, our successful utilization of Facebook’s ad platform allowed us to break through the increasingly abysmal organic Facebook reach, which had recently changed its algorithm to the detriment of brands and organizations, dramatically reducing if not eliminating their ability to organically connect with their audience. Prior to the campaign’s start, the Facebook organic traffic averaged at 62.17 views per post in January. Coinciding with our awareness week, our Facebook organic reach skyrocketed to 546.11 views per post on average for the month of April.
But it is May’s results which demonstrate the true value of our coalition’s success, noting an average of 185.51 views per post. While April’s impressive metrics leveled out, our average views per post still remained double the Q1 results, illustrating the campaign’s true sustainability.
*Note the change in y axis
Our coalition became a trusted resource not only in the eyes of Google, but offline as well, with multiple House members citing our organization in floor hearings. Most importantly, however, we became a resource for victims of this legislation who needed answers on how they may be affected and what they could do to proactively join the cause to stop this bill. In refusing to compromise quality for quantity, the campaign now stands as an internal resource for others looking to create an approach that is integrated across multiple digital marketing channels regardless of the vertical. In the early stages of our campaign analysis, we identified a variety of ways to execute our coalition’s goals. The option to target a much broader group of individuals to gain a larger, yet superficial, following was ruled out as we knew the sensitive nature of the issue required the integrity of a genuine advocate base. By utilizing our team’s thorough understanding of the most effective way to connect with these varying niche communities, we were able to focus on a qualitative outreach campaign with quantitative results that would provide sustainable long term value.
“Since the start of our ongoing campaign, Terakeet has done a fantastic job driving web traffic and facilitating the engagement of victims nationwide. They built and continue to maintain a first class digital platform for the campaign that has been used and referenced by Congressional staff, Washington advocacy, the legal community and the media.
Terakeet’s digital strategies have played a tremendous role in the strong unexpected impact this campaign has had on the legislation, which is being backed by many major business entities. Terakeet has made such an impact that we are using them as our digital partner on a number of other major initiatives and ventures.”
-Moses Boyd, Integrated Solutions Group (ISG)