Archive for June, 2012

How to Use Socia Media for Public Service Announcements

June 25, 2012

Public Service Announcements are an effective and economical means for delivering the message of a not-for-profit organization or a corporate sponsored goodwill message. Also known as a public service ad, PSAs are a type of advertisement featured on television and radio. The difference is that the objective of a standard advertisement for TV or radio is to market a product, but a PSA is intended to change the public interest by drawing attention to an issue, and encouraging a positive action as a result.

Broadcast television and radio have been a traditional way of distributing PSAs primarily because in the past, it was a way for stations to fulfill FCC requirements that a broadcaster operate in “the public interest.”

Now, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more, organizations can get creative and spread their message via social media outlets and expand the audience reach outside of traditional PSA distribution channels.

Here’s a smart photo I came across that was not sponsored by any major animal rights organization, but a small animal rescue non-profit, Ruff Love Rescue.  The message was simple, but powerful.


Please note that this photo was never intended as a social media PSA per se, but it’s a great example of how a little creativity with a powerful message can strike a chord in the social media community and go viral. This photo was actually an advertisement from a magazine in the U.K. but the message is transcontinental.

Statistics do show that Facebook users (where I saw this photo) are more apt to share a photo with large print than any other type of photo or status update.  I saw this photo on my Facebook newsfeed.  It caught my eye and I shared it on my Timeline.  I had at least two shares right off the bat and noticed that of the friends that shared it on their Timeline, they also had two shares each.  Do the math.  It’s effective.  At the time that I’m writing this blog, this photo has had a total of 2578 shares from the Ruff Love Rescue “Fan Page” and only 119 likes.  In Facebook currency though, shares are worth a lot more than likes because that’s how things go viral.  They also use the photo description to link to a dramatic USA Today article on Don’t Think for a Minute that Dogs Can Survive in a Hot Car.

So start thinking about how you can communicate your goodwill message in a powerful way by using this technique on Facebook.  This example was dramatic, but humor is also a very powerful tool for creating a memorable message.  Also, think about ideas that will engage your intended audience to relate to your message.  The photo above evokes emotion among anyone who loves pets, so think in terms of how you will engage your audience to care.

Additionally, notice this organization used a great advertisement that was already created and shared it.  You may need to consult your legal department, but social media does allow you to share a lot of these great assets too.

Finally, be creative, but don’t be commercial.  The social community smells a rat when it comes to an overt advert.

We’ll be addressing how to share your PSAs on Twitter and YouTube in upcoming blog posts.  Until then…

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

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