Finding and Building Your Cause-Driven Community

Finding and Building Your Cause-Driven Community

Step One in Cause Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship

So you have a cause you want to bring awareness to. Perhaps you even have a solution, either as a work dedicated to the public good, or a social entrepreneurial venture. Either way, to promote adoption, you need to spark or tap into a social movement. In other words, you need to find or create a community of concerned people.


You have content to share, now you need an audience.

[SOURCE] © Kristian Mollenborg, according to Creative Commons License, use with attribution.

Recent movements such as flash mobs and the Occupy movement have shown the amazing power of social media to help people find and organize communities and movements. Facebook is an awesome way to organize your close contacts and be referred along their networks of friends. Twitter, however, excels beyond any other social media channel in terms of letting you connect with totally new people with shared interests.


Building Your Cause-Driven Community via Twitter

Cause-driven people often have lots to say! We can tell tons of stories and generate moving content. Many of us are not so good at the public relations work needed to develop an audience to hear our stories.

Creating an audience via Twitter is very doable even when you aren’t already famous. It also takes a lot of work. I find content-oriented people, including myself, want to focus on developing the best content, not doing the tedious manual tasks of fostering and generating a social media audience. However, we still want that audience. Tweeting to thousands of people is way more fun, interesting, and powerful than tweeting to a couple of hundred.



Tweeting with a large flock is much more fun and impactful.

[SOURCE] © Pete Klosterman, used according to Creative Commons License, use with attribution.


Engaging a Cause-Driven Community Without Having to Build It

So what do you do when you have so many other things besides trying to build a social media audience? You could hire social media marketers or consultants – that’s how bigger companies solve this problem. But what if your budget is tight? That’s the case for most independent bloggers, small non-profits, and social entrepreneurial startups.

This was the dilemma faced by the team at vTricity as they were preparing to bring awareness to their social entrepreneurial solutions. They wanted to build their social media community of concerned-citizens, but had even more important things to do such as finishing code and working with early testers. So, they took a design-thinking view of what it took to build an audience on Twitter and as a result created SoapBox.

So what benefits might you see if you try out SoapBox to help you build your cause-driven community? As the first customer of SoapBox, here is my experience. In 3 months, SoapBox has found me over 2000 followers, more than doubling my total followers to over 4000. It’s also transformed my audience. Whereas before my followers were primarily technologists interested in IT, most of my new followers are cause-driven people interested in making the world a better place.

Everyone deserves to be heard if they have something to say. I encourage you to try out SoapBox yourself. You can meet your first 25 new connections for free, and you don’t even have to enter a credit card. Be sure to greet your new followers. You’ll see they are real people interested in causes, and they chose to follow you. All they needed was an introduction to you.


The Latest Pew Research Study of Social Media Usage– What the Pundits Aren’t Talking About

All weekend different bloggers have been buzzing about recently published results from Pew Research about social media usage in the US.  Mostly this is to support their own views such asPinterist is the next cool thing or dumping Facebook is the new hip thing to do.

What I’m really surprised about is that nobody pointed out these observations:

SNS on mobile phones_2012
[SOURCE:  © Pew Internet & American Life Project, used with permission]

40% of American mobile phones owners use social network on their phone, note that this includes half of users aged 30 to 49, and more than 2/3 of users aged 18 to 29.



[SOURCE:  © Pew Internet & American Life Project, used with permission]

This percentage closely matches smartphone ownership, which measure at 46% of all US adults and more than half of total mobile phone ownership, according to a different survey also from Pew. Since owning a smartphone is the prerequisite technology to really use social media on a mobile device, clearly the vast majority of smartphone owners engage in social media on their devices.

SNS_age_over time_late 2012

[SOURCE:  © Pew Internet & American Life Project, used with permission]

Despite an increasing “eligible” population of smart mobile phone users, note that overall usage of social media has dropped from a peak of 69% of all Internet users, and that this drop is mirrored in all age groups except those aged 30 to 49.

This makes me ask the following questions:

  • Does this suggest that social media, in general, is simply a waning fad?
  • Are the services’ attempts at monetizing deteriorating their user experience enough that we are simply turning them off?
  • Is this just the echo of hipsters jumping off since the mainstream has caught up?
  • Are we seeing the statistical impact of moral boycotting of those decrying social media services bait and switch privacy policies?

If you are reading this blog, it suggests that you, like me, are part of those left behind in social media land. What do you make of this data?