Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Social with the Food Depository

You know, this social media thing might catch on. So, the Food Depository has taken up residence in several of the most popular social networks.

After all, just having a Facebook page and Twitter profile aren't going to cut it anymore. You have to be engaged with your fans and provide them with relevant, useful information that is worth sharing with their own network. The Food Depository has a growing audience in both of these places (8,500 fans and 1,700 followers, respectively), but we cannot rest on our laurels and expect people to flock to us just because we exist in the social space. Competing for the attention of more than 500 million active Facebook users is a daunting task. The average user may have 130 friends, but getting them to share a link or even just like a photo is not always easy. (source: Facebook)

That's why we enlist partners to help spread the word about the Food Depository. We're only just scratching the surface, but already we've run a YouTube cooking demo campaign with Sears and LG, where each view of the video meant 50 cents to us.

Currently, we are in the midst of a "Like" campaign with Menuism, a social network for foodies where you can review restaurants and their dishes; it's also the web's largest aggregator of online restaurant menus. Their campaign is simple: just “like” Menuism on Facebook and they’ll donate $1 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We're now at about $2,000 raised of a possible $5,000.

It’s these types of campaigns that not only share our mission of providing food for hungry people in Cook County, but also they help us raise funds to continue achieving that mission.

We still have the more traditional communication pathways (mail, e-mail, website), but when Facebook claims that more than 30 billion pieces of content (links, blogs, photos, etc.) are shared each month, it’s hard to ignore the power of social media and how it could help share our mission and raise awareness of hunger relief. Even if we are the slightest fraction of that monthly activity, then we—at least this little corner of the Food Depository—are doing our jobs.