Making a positive change within your community can be as satisfying emotionally as it is impactful for society. To that end, a school supply drive lets you help students in need and create an environment of care and learning.
However, it is only possible to have a successful school supply drive if a large group of people is contributing towards it. And the only way that will happen is if as many people as possible know that it’s happening in the first place.
This is why promoting your school supply drive is arguably the most important aspect of organizing one. You want to make sure that you get the word out, and that you get as many people involved in your project as possible.
Social media is the ideal place to market your school supply drive. It has a great reach, and it allows everyone to participate in whatever big or small way they can.
So let’s dive into some note-worthy strategies for promoting your school supply drive on social media.
1. Get a hashtag trending
Raise awareness on social media about your cause by getting as many people involved in it as possible by creating hype around your event.
The best way to ensure your page and topic of interest shows up on relevant explore pages is to start a hashtag. Your hashtag should be something catchy yet somber enough for your cause. It should encapsulate what your event stands for in no more than a few words.
Disney and the Make-A-Wish foundation did just this with #ShareYourEars. They got the community involved to trend the hashtag, by asking people to post pictures of themselves in Mickey Mouse ears with the hashtag as a caption. For every picture uploaded, Disney donated $5 to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
This campaign was one of the biggest of its time. Because it was for a noble cause, millions of people participated. And as word got around, the hashtag gained traction on social media and was able to spearhead one of the most successful hashtag campaigns ever.
Create location specific variations for your hashtag as well to get people from your own community involved. Your end goal should be to trend locally. If that happens, you’ll automatically get more attention than you would through any other means.
2. Put up posters
Share posters and flyers on your social media. These should have all relevant information about your drive, which people can read and share.
Schedule your posts according to when you think they will generate the most traffic. According to a study by Hootsuite, these are the best times to post on different platforms:
- Facebook: Tuesdays and Thursdays – between 8 am and 12 pm
- Instagram: Wednesdays – 11 am
- Twitter: Mondays and Thursdays – 8 am
You might be thinking creating posters from scratch is a daunting task. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. Sites like PosterMyWall have tons of cool school poster templates that you can customize and resize according to your needs. It’s easy and saves you the added cost of a professional graphic designer.
3. Make a Facebook event
A lot of people might be inclined to flock towards Instagram rather than Facebook to do their marketing. But people underestimate the value of Facebook’s event feature. This is a popular one because of how effective it is.
A lot of users have Facebook connected to the calendars on their smartphones. This means that if they select “going” or “interested” for an event, they will get reminders about it well before time so that they’re less likely to miss out on your event.
As a promoter, you can take advantage of this by creating a Facebook event for your school supply drive. Add an option for people to type in their email addresses when they sign up so that you can send email updates and reminders to them as well.
On the event page, talk about what the drive is about, its significance, and any other relevant information that you think people should know.
Share pictures on the event page
Use your event page to share pictures of past school supply drives. This way people who sign up will get a better idea of what to expect. Include pictures related to the planning and organizing of the drive and how the drive benefitted the children it was arranged for.
If this is your first drive and you have no content to share, show people how their contribution and participation will make a difference in other ways. This includes sharing pictures and video testimonials of the students you’re aiming to help.
Talk to school administrators and get them to share how new supplies will benefit their school. See if there are student jobs that will become accessible to students if they get the supplies they need.
You should also share pictures as posts and stories on Instagram. If you don’t have a budget big enough to get a special video made, simply record your content on a phone and use any free online website to edit and compile it. For instance, Animoto allows you to make high-quality videos quickly and easily.
4. Resize your content for Instagram and TikTok
TikTok’s reach currently spans over more than 150 countries. And with over 1 billion active users, this platform is one of the most important when it comes to digital marketing.
Similarly, Instagram has more than a billion active users, and remains the most relevant photo sharing app on the planet.
For these reasons, it is crucial that your presence on both these platforms is prominent. Who knows, maybe you’ll find all your contributors and volunteers here.
As a small establishment, managing multiple social media accounts might seem like a daunting task. But really, all you need to do is resize and edit existing content a little bit to make it more Instagram and TikTok friendly.
For TikTok, convert your videos into smaller, bite sized clips and add captions. Use hashtags to trend. And make sure to interact with similar accounts to increase your reach. You may also share pictures as a collage set to inspirational music. End all your videos with an appeal to donate to your school supply drive. And add a time, date, and address to your captions.
For Instagram, simply post regular photos and videos to your grid, and share them routinely to your stories. This content will include posters, infographics, videos of past events, testimonials, and anything else you can think of. Create event-based highlights to make it easy for anyone visiting your page to follow details about your drive.
5. Reach out to local influencers
Increase your reach online by partnering up with local influencers who have hundreds of thousands of followers. One post by an influencer has the potential to increase interest in your school supply drive dramatically.
Getting influencers on board can be tricky, especially if they’re not too keen on getting back to you. But the process to go about doing this is practically foolproof.
First, you should start by making a spreadsheet of all the influencers in your area. Sort them by their number of followers and the work that they do. This should give you an idea of who you can benefit most from and also who will be more likely to respond to you. Add their relevant contact details.
Once you have your list, start contacting them one by one. For business inquiries, influencers mostly prefer email so that should be your primary mode of communication. If you’re really impatient, you may send them a brief follow-up message on their Instagram account letting them know that you’ve emailed them.
Start your influencer search well before time so that you have plenty of opportunities to follow up with them after the first email. About three days after the first email, contact each influencer again if they haven’t responded.
Send them a shorter, more concise email and stress on the urgency of the situation. Make sure your email has some sort of incentive for the influencer (the easiest to arrange is social media clout, particularly related to community service).
Send your third email to those who haven’t responded another three days later. By this time, if you have your desired influencers on board, you don’t need to reach out to those who haven’t gotten back to you.
With a local influencer on board, you are automatically in a much better position to market your drive successfully. Strike a deal with them and get them to then promote your drive to their followers, urging them to contribute in any way they can.
Influencers can be a great way to boost your message. When Rescue, a company that offers natural remedies for stress relief, wanted to promote its products, it partnered up with local influencers online. These people shared their experiences with stress and recommended Rescue as a solution.
Therefore, these influencers were able to add a more personal touch to marketing, while increasing Rescue’s reach tenfold. If done right, your influencer marketing efforts should yield similar results.
Promoting on social media is a foolproof strategy for any event. But with a community service event, you have the added advantage of emotional appeal based marketing that you should take full advantage of.
Remember, each social media platform is unique and so each of these strategies will have to be tweaked slightly depending on which platform you’re applying them on.
The main idea with all of these tips is to raise awareness and get people interested. So whether you’re getting a hashtag trending or sharing unique visual content to appeal to people’s emotions, remember that high engagement should be your top priority.