Pay It Forward Friday
The NMC recently launched a social media experiment as part of its role in the HP Catalyst Initiative, a community of nearly 100 schools, universities, and NGOs around the globe. The experiment, which we call "Pay It Forward Friday," was aimed at understanding more about the ways information disseminates across social networks to grow communities.
The idea behind the experiment was simple: to provide the “most-connected” members of a community — defined as those with the most Facebook friends — an easy incentive to help expand the community, and to quantify the effect as it happened. To accomplish this, two fans of the HP Catalyst Facebook page were invited to help cultivate the community via posts across their social networks (in Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels) that encouraged people to “Like” the HP Catalyst page. To build motivation, for each “Like” received during their designated “Friday,” a small cash donation would be made to the charity of their choice.
The results were immediate, substantial, and enormously positive. People resonated strongly with the “help us help others” nature of the campaign, and in just two days, the number of people in the community more than doubled — growth of 119%. Even more significant, the conceivable reach of the HP Catalyst page, defined as the friends of our friends, grew from 41,000 to 99,340 — an increase of 149%. These two results together indicate that the growth was primarily people who themselves had large social networks.
Each Pay It Forward Friday campaign lasted 24 hours — the span of a single Friday. In the first installment, Michael Furdyk, co-founder of non-profit TakingITGlobal, leveraged his social networks to produce new likes for the HP Catalyst Facebook page. TakingITGlobal has been instrumental in instilling leadership skills in youth to foster global action. The second Pay It Forward Friday campaign included social connector Janice Reese who "played" on behalf of the Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation — an organization that enables students to receive the education necessary to pursue careers in the document management and graphic communications industries, without financial burden. Partnering with connectors who share a similar passion for improving education helped ensure that the HP Catalyst Facebook page didn’t just garner new fans, but also active participants.
Community members were defined as those who explicitly chose to receive information about the project — the number of Facebook “Likes.” The success of the effort is easily documented. The growth of the HP Catalyst Community — which was greatest among those people with more than 1,000 Facebook friends — is explicitly reflected in the analytics surrounding new Facebook “likes,” which you can see in the detailed metrics below.
*These numbers are the tally of “known” Facebook connections. Due to privacy settings, we were only able to view 60% of the HP Catalyst friends’ pages, so these numbers are conservative estimates of the true reach; the actual numbers are likely to be much as 25% higher.
Watch this space, as interest in Pay it Forward Fridays is high and we definitely plan to run it again!