Friday, April 6th was the 8th Annual Walk to Work Day and GJEL partnered with pedestrian activist group Walk SF to promote the event and bring attention to pedestrian safety throughout the Bay Area.
The goal of the campaign was to not only encourage people to commute on foot, but also get them to share their participation in the event using Facebook and Twitter. On April 6th, we wanted people to update their statuses and post Tweets saying they’d walked to work so friends and followers would learn about the event and Walk SF could raise awareness within the community.
How the Campaign Worked:
We decided to incentivize participation in the event by taking a two pronged approach:
1) We would build the pedestrian safety component directly into the campaign by promising that GJEL would donate $25 (or up to $2000) for each person who took part in Walk to Work Day and talked about it online.
2) We would secure prizes from local businesses and all participants would be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win.
The thought process was that even if a person wasn’t particularly interested in winning prizes, a $25 donation for pedestrian advocacy just from Tweeting or sharing their activity would be a compelling reason to take action.
Walk SF was able to secure two $50 gift cards from Sports Basement as well as some Wellness Packages from San Francisco Acupuncture (valued at $150), and coupons for a free cup of coffee at Peet’s. In order to be eligible to win prizes, all a person had to do was Walk to Work and either Tweet about it using the hashtag #walk2workSF or like the Facebook image showing they’d walked to work on April 6th.
Promoting the Campaign:
Prior to the event, GJEL and Walk SF both promoted the contest with a series of blog posts. Walk SF published a post the Monday prior to the event and GJEL published a separate post the same day. Following those two blog posts, a press release was issued by Walk SF alerting media outlets to the partnership as well as the event.
The press release and blog posts generated media attention from the following news outlets:
- SF Weekly — Walk to Work Tomorrow and Win Prizes
- Examiner (2 stories) — Friday is National Walk to Work Day & Week’s End Walks in San Francisco and Beyond
- Streetsblog — Walk SF Wants to Hear All About Your Walk to Work Day
- SF Appeal — Appealing Events: Walk to Work Friday (And Win!)
- The Bay Citizen – Pedestrian Group Holds Contest for National Walk to Work Day
- As well as on air pieces from two radio stations (KGO & KCBS) and a short news segment on Chinese language TV station
In addition to the media attention, Walk SF hosted a happy hour the night prior to the event. 24 people attended the event, and everyone who came in person to map out their Walk to Work Day routes were given a gift certificate from Peet’s for a free cup of coffee to collect on their way into work the following day.
Participation in the Campaign:
Ultimately, participation in the Walk to Work Day contest was higher than either we or Walk SF anticipated. Our initial goal was to get at least 80 people actively sharing Walk to Work Day on Facebook and Twitter, however, the final number of participants was 235.
Here are some key stats from the campaign:
- 164 unique people tweeted 278 different times using our hashtag
- The campaign also generated 55 new followers on Twitter (an 8% increase)
- Between Thursday, April 5th and Friday, April 6th (Walk to Work Day), 76 new people ‘liked’ the Walk SF Facebook page
- 52 new likes came on April 5th, in anticipation of the photo Walk SF promised to share for all Walk to Work Day participants, and another 24 came on Walk to Work Day itself
- 72 people shared the “I Walked to Work Today” image on Facebook
- Because the photo appeared in numerous feeds across Facebook, Walk SF’s total weekly reach jumped to 12,000
- Additionally, and perhaps most surprisingly, approximately 12% of the people who saw the Walk SF post in their feed on Walk to Work Day made a post about it on their own wall.
While the campaign required a sizable amount of planning upfront, the execution was actually fairly simple. Because pedestrian safety is a cause GJEL feels very strongly about–and has already been supporting–building a cross promotion that coincided with a monetary donation made a lot of sense for both parties.
Instead of simply writing a check to Walk SF, we were able to leverage the donation to increase the organization’s online reach and generate community interest for an important event. Additionally, both Walk SF and GJEL benefitted from press attention they may not have gotten without working together on this promotion.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluehillranch/5856571797/