Promoting the Cycle Slam via Social Media

One of the features of promoting the 2012 Cycle Slam has been the use of Social Media. It is an area that I have embraced, as much from a personal learning point of view as from a fund raising perspective.

The centre point of my Social Media strategy has been my blog. This has been a big success from my perspective, from the point of view that I have learnt how to use WordPress (and even better it is free online tool) and also, from the feedback received, how to create stories that engage the reader. The stats are that I have had over 400 views (in just over two months), with the posting and promoting of new content very much the catalyst.

I am fan of multi-media content, and so today’s announcement is that I have created my own promotional video for the Cycle Slam.

In two and half minutes it tells the story of why I am doing the Slam set to a motivational soundtrack – a cover to the Coldplay anthem “Paradise”. Had a few technical production issues over-coming record copyright issues, but I got there courtesy of a free download from David Unger Music. Enjoy!

The best ‘new thing’ I have done in the social media world is to join twitter. You can find me @paulweald. I am even ahead of my teenage kids here, much to my son Harry’s surprise. Over 100 tweets in and I am finding it a useful communication tool to push my messages (go read my blog….) and also to connect with other Cycle Slammers. There is a small community now formed of fellow participants on Stage 5 of the Slam where we keep in touch via twitter. And no surprise that a couple of those have already well ahead of their own £3,000 fund raising targets. Well done Andy and Martin!

The other advantage of twitter is that you can hook into other peoples networks. This worked really well with a work related initiative where a client call centre at London Midland tweeted so effectively that one of their customers sponsored me via my online donations page. Very impressive!

I have a split personality with Facebook and Linked In, as I use one for social connections and the other for business ones. Both tools work on the approach of sending out status updates and then targeting individuals with personal messages. I have learnt that this is more effective than plain old email in getting a response! Promotion of the “welcome home” party on the 26th May will rely heavily on Facebook messaging to different social groups – my Thames Valley Triathletes team mates; as well as my gym buddies. The groups function will also be useful to me here as there is a thriving St Crispins facebook community page, where I do all my keep fit stuff.

And I have embraced the multi-media world by getting myself an iPhone. This allows me to keep in touch with my social media communities whilst at work. Yes it can be a distraction, but to have phone, email and social media all available in real time on a single device is a real bonus over my previous methods of working – which relied heavily on accessing my laptop for anything online. Whilst my ‘two fat thumbs’ are not speedy at texting and tweeting, at least I now have the opportunity!

So whilst I wouldn’t say that Social Media has directly generated funds (as at the end of the day you only sponsor people you know and for a cause or challenge that resonates with you), what Social Media has done is allow me to communicate more widely. It has been time consuming, but hopefully will help me produce the fund raising outcome that I have promised to the event organisers (and also toVirgin Media who sponsored my place on the Slam).

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