By: Haley Martinsen
Social media is crucial for businesses, especially with the escalation of COVID-19 and remote learning, working and selling. As in-person shopping in stores is still restricted, more businesses turn to online marketplaces, which means they will rely on social media campaigns to market to consumers.
We asked Kait Sheridan, a panelist for Fylí’s Active Listening That Leads to Giving Back, about her experience managing social media campaigns. She is an incredibly successful female founder and CEO who currently lives in Hong Kong!
Kait is the Founder & CEO of Runwell Global Consulting with over a decade of experience in social media campaigns and marketing and content development. She was part of the team that founded the global generosity movement GivingTuesday and led marketing and growth strategy for Pledge 1%. Kait has developed a number of award-winning social media campaigns with organizations around the globe, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Foundation, 92nd Street Y, the Ford Motor Company, and more.
1. How did you make the decision to move to Hong Kong & is there anything you miss about the United States?
I moved to Hong Kong for personal reasons. I immediately fell in love with the city and decided to stay and set up my business here. Before Hong Kong I was actually in the UK, and then before that I was in New York.
There are many things I miss about the US–from my family and friends to Trader Joe’s to good Mexican food. That being said, I’ve learned so much from meeting people abroad and those experiences make the homesickness slightly more bearable.
2. What sparked your initial interest in social media campaigns and strategic initiatives?
I was very lucky to stumble into this area at a really exciting time. I had been working for a few years for NGOs in New York, mostly in fundraising and corporate sponsorship. When GivingTuesday started in 2012, these social media movements weren’t really a thing; there was mostly the Kony campaign and that was it. The idea of having a campaign built around a hashtag was fairly new and still very experimental, and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time in GivingTuesday’s early years. I was able to learn from some of the smartest people I know and experience firsthand how simple ideas, when put to the crowd, can have a tremendous impact.
3. If you could identify three main must-have components of developing a social media campaign, what would they be?
One of the great things about social media is that you can be very creative, but what you do always depends on your campaign goal and audience. If I had to pick three, I’d focus on:
- Having a clear goal and tracking system. This will help you stay on target with your messaging, and the analytics will provide you with the insights you need to adjust your approach or reach a specific audience.
- Co-ownership from your community. You don’t want to just share information, but ask your followers to help shape your campaign. This will help get them engaged as early as possible; it will not only help secure their buy in (and their willingness to share with their networks), but it also is a great way to crowdsource ideas!
- Stories. Facts and numbers will only take you so far. What people usually remember (and respond to) are personal stories. There is so much content out there–if you are authentic with your messaging and appeal to people’s emotions, you’ll have a better chance of them pausing on your post engaging with your campaign.
4. Do you have a favorite campaign that you were a part of?
Every campaign is pretty great and unique in its own way! One of my favorites though is #GivingTuesdaySpark. I’m not really directly working on this, but it’s a program within GivingTuesday that was started by kids to inspire other kids to be generous. It’s run by Spark youth ambassadors all around the world who are sharing ideas and getting their friends to give back and do acts of kindness. Some of the most creative ideas come from this group and it’s constantly inspiring to see all they’ve accomplished. It’s also a great example of why these campaigns are so meaningful; with a bit of technology, community engagement, and crowdsourced ideas, you can really have an impact.
5. Can you tell us about some of the challenges of running a global campaign (Giving Tuesday) and how you handled these obstacles?
Time zones! Being based in Hong Kong adds its own challenges, but even if I were in the UK or the US, there would still be activities in every timezone and every country.
As far as handling this obstacle, I haven’t quite mastered that. If anyone has any tips for the power nap please email me. :)
6. What is one piece of advice you’d like to give our community of female entrepreneurs and developing leaders?
Don’t be afraid to experiment. So many of these campaigns are built on tests. You can learn as you go, and if something doesn’t work, that’s OK – you will learn from that experience.
And find amazing mentors. You can learn a lot from other great women and strong leaders.
It’s nice to hear that Kait hasn’t mastered power naps yet either. Her dedication to entrepreneurship and campaigns she is passionate about makes her a great role model for Fylí’s growing community of female entrepreneurs. If there are three things to takeaway from Kait’s interview, it’s the following:
1. Surround yourself with inspiring people and mentors. Women can learn a lot from women in leadership, especially since it is relatively scarce to see in large corporate businesses. Find mentors who can help you along the way! Fylí is a great example of a female master-mind that builds women up with endless support. We are fierce, strong and driven, and want every one of our tribe members to succeed along with us.
2. Mistakes are okay. As Kait said, “Don’t be afraid to experiment… You can learn as you go, and if something doesn’t work, that’s OK – you will learn from that experience.” It’s okay to make mistakes along the way and it’s okay to not have everything figured out at the beginning. Kait didn’t, and look where she ended up! Have passion for what you do and don’t be afraid to experiment with it.
3. When designing a social media campaign, refer to Kait’s must-have steps below:
- Have a clear goal and tracking system to help stay on target with messaging. The analytics will provide insights you need to adjust your approach (remember, don’t be afraid to experiment) or reach a specific audience!
- Co-ownership from your community is important, especially in the beginning. You want to engage your community as soon as possible to secure their buy in, willingness to share with their own communities and can crowdsource ideas this way! When you’re campaigning, you don’t just want to share information, you want to include your community, have them be a part of it and propel them to include their own networks to share the campaign!
- People remember personal stories. Facts and numbers are great, but they only take you so far. Kait says, “there is so much content out there–if you are authentic with your messaging and appeal to people’s emotions, you’ll have a better chance of them pausing on your post engaging with your campaign.”
Visual content makes a big difference when you’re posting on social media and overall content with visuals will get 94% more total views than content without. Take a look at the infographic above for more helpful social media marketing stats.
I encourage you to take away more than social media campaign strategies. Today is December 1st, which means it is annual #GivingTuesday! I encourage everyone to do something small for someone else, whether that’s calling someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile or donating to a charity. Maybe even give Fylí a quick follow on Instagram while you’re at it.
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. It was created in 2012 with the idea of a day that encourages people to do good, whether this was just simply helping a stranger or making someone smile.
Now, GivingTuesday is an independent nonprofit and global movement that encourages millions of people to give. Their mission is to “build a more just and generous world.” Learn more about GivingTuesday here.
About Kait Sheridan
Kait Sheridan, Founder & CEO, Runwell Global Consulting
As founder and CEO of Runwell Global, a boutique international social impact consulting agency,
Kait specializes in helping organizations take big ideas and put them to action. She has over a decade of experience in program management, fundraising, marketing and content development, thought leadership and executive coaching, and social media campaigns, with a focus on developing global impact programs to scale.
She was on the team the founded GivingTuesday, and she currently oversees the global growth and community for the movement. She has also led marketing and growth strategy for Pledge 1%, and has helped coach hundreds of companies–from startups to post-IPO–on their social impact strategy and implementation. She has developed a number of award-winning social media campaigns, leadership programs, and strategic initiatives with organizations around the globe, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Foundation, 92nd Street Y, the Ford Motor Company, and more. Kait currently lives in Hong Kong.
About Fylí’s Master-Mind
Fylí is a female master-mind group that focuses on bringing together female leaders. We are creating a tribe of diverse high level dreamers, thinkers and doers. We help female leaders RISE (Renew, Inspire, Support, Empower) in all aspects of their lives. For more information on how you can join our tribe, visit our website here.
To watch some of our previously recorded sessions, visit our YouTube channel. View our latest below!