More than 10,000 FedEx volunteers work to improve communities in upward of 400 cities across the globe every year. From building a soccer field in an impoverished Madrid neighborhood to collecting marine debris along the Miami coastline, weaving together our volunteer efforts into a singular message proved to be a difficult – yet rewarding – task. After much research, we learned a simple human truth: people trust people more than brands. So we decided to tell our story through the lens of our best brand ambassadors, our team members and the charitable organizations they support.Using #FedExCares as an internal rallying cry, slowly but surely, event by event, we aimed to transform our once splintered volunteerism stories into a united message that resonated with both our team members and our external audience. What we didn't expect to gain was an improved team member engagement that made our volunteers and trusted non-profit partners feel a part of something bigger than our corporation.
Knowing that the success of the campaign rested on stories from our team members and the organizations they were helping, we needed to accomplish two things: we had to give them the tools they needed to become comfortable sharing the FedEx Cares message on their social channels, and make posting from events easy and appealing. We decided to approach this from an outside-in perspective, working with seasoned FedEx Cares team members and charitable organizations to generate ideas while keeping the volunteer experience top of mind. What better way to grab the attention of our event participants than by asking them to perform tasks that they already enjoy, like sharing photos and videos of themselves doing good in the community?
Each FedEx Cares volunteer coordinator received a social media toolkit prior to their event. These toolkits included a dry-erase selfie board that encouraged team members to write why they volunteer and proudly share photos with the board on their social media channels. This simple task was contagious – after one volunteer snapped a photo, a domino effect occurred. We began seeing social posts pop up from thousands of our team members on their social media channels, all sharing a common theme: #FedExCares, which integrated citizenship stories from near and far.
To help team members become more comfortable sharing about the company on their personal social profiles, we included a social media "how-to" poster in the toolkit as well. These posters explained how to create the ideal social post in three easy steps, beginning with tips and tricks for capturing great visuals and ending with how to use the appropriate hashtag. Posters were displayed in highly visible locations around the event area.
Our social media team met with the social coordinators from grantee organizations to encourage them to share photos from each FedEx Cares event. These posts helped tell the citizenship story from a credible third-party perspective, and they were often shared by the FedEx social media profiles. Because of the authenticity, the grantees' posts often had the highest engagement and sparked positive sentiment toward the brand.
Posts generated with the #FedExCares messaging was included in a Storify story, which was shared with team members to provide a look at the greater conversation about our global initiatives.
We quickly realized that by enabling our FedEx Cares volunteers to tell the citizenship story on their own channels, we had created an opportunity for all these audiences to share the citizenship stories to their friends, families and followers. We created and launched a social media advocacy program, which created a site that provided new, social-ready posts for team members to share with their networks, including FedEx Cares messaging from around the world.
Lastly, our audience is highly engaged with our sponsorship messaging, so we crafted campaigns that resonated with people who are passionate about both sports and philanthropy. These messages, often in conjunction with teams and athletes, have continued to perform exceptionally.
The results were unprecedented – we quadrupled the social conversations about FedEx Cares year over year, with more than 3,500 stories shared globally during 2015. What was even more astounding, we received very little negativity from our audience and saw an overwhelming influx of positive content mentioning the brand.
As a social team, we measure our success largely based on engagement rate. The strategy of integrating sponsorship messaging and citizenship messaging has driven a much higher engagement rate on our channels. Enabling third-party influencers and organizations to tell the FedEx citizenship story on their own platforms has created millions of additional impressions that we could not have garnered otherwise.
As we move into 2016, our team members are posting about their #FedExCares experiences unprompted and without hesitation. The 2015 social media enablement campaign helped instill confidence among our volunteers when sharing their experiences in the community on their social media profiles. Because of this, our social citizenship strategy has ignited a grassroots effort to genuinely showcase how FedEx helps positively impact the world, the environment and our communities.