Out on a bike ride last Saturday night, I was frankly appalled by the condition of the National Mall. There was trash, everywhere. Granted, it was a windy night, and a large portion of the litter I saw surrounding the monuments probably flew out of trash bins. However, it’s really not the wind that is the problem. According to the National Park Service, three to four tons of trash are collected and removed from the National Mall every day. During special occasions, like the present National Cherry Blossom Festival, this amount is even greater. With a little over one week remaining in this year’s festival, I figured it is the perfect time to launch an anti-litter social media campaign, the details of which I will outline below.
Message: Don’t litter (on the National Mall)
Audience: This campaign will be targeted at the more than one million people (mainly tourists) who visit the National Mall during the annual, two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival. Instead of trying to target likely visitors before the festival starts, my strategy will be to utilize social media to target visitors once they have already arrived. To do this, I will rely on paid targeting, and I will specifically seek out people who have:
- “Checked in” to Washington, D.C. or the National Cherry Blossom Festival on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
- Tagged the National Mall as their location on recent posts
- Publicly identified the Washington Metropolitan Area as their place of residence or one of its colleges and universities as their current school
Goals: This campaign will have two primary goals
- Increase awareness of the problem of litter on the National Mall
- Recruit people to participate in a National Mall clean-up on the last day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Objectives: For each goal, there will be a measurable and quantifiable objective
- Goal one: Reach 20,000 Facebook likes and 10,000 Twitter and Instagram followers
- Goal two: Get 1,000 people “interested” in the clean-up event on Facebook and at least 250 people to actually attend
Platforms: Three social media platforms will be utilized in this campaign
- Facebook: Will serve as the online home for this campaign. Visitors to the National Cherry Blossom Festival are diverse in age and come from many states and countries. This makes the cross-generational appeal and global spread of Facebook particularly advantageous. In addition, Facebook offers powerful ad targeting and is great for event pages, both of which are necessary to accomplish the goals of this campaign.
- Twitter: Will be used primarily to solicit the support of opinion leaders. For this campaign, those would include political figures like D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, local environmental groups like D.C. Environmental Network and national organizations such as the National Park Service. Leveraging the online followings of these individuals and groups can increase the spread of this campaign message and promote larger turnout at the clean-up.
- Instagram: Will capitalize on the strong visuals associated with this campaign and utilize the power of images to demonstrate the importance of this issue. On the one hand, trash is dirty and ugly. On the other, the monuments and the cherry blossoms are beautiful and worth preserving. Images can best tell this story.
Note: All posts will be geotagged with the location, The National Mall.
This campaign will do more than simply spread awareness about the issue of litter on the Mall. It will engage social media users by inviting them to a public clean-up on the final day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There will be a Facebook page for this event and it will be promoted on all three social media platforms (see sample Twitter post above).
The Facebook event page will look like this:
Here is a closer look at the Facebook event cover photo. It could also be posted as a stand-alone photo on other platforms (resized as needed) to promote the event.
In total, this campaign will combine visually engaging content with informed use of social media platforms and highly specific audience targeting to inform as many people as possible about the litter problem on the National Mall and compel them to take action.