We look at some of the most impactful social media campaigns of 2021 and explore why they’ve harnessed such a strong reaction
Wednesday 30 June 2021 is World Social Media Day. At the beginning of 2021, as yet another lockdown came into force in England, social media managers across the charity sector were still in crisis mode.
Many were beginning to wonder if they would ever stop waking up in the middle of the night panicking that their scheduled content might appear to be tone deaf when published.
World Social Media Day is an opportunity to celebrate the best charity social media content and the hard-worked teams who create and curate it.
Here are five examples of campaigns and posts that have made a big impact in 2021 so far.
In March 2021, Sarah Everard was attacked and killed, sparking outrage from women across the UK who shared stories of being harrassed, intimidated, and feeling unsafe in public spaces.
Every year since 2015 on International Women’s Day, Jess Phillips MP has taken the floor in parliament to read out the names of women killed by men in the UK over the preceding year. The list she uses comes from the @countingdeadwomen Twitter account, managed by Nia Chief Executive, Karen Ingala-Smith.
The account tweets every time a UK woman is killed by a man or a man is the primary suspect. In the past decade, more than nine out of ten killers (of male or female victims) were men. The real-world moment that this account inspires is powerful. MPs have been listening to the names of dead women for seven years, but perhaps in 2021 they started to hear them.
According to the Ofcom ‘Online Nation 2021’ report, a whopping 97% of people with internet access in the UK use social video services. Greenpeace UK tapped into this massive potential to reach large audiences in May 2021 with their ‘Wasteminister’ video, as seen below.
The charity released tonnes of used plastic bottles on the heads of UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Minister for the Cabinet, Michael Gove in Downing Street (OK, they’re mannequins, but the video will make you do a double-take).
The video shows the actual amount of plastic waste that the government claims is being recycled, but is actually being dumped overseas, polluting water systems and destroying habitats.
As a mostly visual medium, it’s really noticeable on social media when something is missing from an image or graphic. Ahead of Father’s Day, Prostate Cancer UK partnered with pizza chain, Papa Johns, to produce a creative with the word ‘Papa’ missing.
More than 9,000 men die from prostate cancer each year and this campaign taps into the poignant moment in grief when you expect someone to be there, but are confronted by the reality of their absence.
This idea was also used really effectively by One Minute Briefs – a community of people responding to daily ‘one minute briefs’ for creative content. On World Wildlife Day in 2020, a response to a one-minute brief prompted a number of brands, including charities like WWF, to remove the animals from their logos to represent extinction.
Standout social media content is often simple but timely and created to resonate strongly with your charity’s audience. A great example of this came from Teenage Cancer Trust in May 2021.
As most of England saw an easing in COVID-19 restrictions, social media buzzed with talk of hugs and a summer of fun. Teenage Cancer Trust posted a graphic of a pop-up reminder stating, “not everyone’s a hugger.”
The caption reminded followers that young people with cancer may not feel comfortable with hugging as they remain at higher risk from COVID-19. A brilliant demonstration of audience-first thinking and creating content with empathy.
Through periods of lockdown and restricted movement, there has been something even more attention-grabbing and even nostalgic about the physical world. Scribbled messages of hope or humour on coffee shop boards have inspired more in us than they did pre-pandemic.
That’s one of the reasons why the British Red Cross ‘This is human kind’ campaign has been so effective on social media. A mural by the talented and celebrated artist Yinka Ilori MBE was painted in London’s Shoreditch and appeared on the charity’s social media in June 2021 with the simple message “Everyone has kindness in their soul”.
The campaign, as seen on Facebook, celebrates the millions of acts of human kindness that have sustained communities through the pandemic and provided virtual togetherness.