Faith in humanity has been bolstered through social media. Beginning on May 23, 2014, the anonymous Twitter account @HiddenCash has dedicated him or herself to helping people find envelopes with cash inside (generally between $80 and $100) throughout San Francisco. The mystery benefactor (now revealed to be real estate investor Jason Buzi) posts a picture of a specific place or explains where to find the envelopes. This is how philanthropic adult version of an Easter egg hunt began.
More significant than delivering money, hope and playfulness, @HiddenCash helped us understanding the ins and outs on how to use social media to get your audience actively involved in your cause marketing campaign.
Cause marketing is the term for an initiative by a for-profit or not-for-profit company or brand to raise awareness, money, and/or consumer engagement in a social or environmental issue.
Let’s look at the facts. In less than 10 days:
- The Twitter account accrued more than 440,000 followers
- The conversation about #HiddenCash spread from California to the entire United States. Soon after, it reached around the world.
- @HiddenCash succeeded in driving its social media audience to a true social experience
How did @HiddenCash succeed in calling to action a brand new and enthusiastic audience through a social media strategy? How can this forward movement of goodwill be translated to commercial success for companies?
We have broken it down into a straightforward, 3-step strategy.
1. Attract awareness and pique readers’ curiosity by posting a picture or a Tweet announcing an upcoming event.
Stuffing birds. Bring the choppers, bring your kids, bring your friends to the beach 2mrw. This will be FUN. 11 AM. pic.twitter.com/bNFiRavqrQ
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 31, 2014
2. Set the guidelines of participation: followers must state the time the $ was acquired as well as hashtag tweet or directly link to the @hiddencash account.
Tonight’s drops: First clue: Sounds like where a robin or eagle might keep their money. 7 PMish…
— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 29, 2014
3. Over time, the @HiddenCash account gains attention through the publicity on its Twitter page and reinforces the good behavior with strong, positive image.
— Kacey Montoya (@kaceymontoya) June 1, 2014
— Terry Johns (@terryjay01) June 1, 2014
@HiddenCash Your generosity & good will have brought out the best in people~ thank you. Hope you’re enjoying this as much as the rest of us!
— Linda Bisaillon (@LBisaillon) June 2, 2014
From Zero to Superhero
@HiddenCash succeeded in reaching a very wide, receptive and enthusiastic audience by understanding its needs. In fact, it seems tailored for non-profit efforts: there are no implementation costs and unlimited possibilities of segmenting people within your advocacy-driven audience. By tying a positive emotional altruistic experience to your brand, the audience will be more receptive to supporting your organization. For Education or culture? Replace money with books and museum tickets. For Ecology? Give people seeds and make them dig to find trash that they will replace with the seeds. And so on, and so forth. As soon as the strategy is well-formed and effective, the campaign will thrive virally. We can see this on our ForSight platform which helps us analyze how the keywords surrounding “Hidden Cash,” evolving from May 23 to May 31, 2014.
In a matter of a few hours, @HiddenCash became a viral sensation. We see this trend via our ForSight platform that we used to analyze how the keywords surrounding “Hidden Cash” evolved from May 23 to May 31, 2014..
The post volume rocketed by more than 898% since May 23. The audience grew bigger and bigger by retweeting pictures, hints, by using the hashtag #HiddenCash and the account name @HiddenCash:
More than analyzing the volume, substance is the essence. Thanks to Topic Waves, it is possible to automatically understand how people perceive this event with ForSight.
As a matter of fact, the events that @HiddenCash organizes are not particularly motivated by money, as it only valued third in terms of importance to the conversation. Firstly, participating is an exciting experience. Secondly, this is “about love” more than “about money”. And people clearly agree: 83% of the relevant conversation is about lauding @HiddenCash, while the remaining 17% mostly complain about not having found the envelope or about the disorder within the city that @HiddenCash created.
These events have been so well perceived that the audience spread from state specific to a global scale. Thanks to the demographics analytics, we may analyze how the conversation evolved, where and why. In the two following cases, graphics has been studied from May 23 to May 24, from May 23 to May 26 and from May 23 to May 31, 2014:
The dissemination of the conversation throughout the US and the world has been facilitated by the creation of other regional or national “HiddenCash” accounts. Whether you live in Texas (@HiddenCashTexas), in New York (@HiddenCash_NYC), in the UK (@HiddenCash_UK) or anywhere else, you will be able to find someone who has been inspired by the @hiddencash account and who decided to deliver goodwill and positive energy to his Twitter followers.
— Hidden Cash (@hiddencash_UK) June 1, 2014
— Hidden cash (@HiddencashChi) June 2, 2014
— Mai (@Maaikeijpelaar) May 30, 2014
What could be learned from the @HiddenCash experience?
Using ForSight, we can analyze the real impact of the campaign and gain a better understanding on where this style of marketing is successful, how the campaign evolved in the social media landscape, and how it travels across the world organically. Studying this success story will inspire companies and can be held up as a standard to how to create enthusiasm, driving a social media experience with goodwill and create actionable grassroots campaigns. It’s important to remember: Don’t take for granted that what the scavenger provides. It’s not about the money, but the hope and the love it spreads to people everywhere.