For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation has made it their mission to promote the well-being of humanity. They pursue their mission by focusing on advancing health, revaluing ecosystems, securing livelihoods, and transforming cities to better withstand today’s emerging global and regional challenges such as disasters.

  • facebook-icon

    190K people reached with one Facebook message

  • reached-icon

    Increased reach by sourcing online influencers

  • thought-leader

    Elevated employees as thought leaders

  • world-icon

    Executed successful three-year campaign with Hootsuite

The Rockefeller Foundation uses social media to influence those with the power and resources to make change happen. The digital media team uses Hootsuite to source and connect with those influencers, but also to champion employees and partners to become industry thought leaders themselves. This enhances the reach and impact of their campaigns, including their three-year 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge

With over 45,000 followers on our main channels, we use social media to promote our employee’s content—helping put many faces behind the brand, and making them industry experts.

Jay Geneske
Director of DigitalThe Rockefeller Foundation

What they did

Humanize the brand through employee advocacy

The Rockefeller Foundation understands that change isn’t achieved alone. To meet its mission, the organization relies on its partners, grantees, influencers, and approximately 200 employees.

Director of Digital, Jay Geneske, made it one of his priorities to leverage the potential influencer-status of their team around the globe. The Rockefeller Foundation developed and implemented a social media strategy that allows employees to collaborate more effectively in the workplace.

By identifying the natural social media champions within the organization, along with key partners outside the organization, Geneske and his team created a social media army to help amplify their mission, raise awareness of campaigns, and reach new audiences.

Strengthen relationships with partners and influencers with social media

The foundation must also easily source and connect with external influencers to meet their mission. Using social features such as Twitter direct messages, they nurture relationships with bloggers, media, and high-profile individuals by pointing them to articles they might find interesting, asking them for their thoughts or input on a topic, and occasionally asking them to share something with their network.

Reach is not the same as influence.

Jay Geneske
Director of DigitalThe Rockefeller Foundation

How they did it

Using internal social media champions to broaden influence

Recognizing the need to first identify social champions within the foundation and build from there, Geneske turned to Hootsuite's listening capabilities. The digital media team created Twitter lists of all employees and key partners on social media, and used keyword streams to listen and identify those that were naturally social. After discovering each employee’s area of interest and expertise, a content strategy was born.

Social media champions are empowered with training and advice on who they should connect with and over which topics. The digital media team now has a core group of social media rockstars.

There is great power in one-to-one social media communication.

Jay Geneske
Director of DigitalThe Rockefeller Foundation

To collaborate, secure, and streamline their communications, they rely on Hootsuite workflow. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation confidently encourages employee contributors to share their expertise and thought leadership content online. In return, the organization has more support to amplify content and engage with their community.

Finding online influencers to help spread brand awareness

To find the most influential external users, Geneske’s team listens to industry conversations with lists, keyword search streams, and streams for social profiles. Once they’ve located them, the foundation can communicate directly on key channels and track the ever-changing interests of bloggers, press, and influencers.

The results

Using social media to influence the influencers

With internal teams and social media champions in place to amplify campaigns, The Rockefeller Foundation can leverage social media to further stretch their influence.

Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation in December 2013, the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) three-year campaign empowers a network of 100 cities around the world to learn from each other and better address today’s increasing natural and manmade challenges associated with urbanization.

The digital media strategy of the campaign includes a comprehensive social component, with one core tenet revolving around the hashtags #resilientcities and #MyCityNeeds. Adding a social aspect to the campaign drives brand engagement and traffic, which encourages more people to participate, and attracts more brand awareness for potential partnerships.

Within the first five months of setting up the tools to listen, amplify, and engage with their audience, the foundation used Hootsuite Analytics to track:

  • Over 3,000 mentions of #resilientcities on Twitter
  • Share of voice of 10-20%
  • Over 7,000 measurable Twitter referrals

While the foundation measures success based on how many people engage with the campaign, they’re also interested in influence score. Measuring this requires a more nuanced approach, as many influencers who are informing policy or business decisions don’t have a large social media following. Rockefeller’s solution is a combination of tools including Klout, Twitter lists, and hashtag searches. For example, after an influential mayor tweeted one of their campaign hashtags, the foundation jumped on the opportunity and turned the policy maker into a brand champion.

When it comes to measuring influence, social media impressions aren’t enough. Because influencers don’t necessarily have a large following, it’s not the quantity of engagement, but the quality of those we engage with.

Jay Geneske
Director of DigitalThe Rockefeller Foundation
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