Using Authentic Social Media for Change

Social Media Authenticity

Companies utilizing social media can be viewed as inauthentic if their posts seem geared towards pushing a product over connecting with customers. Even worse, some companies gaffes were so egregious they were forced to halt social media altogether to escape the vitriol of those with whom they were originally trying to connect.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are companies successfully using social media to exact social change. Consumers are more likely to respond positively to an authentic campaign where profit is not the primary impetus.

Sign The Yearbook

Sign The Yearbook

An image of the yearbook from

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) recently released the “Sign Their Yearbook” initiative, relying on social media to connect with consumers on an emotional level. The yearbook (the brainchild of Volt) implores the public to sign a yearbook dedicated to children that will never have the experience due to death by gun violence. “Signing the yearbook” also doubles as signing a petition to promote universal background check laws. By presenting an actual book with which consumers can engage Volt creates emotional investment surrounding the project. Consumers are not merely signing a petition, but interacting with the memory of the children who the initiative aims to honor.

The Murph Challenge

The Murph Challenge

The website.

Another initiative that effectively uses social media is The Murph Challenge, a set of physical exercises that consumers are challenged to complete in honor of Lt. Michael P Murphy who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Proceeds raised go scholarship funds, and participants are engaged in an online community. The hashtag #murphchallenge allows users to share their experience, augmenting the reach of the initiative.


Ultimately, social media cannot be merely consumer facing, but consumer engaging. Campaigns that reinforce group membership (be it as an American, parent, or other) find success in connecting consumers to one another, and build the campaign through personal investment. Companies that do not have charitable or political agendas can still learn from this, realizing the importance of an authentic campaign that focuses on consumer engagement over profit.

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