Raising Awareness Days

Raising Awareness Days

This article is about supporting awareness days—like #GLAD2020—with authentic content that addresses the issues and raises the profile of a company or individual.

Global Lifting Awareness Day will put GLAD in 2020, where it’s otherwise been largely absent. On Thursday 9 July, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) and a number of supporting organisations, my company included, will drive an inaugural awareness day to get the whole industry and associated supply chains to recognise the importance of high standards in lifting, the significance of quality and how to ensure lifting best practice.

With a portfolio of clients in the sector—many supply cranes, hooks, rigging gear and related components—we have a clear interest in elevating the profile of an industry that isn’t necessarily considered the most glamorous or the natural path for a talented young engineer or marketeer. But #GLAD2020 serves here only as a case study upon which to base wider guidance about getting the most from business-related national, international or other awareness days.

This article is targeted at individuals and representatives of companies rather than the sponsors or driving forces behind such initiatives. In other words, it’s about participating versus hosting.

Such days are only impactful when they engage an audience and present a case so strong that a community becomes ambassadors and wants to align activity and content to that cause. They’re proud to support the initiative and excited to share words, pictures and videos about how they’re doing so—before, during and after the designated day.

It certainly feels like #GLAD2020 has garnered strong global support and, as is the case with many such days, social media will be the focal point of campaigning and a barometer with which to measure its impact.

Let’s look at ways to make it a success.

What do we want to achieve?

Firstly, keep the mission statement of the day in mind.

It’s easy to go off on tangents when given the freedom of social media. The most successful awareness days get the largest group of people talking about the smallest issue. In simple terms, 10,000 people tweeting about one thing will gain greater traction (it might even trend) than the same number posting about various subjects of their choice.

The hashtag of the day has got to be kept at the forefront too. Wherever #GLAD2020 is included in a tweet or post, it attributes that content to a growing library of information. It also serves as a connection point between the different social media platforms that are carrying articles, polls, photos, videos, interviews, etc. Posting to #GlobalLifting, #GLAD20 or #LEEAGLAD will see that content lost and the campaign lose weight.

I don’t want to get side-tracked by the octothorp but it’s prudent to use other hashtags to introduce that audience to the wider cause. #GLAD2020 campaigners might want to promote content to #construction professionals, for example. But some platforms give more mileage to content with multiple hashtags than others. And don’t use company specific hashtags that’ll make posts seem too self-serving or commercial (I’ll come back to this).

Once you’ve got the mission and hashtag in mind, it’s important to identify the platforms that you will leverage to post to, and set a realistic target for the volume of varied, interesting content that you can create. It isn’t a good idea to download a new app to experiment with during an awareness day and it’s equally rash for a single person to try to be consistent on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and so on throughout the day; they will be spread too thin. If a large company or social media wizard does have a presence on multiple platforms, consider the ones that lend themselves closest to the cause and its industry.

Put differently: who are you trying to reach and where do they hang out? Might a message from a CEO be welcomed in one place and an interview with someone on the shop floor or at the coalface elsewhere? Are any platforms redundant in this instance?

Remember, it’s always about quality over quantity.

#GLAD2020 live

It’s possible (important, even) to effectively promote the same cause on many platforms but the information has got to be suitable. I’m not a fan of apps that allow a single post to appear across a multitude of social media. Instagram, for example, is hungry for images and hashtags, while a different strategy should be adopted on Facebook and different again on Twitter.

In all cases, scheduling content is an option, but live interaction and engagement are what will carry #GLAD2020 and other such days furthest. Try a combination of both. It should be treated as a conversation between like-minded people all over the world. LEEA, like many organisers that power such days, has sent promotional cards / posters to members. These can serve as props and create great photo opportunities.

A content plan for the day is a good idea, loosely scheduled or otherwise. Check out in advance what organisers are doing and how that might present opportunities to interact or post alongside in support. Is there an Instagram live session in the morning or a Facebook live session in the host’s canteen over lunch? What opportunities does either present to ask questions or share ideas? Are there polls that you can contribute to and share? Are supporting media looking for stakeholders to interview for videos or subsequent articles?

#GLAD2020, like all these days, is going to whirl past at speed and it can be easy to get swept away without doing your involvement justice.

I’ll reiterate the importance of not piggybacking on awareness days for commercial interests. A whole industry will rise together if these initiatives work but it will fall at the first hurdle if participants post about how their company is the best or industry-leading equipment manufacturer. Imagine how quickly such nonsense will turn off an intended audience.

At #GLAD2020, we’re all leaders united in one mission. This has to be a collaborative endeavour where we promote each other, share content and celebrate the importance of our cause. #GLAD2020, #GLAD2021 and #GLAD2022 are crescendos, but this must become a year-round movement if it is to make a positive difference.

The importance of #GLAD2020

#GLAD2020 is important, as are many such awareness days.

I first stepped foot in the lifting industry as a journalist on a crane magazine in July 2005. I’ll be honest, it was a stopgap. My story is the same as many others in that I found myself here by accident but have never chosen to leave. I’ve taken new jobs but always in the lifting industry. I’ve even been involved in the start-up of a business that could have taken any path it chose, but it laid foundations in the lifting marketplace. My friends still poke fun at me for writing about cranes and shackles—the only thing that fascinates them is the climbing of tower cranes, actually (perhaps there’s a #GLAD2020 opportunity there)—and they share the widespread misconception that our sector is dull and unimportant.

That’s why we’re at the bottom of a mountain and that’s why we need #GLAD2020 to climb it. Get on board.

3, 2, 1, Lift.

Richard Howes