Author: mravitsky

Viral Social Media Strategy

What we learned trying to create an international holiday.


The Made in Jerusalem team learned a whole lot trying to create International Firgun Day.  “Firgun” is a Hebrew word of Yiddish origin that defines the selfless feeling of enjoying another person’s success.  Made in Jerusalem set out to create this holiday where people write compliments and selfless praise to each other on social media.

JLM3To create this viral holiday, we had an all-night marketing “hackathon” throughout the night before and into the morning of July 17th.  We invited hundreds of people from the community and categorized participants into teams that were formed around a list of marketing challenges that included getting celebrities to mention #FirgunDay or getting content far up on Reddit.

Along the way we experienced both success and some speed bumps.  In terms of getting people engaged with a project campaign, here’s what we learned:


What Doesn’t Work:

1.     Emailing People You Don’t Know

We emailed hundreds of organizations aligned with the themes of Firgun Day for sponsorship or advertising.  Just 5% responded with interest in helping, but half of that group did nothing after that. Instead of finding random organizations, we learned that entering networks where you know members personally gives you more leverage.

2.     Asking People to Invite Their Friends

Many people loved our idea and joined the event page, but few invited their friends. People are generally hesitant to invite their friends for fear of spamming, so even people who did want to help did little sharing. The best way to encourage people to engage their friends is to do so indirectly by framing it as “if you like this and want to help spread the word, feel free to share.”


What Works:

1.     Personal Engagement

The most effective social media strategy is engaging people you know. 90% of those contacted through Facebook joined our event, and they were far more likely to invite their friends. On Twitter, targeting small influencers was the best strategy: people and groups with fewer than 5000 followers more often responded or retweeted us than did celebrities and big corporations.

2.     Create an Event

MadeinJLM’s hackathon was a big event for people to network, collaborate, and showcase their skills and talents. People participated because they were dedicated to our cause of global optimism.  The night yielded apps, videos, and articles, and more. After the virtual dust cleared, #FirgunDay got many mentions online from people and groups that the MadeinJLM team had never heard of – even an Israeli military radio station mentioned Firgun Day!  Having an event with a variety of people expands your networks and increases the number of people you can inform.

3.     Something Fun

One of the biggest successes of our campaign was the Firgunator, a website app that generates hilarious compliments for users. The app is intelligently designed to share the content, as creator Uriel Shuraki created buttons for instantly Tweeting, Posting, or snapping a screenshot of the Firgun generation.  It was a success because people knew they’d see something new every time they clicked the button, and many users engaged with it repeatedly.

So there you have it.  May the force be with you, and we will see you on Firgun Day 2015.

Strategies like the hackathon are to use when looking to promote a bigger event, like Firgun Day. This strategy can be used by anyone, especially when trying to promote a good cause.

Allison Rumsas and Libby Snyder contributed to this post.