Sunday, September 30, 2012

Only 17 of charity’s 9,000 Facebook “Likes” are real

Most of the 9,000 people who “Like” the Facebook page of Metro’s largest charity are not real. 

The Metro Foundation for Community Trust conducted a research project last month on their 9,000 “Likes” only to find that most of them were made by mistake, involve imaginary or dead people or are criminals or animals. They could only find 17 “Likes” who were from actual donors.

“We’re a bit disappointed to say the least,” said Foundation CEO Hairdoo Snidely. “We spent almost a year and more than $50,000 trying to improve the number of Likes at our Facebook page only to find that many of them are elves from the World of Warcraft.”

The Foundation launched a new social media campaign a year ago. Based on a consultant’s report, the Foundation devoted extra resources, time and money to make Facebook a priority. Most other forms of communications were shut down or ignored. The research project was the final stage of the first year of the program and was expected to show tremendous progress. Instead, Snidely says a review of their “Likes” found that most people going to their Facebook page weren’t the people they were going after.

“We found that 47 of our ‘Likes’ were in fact cats and 30 were cute puppies. And there was one pot-bellied pig and one budgie. They were all so cute. Some of them had the most amazing videos. It was wonderful to watch them. But none of them will ever be donors. Ever,” she said. 

The Foundation found that many of their donors who did “Like” them on Facebook had died but still had their social media pages up and running. Others were novices who had created a second or third Facebook profile of themselves by mistake and kept hitting the “Like” button. Foundation staff also failed to notice that many of the posts to the Facebook page were in other languages than English.

“We didn’t understand the references to the Bollywood film star. It turns our campaign chair shares the same last name as this Indian actor. We just thought the requests for autographed pictures and locks of hair were normal during a capital campaign,” said Snidely. 

Snidely said they didn’t find out until after the research study was completed that an international forgery ring was using the chat functions of their Facebook page to communicate in code about credit card scams in Europe and Asia. It also turned out that several of their Facebook “Likes” were members of the infamous Cannelloni mob family and others were former members of the KKK.

The Foundation plans to re-start their Facebook page next month. It will delete the 8,983 fake “Likes” and will begin a new campaign to attract new Facebook fans. 

Word about the Foundation’s plans have already leaked out to social media circles. Snidely says that as many as 200 real “Likes” have stepped forward to connect with them on Facebook.  

“We want to thank these new, real people for liking us on Facebook,” said Snidely. “I know that with the help of new fans like Fluffy the Cat and Pee-in Pants we will able to forge a new, solid social media machine that will be the envy of all other charities in Metro.”

“This has been a real eye-opening experience. We’ve learned a lot about social media through this process. We still can’t figure out where we went wrong on Facebook,” said Snidely. 

“Thank God our 150,000 followers on Twitter are still solid,” she added.