JustGiving was started in early 2000 by Zarine Kharas and Anne-Marie Huby, with a simple vision. They wanted to use the power of the internet to enable people to raise far more for charities, easily and cost-effectively. JustGiving has helped 13 million users raise over £770 million for over 9000 charities and have effectively changed the face of charitable giving in the UK!
JustGiving creates a webpage for fundraisers which individuals can share with their friends via email, Facebook and iPhone apps. It is definitely a great example of how social media works and impacts our lives offline.
Recently, I interviewed JustGiving’s community manager Tal Wolgroch. Tal was nice enough to give me an insight into what he does on a daily basis, getting people involved with JustGiving.
Maebellyne: What course did you do at university? Have you found it relevant to your job?
Tal: I did Sociology at Nottingham University and have found it marginally related to what I do now. Although it didn’t help me find a specific professional direction, the ability to understand social groupings has helped me become adept at utilising social media platforms to engage people, to speak to them in a language they understand, and to generate conversations as opposed to traditional one-way direct marketing.
Describe your job in 5 words.
Generating dialogue around our brand.
How did you get into social media?
My first job following graduation was at a PR agency that specialised in digital communication (through a friend). I took more of an interest in social media campaigns than traditional PR, and went on to work at two social media agencies in London, then finally in-house social media at JustGiving.
What is the main difference between working within an agency and working as part of the in-house social media team at JustGiving?
Agency work is fast-paced, results driven and less creative. An in-house social media role allows you more freedom to test different approaches and learn quickly.
What is your favourite social media monitoring tool and why?
Radian6 – it’s the most expensive tool out there for a reason. You can drill down into conversations and set up profiles to monitor conversations around products, competitors, influential commentators, and the overall digital brand equity. However, none of the tools out there have managed to master auto-sentimenting conversations, which is arguably the holy grail of advanced social media monitoring.
In your opinion, what has been your most successful marketing campaign? How did you do it?
When JustGiving commissioned independent research to show that its users raised more money for charity than its competitors (60% more than Virgin Money Giving), I identified influential Third Sector blogs, forums, Facebook groups and Twitter users, and ASKED them where they thought they could raise more, then replied with evidence-based data that proved our platform was the most effective. The strategy was to develop conversations instead of one-way announcements.
What is your advice for an aspiring social media professional?
Stay on top of industry news, platforms and apps. Develop relations with influential industry bloggers (that may be later once you are working within a specific industry). Watch what you say, but also constantly experiment with how to engage users: the focus is almost always on the user, not the company.