Social Media Advocacy Case Study: How This Association Grew Social Media By 400%!

by Sheryl Jackson // Apr 26, 2016 Uncategorized

How do you measure success on Facebook, Twitter and other social media? For the American Association of University Women (AAUW) it was with a combination of online campaigns that generated 16,000 page views on Facebook, a 40 percent increase in Twitter followers, and a 400 percent growth in Instagram followers.

For the Certified Financial Analyst Institute (CFA), it was a rebranding campaign that went 148 percent over their engagement goal, and reached 65.5 million impressions from 2,282 mentions and 1,608 users, in just one month!

Find out how they did it, here.

Why did these campaigns strike such a chord with members and non-members? Although AAUW’s primary advocacy message is equal pay for equal work, the association used a timely topic to attract attention, and then segued into their key message.

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When the U.S. Treasury Department announced that a woman would be featured on the newly-designed $10 bill, (Note: Treasury ultimately decided to go with Harriet Tubman on the $20) AAUW promoted the move across their social media outlets, and asked people to nominate and vote for the woman they thought should be on the bill. “We promoted the campaign on our Facebook page, and then connected people to our website’s blog to actually vote,” says Renee Davidson, social manager for AAUW.

NEW-10_LatinaWhile the association expected to see an increase in page views and traffic to their website as people voted, the number of new people reached, as measured through emails collected, and the level of engagement was a pleasant surprise. “We did not expect to see people start campaigning for different women to be pictured on the bill, and we did not expect the number of write-in names we received,” says Davidson. “The level of activity from our voting campaign gave us trending data we shared with news media and throughout social media.”

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The next step for Davidson and AAUW was to build on the excitement generated by the campaign by introducing “#TheReal10,” a play on the Treasury Departments “The New 10” program. A website,, was created to convey facts about the disparity in pay between genders, and to explain how $10 in pay to men, doesn’t translate to $10 in pay for women and minorities.

Granddaughter equal pay

“People love to take selfies and upload their photos, so we created a $10 bill that visitors could personalize with their own photo and then share on their social media pages,” explains Davidson. Along with the photo, people enter demographic information, and the $10 bill is changed to reflect what percentage of $10 the person receives in pay. “People share the image and message on their own social media, which generates more visitors to our site and more shares.”


Newsjacking – using a current pop culture or news story to garner attention for your message – is a legitimate way to increase engagement and advocacy efforts, says Davidson. “As long as the connection is relevant to your association’s message and the interests of your members, it can be an effective social media strategy.”

Of course, analytics that demonstrate an increase in followers doesn’t always mean success if you are not reaching the right people or achieving your goals. Marissa Pick, director of social media for the Certified Financial Analyst Institute (CFA), sets key performance indicators for every social media advocacy campaign to make sure her efforts reach the right audience and generate positive results.

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The first step of a rebranding campaign was the introduction of a new hashtag [#CFAdifference] that announced and congratulated new charter members of the organization – people who had taken and passed the exam to become a Certified Financial Analyst. “We wanted to set the stage for the full launch of the rebranding campaign – A Difference that Matters,” explains Pick. “We shared images encouraging our 136,000-plus members across 145 countries to join the conversation, to welcome our class of 2015, and share photos of their own charters.”

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In just over one month, the campaign was 148 percent over the engagement goal, reaching 65.5 million impressions from 2,282 mentions from 1,608 users.

Spreading a message that firms and individuals should seek investment professional managers representing the highest levels of competence by choosing those who have the CFA certification is not an easy task in social media. “We find that imagery is the key to success in social media posts, and we use photos of members, along with their stories, to attract attention,” says Pick. “The messages show the importance of pursuing charter membership for investment managers, as well as the value of hiring a CFA.”

Use of images, creative approaches, and creating fun, all add up to successful Facebook and Twitter campaigns to engage members, says Pick. “Be sure to set objectives at the start of each campaign, monitor results and make adjustments if necessary.” She also warns that everyone should be ready to admit when something doesn’t work, and then learn from mistakes. “We tested a lot of campaigns before launching our successful efforts.”

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