NONPROFIT PSA: Lessons from Hijacking a Viral Hashtag

There are many viral hashtags out there and among the most popular is the ironic #FirstWorldProblems. Twitter users frequently post this hashtag when relating a disruptive issue in their day that lacks perspective and understanding when put against real issues faced by millions of the world’s inhabitants. Here’s an example:

So what can you do with a viral hashtag other than contribute to the Twitter chain? WATERisLIFE decided to co-opt the hashtag by having Haitians read actual Twitter posts out loud to highlight its mission to bring clean drinking water to developing countries. The PSA, below, has taken on a life of its own, receiving more than 1 million views since being posted on October 3.

While WATERisLIFE and their advertising firm DDM made this look easy you should make sure you think through your plans to undertake a similar approach:

The Opposition

Does a clearly defined opposition view exist and has it been widely adopted throughout social media? WATERisLIFE is lucky that a relevant hashtag existed so that they did not waste time making the connection for the viewer of their video.

Build on Top of Rome

#FirstWorldProblems attracts “playful” posts and WATERisLIFE and DDM did a wonderful job keeping that mood to create a heartfelt video. This helped them keep the same audience that the hashtag had already cultivated.

Platform Selection

WATERisLIFE and DDM took a viral phenomenon from Twitter and applied it to YouTube. By switching platforms they breathed new life into the hashtag while giving it the visual aspect that really hammered the message home.

Go All In

If you truly want your project to spread you must have a cause that resonates and the information to back it up. Just as WATERisLIFE did, feature your project prominently on your website, spread it around your other social media platforms, and provide your audience with further information and actions that they can take to support you and your cause.

Have you ever used a counterpoint to your advantage on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


One thought on “NONPROFIT PSA: Lessons from Hijacking a Viral Hashtag

  1. Pingback: Was That Sarcasm?: Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s Guide To (*S) « BrianAdamsPR

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