Purpose-Driven Campaigns: How Social Media Managers Can Make a Difference in More Ways Than One

Dove, Twitter, and the #SpeakBeautiful Social Media Campaign

Did you know…?

  • In 2014, women posted 5 million negative Tweets about beauty and body image.
  • 82% of women feel the beauty standards set by social media are unrealistic.
  • 8 out of 10 women encounter negative comments on social media that critique women’s looks.
  • 4 of out every 5 negative Tweets about beauty and body image are written by women critiquing themselves.

These statistics were discovered in a 2014 study conducted by Dove.

To help spark change, Dove wanted to empower women to speak with more confidence, optimism, and kindness about beauty online, so the company partnered with Twitter to launch the #SpeakBeautiful campaign.

Here’s how the campaign worked—Dove and Twitter posted a video that aired during the 2015 Academy Awards pre-show to promote the campaign. Then, Twitter technology found negative Tweets about beauty and body image posted during the show, and the Dove account replied to those Tweets in real-time, suggesting that people think more positively about what they are saying.

Dove explained:

When a negative Tweet was posted, the technology was used by Dove to send non-automated responses to real women, which included constructive and accessible advice to encourage more positive online language and habits. Advice came directly from social media and self-esteem experts who collaborated with Dove and Twitter to empower women to speak with more confidence, optimism, and kindness about beauty online.

The results of the campaign were amazing:

  • Dove connected with women on a personal level and engaged 1:1 with over 3,000 negative Tweets.
  • The number of negative Tweets about beauty and body image posted by women decreased from 5.3 million in 2014 to 3.4 million in 2015.
  • From the 2014 to 2015 Academy Awards show, women posted 30% fewer negative Tweets and 69% more positive Tweets about themselves.

As social media marketing managers, what can we learn from Dove and the #SpeakBeautiful campaign?

When it comes to social interactions, a brand can have a high barrier to activation or a low barrier to activation.

What does this mean?

When you are talking with your friends, are you more interested in discussing the newest Apple iPhone or a bar of Dove soap?

Dove has a very high barrier to activation because—let’s face it—soap isn’t that exciting, so it can be difficult for the brand to have consumers engage with, and talk about, its products. On the other hand, Apple has a very low barrier to activation because consumers are constantly talking about Apple products.

But Dove figured out how to overcome this challenge.

Rather than focusing on how to advertise soap, Dove decided to create purpose-driven campaigns. For over a decade, Dove has been committed to making beauty a source of confidence, rather than anxiety. From the Real Beauty campaign in 2004, to the #SpeakBeautiful campaign in 2015, Dove has simultaneously been able to help empower women with more confidence and transform the way women view themselves while also generating a great deal of awareness for the company.

For example, the #SpeakBeautiful campaign drove affinity for Dove, with brand sentiment increasing 17%. Over the course of a year, women used #SpeakBeautiful more than 168,000 times and drove 800 million social media impressions.

As social media marketing managers, we may not get the opportunity to enact social change every day. However, when we look at campaigns like #SpeakBeautiful, it’s amazing to know that we have the power to create purpose-driven campaigns that not only help raise awareness for the brands we work for, but also truly make a difference in the world.