Building a national viral campaign with a hashtag and a massive advocate network

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One of our missions is to create massive viral buzz for the social good. This post will explain how we do this by developing and promoting national hashtag based campaigns across the 400 cities in our network. On #GivingTuesday, December 3, 2013, the Twitter feeds of 350 US and Canadian cities in The Breaking News Network were responsible for 3% of the total 269,000 #GivingTuesday hashtagged tweets because we amplified the tweets of over 1,000 #GivingTuesday local nonprofit partners directly to our local readers. This is how we did it.

The Advocate Network is a new concept in brand marketing built around the idea that having individuals, groups and organizations support a brand using social media is far more persuasive and trusted than a brand simply advertising their virtues via commercials and banner ads. It’s the reason why review sites like Yelp with hundreds of individual reviewers are deemed more credible than advertisements.

Genuine Advocacy

We develop advocate networks that leverage social media to communicate and promote initiatives for a variety of good causes and movements. Over the last five years, The Breaking News Network has cultivated a loyal follower base of 500,000 who appreciate curation of the best media and blog feeds in 400 cities, presented in a noncommercial format that generates good will. One of the unique media features of the Network is our Media Amplification Program, which enables city feeds to share selected social media messages from any pre-authorized Twitter account. Over 3,000 local mayors and city councilsperforming arts organizationsnonprofit news networkslocal newscastersindie filmmakers, and good causes currently get their word out through the program. Building the advocate network simply entails authorizing advocate Twitter accounts so they can message news and events to their immediate communities.


We authorize advocates for media amplification by the city feed of The Breaking News Network where they are located. The amplification method is simple: just add a specific hashtag, like #GivingTuesday, #LocalFood, #FoodBank, or #Opera to a tweet (we also authorize for city names, like #Brooklyn). For example, when @TEALWALK, a Brooklyn based foundation for supporting ovarian cancer research, added the hashtag #GivingTuesday to their tweet, @Brooklyn_News, our Brooklyn news feed, retweeted the tweet to its Brooklyn readers.

@tealwalk retweeted by @brooklyn_news
In addition, the tweet’s link is rendered in real time at the website Amplification is selective and voluntary; if the advocate tweet does not include the hashtag #GivingTuesday, there is no retweet.


On Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2013, we amplified the tweets of over 1,000 authorized local #GivingTuesday partners down to their city level as a community service. Our mission was simply to help local nonprofits spread the message of #GivingTuesday to their local constituents. The screenshot below is a sampling of the various retweets our city feeds (“via @HeritageNews”) made on behalf of the #GivingTuesday partners.

A sample of the #GivingTuesday amplification across 350 cities in The Breaking News Network

A sample of the #GivingTuesday amplification across 350 cities in The Breaking News Network

According to, the number of tweets mentioning hashtag #GivingTuesday on December 3 was 269,000:

GivingTuesday 131203

Of those 269,000 tweets, 5,014 were attributable to The Breaking News Network’s city feeds due to amplification of #GivingTuesday partner tweets. In addition, the number of retweets and mentions arising from those 5,014 tweets was roughly 3,000 (no analytical tool easily compiles RTs and mentions of tweets across 350 feeds so we estimated). In sum, The Breaking News Network was responsible for about 8,000 #GivingTuesday tweets, ~ about 3% share of the 269,000 tweets delivered on Giving Tuesday, December 3. A majority of the tweets were delivered from the Network’s top 50 metros among the 350 cities, with an average reach of 3,700 followers per city. The total reach of those 8,000 tweets was well over 20 million in that one day (~ 8,000 x 3,700), all focused at getting local nonprofits’ messages directly to their local audience. This is nonprofit fundraising’s sweet spot — local messaging and the sharing/retweeting of those messages is where community word of mouth happens. Donations are made when donors are personally impacted by a cause down the street, or acting upon personal requests from people or groups in their neighborhood.

How is this made possible? A plug for our technology partner,, who provides a valuable service which allows us to automatically amplify specific tweets that include the hashtag #GivingTuesday when those Tweets are sent from our pre-authorized contributors.  We highlight their offering at How to Build a Media Amplification Program.

Advocacy is a Sustainable Resource

Advocate networks are sustainable and can be tapped again and again, and will grow more influential with time. The #GivingTuesday advocate network of nonprofits that we’re amplifying through our media is established with well over 1,000 partners, and will continue to grow year after year with each subsequent #GivingTuesday. We hope we can amplify 5,000 partners in 2014.

We want to ensure the voice of social good be delivered granularly to local levels by providing good causes with media amplification across 350 cities in America. We’re building a portfolio of advocate networks committed to the social good across the following categories, and we’re committed to supporting each group’s mission.

[table caption=”Sample Hashtag Categories” width=”500″ colwidth=”50|50|50|50″ colalign=”center|center|center|center|center”] #Arts,#ChildWelfare,#Green,#Media,#Poverty

We’ve also developed advocate networks for the Social Venture Network and which gives their members access to our local media feeds for supporting their ongoing campaigns and marketing initiatives.

Build your hashtag campaign and create a massive advocate network

We welcome inquiries from good causes, national and local, who want to build hashtag campaigns like #GivingTuesday that will support their marketing and fundraising initiatives. In addition, we are launching BNN Funding, an advocacy based crowdfunding platform that will upend traditional crowdfunding by syndicating campaigns across 350 cities, with localized advocate support in each city.

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