Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!  If you love superhero stories you probably are very familiar with this popular tune that belongs to one of the favorite comic book heroes, Batman.  Young kids everywhere love the superhero comics and movies, especially one young boy in particular who wanted nothing more than to be “Batkid.”  Miles Scott, a five-year-old kindergartner and cancer survivor, had his wish granted last November all thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with the help of some real-life heroes.  

The name “Batkid” quickly spread after Miles told the Make-A-Wish Foundation what his wish was: “I wish to be Batkid.”  Miles had been diagnosed with leukemia at only 18 months old and ended his treatments in June 2013. Make-A-Wish strives to grant the wish of each child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.  The idea here, according to Make-A-Wish’s website is that, “Wishes make life better for kids with life-threatening medical conditions.” It continues, “This simple, but powerful belief inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish® and drives everything we do.”

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How did this young boy’s wish reach thousands of people you might ask?  I’ll give you a hint…social media.  As this campaign to make Miles’ wish of saving San Francisco for the day was being put together, Make-A-Wish was already hard at work getting pro-bono help from several resources.  One specifically was Clever Girls Collective, a social media agency.  This was a Twitter-focused campaign, and Clever Girls Collective spearheaded all the social media aspects.  With over 6,000 social media experts to spread the word for this event, the ball was really rolling before this event even took place.  Of the many strategies Clever Girls Collective used, they did a “morning-of Twitter chat,” which called for donations to the Foundation and further elevated the event’s signature hashtag, #SFBatkid.  Also, the social media agency posted pictures to Make-A-Wish’s Twitter page, and also repeatedly sent out #SFBatkid tweets to ensure the name would spread like wildfire for the day of the event.  Not only did Clever Girls Collective contribute to this cause, but so did BuzzFeed and the HuffPo, whose websites continued to spread Batkid’s cause through articles and videos.

What were the results?  A huge success!  Over 20,000 people gathered in person to watch this much anticipated event, and everyone could see all the action with “the big-screen TV’s and high-tech staging,” turning this event into a large scale production.

To help get a better picture of how large scale this staged event was, let’s look at some of the total numbers according to the Make-A-Wish website:

  • People who RSVP’d to volunteer via the Make-A-Wish website:  16,077
  • Approximate number  of the attending crowds at City Hall:  approximately 20,000
  • The total count of #SFBatkid and #Batkid tweets produced during the campaign:  545,576
  • The number of total countries where “Batkid” was talk about:  117
  • Grand total of tweets:  555,697
  • Total Twitter Potential Reach:  823,469,527
  • Total Twitter Potential Impressions between November 5 and 16:  1,890,488
  • Posted Instagram photos with #SFBatkid:  16,000
  • Total Instagram potential reach:  19.5 million
  • Total Instagram potential impressions:  23.6 million
  • Number of hits per second to all Make-A-Wish websites during peak:  1,400, this number actually caused the site to crash!
  • Staff members in the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area office:  23 full time; four part time

Why did this social media campaign work?

  1. Reaching out to social media influencers.  Make-A-Wish made its first powerful move by talking with Clever Girls Collective and utilizing its resources. The help didn’t stop there, by using Buzzfeed and HuffPo, Make-A-Wish made Batkid go viral within a few days!  Spreading the word about an event is half the battle.
  2. Human emotion.  Cancer is never an easy topic to talk about, even more so when it involves such a young child.  Miles’ story touched thousands and thousands of people.  Those who participated in the event, and those watching from home, were rooting for Miles and his family.
  3. Allowing the public to contribute.  The use of social media platforms allowed thousands of those people inside and outside of the United States to contribute.  Several opportunities arrived to even those who couldn’t physically attend the event. The ability to donate online, share articles, retweet Batkid hashtags, and post on Instagram were at everyone’s fingertips.  Anyone who simply clicked “Like,” “Favorite,” “Share,” or “Tweet,” contributed to making Batkid’s wish come true.

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After all the hard work and effort from these real heroes,  Batkid had the opportunity to save a damsel in distress, capture the Riddler from robbing a bank, and save the San Francisco Giants mascot, Lou Seal from the Penguin’s grasp.  He was escorted in a Lamborghini with a Batman decal through town.  Even the White House showed its support when it tweeted, Go get ‘em!” Even President Barak Obama made a video saying, “Way to go, Miles! Way to save Gotham!” Crowds came together as Batkid flew through his adventures, and once they reached City Hall Batkid received a key to the city. Miles’ father, Nick Scott, said to the large crowd in front of City Hall, “This is closure for us… it has been a hard three years.” Social media is an extremely powerful tool, and the Make-A-Wish Batkid campaign provides a fantastic demonstration that social media can help make dreams come true.

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