Sevenly is a funding movement aimed at raising both money and awareness for many of the world’s charitable causes. The company creates a new T-shirt campaign each week in support of a cause, then gives $7 of each sale to a group working for that particular effort. It is currently working to raise more than $1 million for its partners by the end of 2012.
The company has had great success in harnessing social media to spread awareness of its causes. Pinterest has been particularly effective in contributing to the company’s sales. We spoke with Ryan Wood, Sevenly’s relationship manager, about how the company created its Pinterest strategy and what this social media site can offer other cause-based organizations.
Tailoring Images to the Platform
Wood said that the company did have a leg up in adapting to Pinterest since its product — clothing — fits so neatly into a major topic for the platform. But rather than only showcasing the company’s merchandise, the team investigated the type of images and content that were most likely to go viral, and let those ideas drive the pinboard topics.
Some of the topics Sevenly decided on became pinboards for “How To Accessorize Your Tee,” “Typography,” “Graphic Design,” and “Office Design.” These are all fitting topics for a platform where fashion and design are among the most popular subjects of pins.
Creating a Uniform Look Across Social Media and Merchandise
A look at the Sevenly page shows a definite, consistent style. The pinboards showcase a retro aesthetic; pins mimic pen drawings and lithography, and feature muted colors and old-school fonts. Wood noted that the boards were designed specifically to appeal to the company’s target demographic. This was intentional to help express the company’s mission. “When it comes to developing image templates for the platform,” says Wood, “size, description, and so on, are all very important when trying to deliver a visual message on what your product is about.”
The look of the pins is similar to the look of many of Sevenly’s T-shirt designs. The artists creating the weekly campaigns are based across the globe, and anyone can apply to be a designer. Sevenly’s blog also gives a description of the inspiration behind each week’s creation.
Using Social Media to Hook Followers and Fans
Wood said that since May 1, Pinterest brought more than 20,000 unique visitors to Sevenly’s website and generated revenue of more than $30,000. He said that charity-based groups could see “limitless” potential by focusing on their motivations rather that what they actually do. “If brands can learn to focus on their “why” — through their messaging and use of visually appealing graphics and social media to help communicate that message — their products will succeed,” according to Wood.
Beyond offering a cohesive look to its products and its online presence, Sevenly has also focused on making its social media campaign valuable to potential customers. Followers on Pinterest and other platforms get to see the coming week’s limited edition cause T-shirt ahead of the general public. The company also sets goals for the number of Facebook shares and Twitter tweets it gets for each week’s design. Of course, it also sets goals for the amount of money donated for each period.
There are pinboards dedicated to quotes and the written word that explain the causes supported by Sevenly. Those inspirational pins frequently have some of the highest engagement. Sevenly particularly encourages re-pins of this content as part of its mission of increasing awareness for its causes.
Bringing Humor to a Serious Message
Not all of the cause-related pins are somber. The “Sevenlyisms 🙂” pinboard contains simple text graphics. These offer a very different take of the importance of charity compared with the inspirational quotes. Pins proclaiming statements such as “Changin’ Lives: Like a boss!” and “Doin’ Good on a Budget” are focused on the idea of generosity and appeal to the hip, Internet-savvy shopper.
Other sources of humor are the “Epic Check Photos” and the “Food, Humor, & Awesomeness” boards. The latter is strictly aimed at entertainment, and the former is especially effective at highlighting the organization’s emphasis on charity. Both include images designed to elicit a giggle and remind followers of the causes Sevenly supports in a fun, quirky way.
Know of another brand that’s a Pinterest superstar? Let us know in the comments!
[Image credit: Sevenly]