Tinder is not an obvious platform for a charity campaign, yet several charities have decided to jump right in regardless.
In this post we highlight three charity campaigns that have thrown caution to the wind and embraced this new platform with creativity - and we identify three valuable lessons relevant to all digital campaigners.
Tinder is a mobile matchmaking app famed for its rather shallow mode of decision making - see a prospective date's profile picture, swipe right if you like it, left if you don’t - and for facilitating ‘hookups’ rather than relationships.
This video is a ‘real-life’ translation of the mobile app.
So, what can we learn from three charities who have used it to campaign?
1. User journeys matter
Amnesty International's Tinder Takeover was developed by the digital agency Circul8 to highlight the fact that life choices are not an option for many women around the world.
With the focus on International Women’s Day, the campaign asked Tinder users to change their profile pictures to one of several downloadable images, pointing people to the ‘Make a Choice’ website.
On the website people participated in quizzes with questions such as ‘Marry for money or marry for love?’’ Each choice led to a page with information about women around the world, and data was collected so Amnesty could contact visitors in the future about supporting their work.
The clear user journey through Tinder to the website and then to email was key to the campaign's success, and is a great example of the importantace of user journeys and personas when designing a campaign on a new social platform.
So why did Amnesty choose Tinder? In an article for the Guardian their Supporter Acquisition Manager addresses this:
Tinder is very underdeveloped as a marketing tool, but it offers engagement with an audience that we don't often capture the attention of….. Tinder only operates in a mobile environment compared to the channels fundraisers like myself often use.We were mindful that we were talking to individuals in leisure mode and we were also wary that Amnesty's messaging could come across as 'too serious' in such a relaxed medium. But for us, taking the chance was about generating new leads, getting users to share our messages and creating a buzz around our work on women's rights.
2. Don't be afraid to do something different
Believe it or not this actually happened:
The New York animal shelter Social Tees Animal Rescue let loose marketing interns at the agency BBH, who uploaded animal Facebook profiles to the dating app, posting 10 dogs and receiving 2,700 matches in less than a week.
Unlike the Amnesty campaign, which was a partnership between the charity and Tinder, Tinder was not aware of the campaign in advance, but has kept the profiles live.
So what about the downsides of using Tinder to raise awareness about abandoned dogs?
Some users were understandably not happy to see dogs showing up in their quest for love, but our brief search of tweets would indicate that many more loved it - and it certainly raised the profile of abandoned dogs.
— Modern Dog magazine (@ModernDogMag) August 17, 2014
What we're all looking for in an online date: cute face, up to date on his shots, not too slobbery http://t.co/85xIGnvyTp
— Shaunacy Ferro (@shaunacysays) August 4, 2014
This gutsy campaign shows that nothing is off-limits. If you can market dogs to people looking for a date, then what other avenues are out there for getting your message across?
3. Sometimes it goes wrong
This controversial Tinder campaign uses a fictitious account to suggest to male users that they might catch an STD from hooking up with female Tinder users.
Created by the AIDS Task Force, the campaign is designed not only to promote safe sex, but also to demonstrate ‘what would happen if Tinder was used as a medium ‘for delivering the message of safe sex in the most relevant way, and on zero budget’.’
Unfortunately the gender-bias of the campaign has generated plenty of criticism, serving as a lesson to marketers everywhere in putting the audience before the message.
Should your charity market itself on Tinder?
The answer is probably no.
But these three campaigns show us that creative ways are out there to use new social channels to reach your audience, on a budget.
While investing in one or two platforms may seem like a wise move, the social media landscape is rapidly evolving and testing out new platforms will enable your charity to meet and engage your audience, wherever they might be.
(If you’ve got to the bottom of this post because you’re actually looking for love, these couples have another suggestion for you for how to go about it.)