Why you shouldn’t replicate the #nomakeupselfie


How do you create an internet meme? In my head I can picture Communications Directors frantically trying to brainstorm how they can jump on the momentum of the #nomakeupselfie and create their own meme.

Incase you have been in a coma for the past day the #nomakeupselfie is a internet meme which has seen women post pictures of themselves with no make up on. This has seen an astonishing £1 million donated to Cancer Research UK by text within 24 hours.

My answer for all you would be meme creators is that you can’t just magic up a meme from thin air and below I outline the reasons you shouldn’t try to.

For a period during 2011, I was the Social Media Manager at the children’s charity the NSPCC. Just previous to me joining they had enjoyed the benefits of another internet meme on Facebook which saw people change their Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from their childhood.

I can’t remember where the meme originated from but like the #nomakeupselfie it wasn’t created by the charity. In fact the message evolved for months until at some point someone included the NSPCC’s name in the post.

This was the meme Facebook post:

“Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood & invite your friends to do the same, for the NSPCC. Until Monday (6th Dec), there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is a campaign to stop violence against children.”

The meme was hugely popular, the charity received great praise, their Facebook page popularity rocketed and the donations rolled in.

This sparked great interest in Social Media in the Charity, very quickly it realised that social media would be at the heart of its communications going forward.

But there wouldn’t be another Facebook meme for the NSPCC just a shift towards high class social media service and content planning. As the Social Media Manager at that charity I felt any attempt to replicate or rekindle that meme would have been doomed to failure.

Why? It essentially comes down to ownership and trust. The non-profit sector in the UK receives incredible support from the public but large charities now operate very much like big brands when it comes to communication. Slick images accompany Facebook posts, beautiful animations flood YouTube.

The message is donate, campaign or become a member of X charity and you will be the type of person who cares about; cancer, human rights, animals, climate change, essentially whatever the cause charity works tackling.

The good news for charities is that these methods work. People like well planned, polished content, it engages target audiences creating social media comment, donations, people running marathons and advocates who will campaign on behalf of the charity.

The reason memes like #nomakeupselfie work is that they come from outside of the organisation. They are not polished and they tap into an innate feeling we all have to be the centre of attention. Like the NSPCC cartoon meme the #nomakeupselfie gives us a chance to say something about ourselves.

Any attempt by a big charity to create a rough and ready meme may generate interest from their core support but it will feel forced and look out of place alongside the daily corporate communications style of the charity.

My advice to charities is if memes come your way, enjoy your day in the sun. See it as an opportunity to build long lasting social relationships with your new supporters and use the money donated wisely. In my opinion you will be best served studying the conversation happening about you and the demographic and behaviours of the meme participants.

* I highly recommend reading this post by my ex-colleague and friend Madeleine Sugden outlining how to react to a #nomakeupselfie style meme.

Use the useful information you learn and implement that in your next campaign, appeal or social media update. Your goal should be to convert your meme fans into long term supporters.

My message is simple don’t get extracted by shiny things just keep focused on creating great content that meets the needs of your charities audience.

P.S: We are all beautiful with or without makeup.

Digital communications with a difference:

We’re passionate people who want to create a better world, we care about social issues and we care about the work we do. If you want a communications agency prepared to tell you the truth and be with you every step to create an extraordinary digital communications experience get in touch with: damien@socialchicagency.com


The New Dawn Traders leading a sail renaissance


We recently helped an exciting environmental campaign The New Dawn Traders with a social media strategy to help them communicate their exciting 7-month sail voyage around the Atlantic.

We believe they are sparking important conversations about the future of global trade and how by looking to the past we can create a fossil fuel free sail transport future.

A voyage of discovery

On the 14th October our friends at The New Dawn Traders, Alex and Lucy set sail on 7-month voyage around the Atlantic with wind powered cargo vessel Tres Hombres who are pioneering a renaissance in shipping cargo.

The sailboat for the voyage is 100% wind-powered and emission-free. This 32 meter, engine-less brigantine has been successfully trading between Europe and islands in the Atlantic and Caribbean since 2009. This year will be the ship’s first voyage to Brazil

Before the advent of the steamboat global trade was conducted by sail boats similar to the Tres Hombres boat. With the discovery of fossil fuels we very quickly shifted away from sail boats that had served global trade well for centuries.

The New Dawn Traders voyage is divided into two mutually supported departments: Trading Under Sail and Storytelling. Their ultimate goal is to manifest a self-sustaining, theatrical cargo ship, trading in goods, knowledge and culture by the power of the wind.

Creating environmental and social change for the better requires a groundswell of many individual efforts, and The New Dawn Traders hope to motivate this through documenting and sharing their own path towards a healthy, happy, enchanted and fair planet.

The shipping industry has a direct impact on coastal environments and communities. Apart from pollution to the air and through discharge of black and grey water, ships cross-contaminate ecosystems through the intake and discharge of huge volumes of ballast water from port to port. Even sound pollution from shipping affects the migratory patterns of marine species that rely on sound for navigation and ships can kill marine mammals on impact, should the unfortunate creature be in the way. The human impact is significant too – coastal communities that once thrived on the providence of their oceans have been losing their livelihood to large multinational companies, from cargo ships, cruise liners and industrial fishing trawlers, whilst then also being hardest hit by the pollution of these beasts.

Meet The New Dawn Traders, Dr Lucy Gilliam Alex Geldenhuys:

Dr Lucy Gilliam Alex Geldenhuys

Fossil fuel shipping was reported this year to make up 4.5%  of global carbon emissions. Shipping emissions are not currently included in the EU carbon cutting targets. And with the IPCC predicting global shipping emissions to rise by another 30% by 2020 we feel this is vital campaign for all of our futures.

Key Facts about global shipping:

  • 90% of everything you buy or own has spent time on a cargo ship.
  • A single cargo ship can burn 250 000 litres of fuel every 24 hours.
  • Just 16 of the world’s largest ships can produce as much sulphur pollution as all the world’s cars.

We wish the New Dawn Traders all the best on their voyage and we can’t wait to taste some of the delicious sail cargo on their return.

You can support this fantastic project by visiting the New Dawn Traders Indiegogo funding campaign.

Keep updated with their voyage by following them on Twitter and liking their page on Facebook and following their voyage blog.

Summer update

We hope you have been enjoying this glorious English summer, never has our countryside looked so beautiful and we hope you have all had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy it.

Social Chic, Director, Damien In the Kent countryside

However work wise many of us will now be starting to turn our attention to towards planning our winter campaigns in the run in to Christmas.

SO we thought this would be an apt time to remind you that during the past 12 months we have been helping a mix of charities, multinational brands and tech start-ups deliver high quality social media and broader digital campaigns.

Below are some of our favourite projects we have worked on in the past year. 

Fighting Animal Testing

Over the past year we have helped Lush Cosmetics, deliver social media activities and blogger PR for a number of campaigns including ‘Break The Bag Habit’ and ‘No Cop Out on Wildlife Crime.

We’re also very proud to have provided social media and blogger support for Lush throughout their Fighting Animal Testing Campaign.  The campaign played a vital role in highlighting the plight of animals tested on for cosmetics as hundreds of thousands of people around Europe called for an end to animal testing in Europe. Finally on the 11th March 2013, after 10 years of delays the EU passed the European Cosmetics Directive, which finally banned the sale of animal tested products in Europe. 

Moves app

Since January, we have been providing social media services for one of the leading activity tracker apps ‘Moves’. The app is simply beautiful and enables you to track steps walked, distanced cycled and calories. And best of all it is free to download. Currently it is only available on Iphone but you can sign up for the android release due to be released soon.

Follow this exciting client @Movesapp or www.facebook.com/movesapp 

Volunteer Champions Campaign

Recently we worked with the charity CSV to create their campaign ‘Volunteer Champions’, which celebrated their 50th anniversary and the great work volunteers do throughout our communities every day. Combining images from the past with heartwarming current day stories the campaign reached in excess of half a million people.

Recent Media

Damien recently featured over on Ben Matthews blog offering tips for anyone thinking of going freelance.

Need help with your digital?

If so get in touch, we would love to help with your social media and wider digital needs.  We have vast digital experience and always enjoy working with good people, especially from charities, tech start-ups and environmental groups.

For a friendly chat about how we can help you contact us at: damien@socialchicagency.com



Top Writing Tips To Adapt To Twitter Cuts


Yesterday Twitter introduced a small change that will have big implications for community managers across the globe. From now on any tweet sent with a URL will be reduced to 118 characters, or 117 for https links.

We all know that community managers pride themselves on having ace editing skills and rightly so. But we can all occasionally do with help, so we thought we would compile a few editing tips from a selection of our favourite writers.

5 Top Writing Tips:

George Orwell- Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Kurt Vonnegut – Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.

Edgar Allen Poe- A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.

Scott F Fitzgerald-  Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.

J D Sallinger- I write because I want to, and the way I want to and because I like it.

We hope these tips help your writing and please feel free to share your favourite writing tips with us at @SocialChicUK

Top tips for effective blogger outreach

Despite blogging being one of the oldest forms of social media. Connecting with influential bloggers is still a key element of generating interest in your campaign.

Bloggers tend to be early adopters; they are essentially the cool kids at school and what they like and support other people soon do as well.

So we thought we would share our top tips for engaging bloggers in your campaigns.

1)   Do your research: Bloggers are busy people and don’t appreciate emails about products or campaigns unrelated to their interests. Building a focused list of blogger prospects can be a time consuming process but it is well worth the investment.

2)   Tailor your content: Read their blogs properly, make notes, if possible relate elements of your campaign or product to their personal interests. Sometimes there will be no obvious link to your campaign but if you genuinely think they look like a good match just say so. Bloggers are normal people and appreciate honesty.

3)   Find your superstars: We have some blogging superstars who help us shape our blogger asks and social media tactics. In return they are first to get to know about interesting content and they get to see their ideas implemented in campaigns they care about.

4)   Be part of the community: show your personality, we all like talking to people with interesting things to say in the online space. And bloggers are no different. If you write your own blog, why not share it with other bloggers.

5)   Be interesting: create campaign tactics that encourage bloggers to be creativity and tell their stories. Bloggers like talking about themselves and generally they are a talented bunch capable of creating interesting thought provoking content.

In need of a blogger outreach campaign?

We have built up relationships with a vast network of influential bloggers and conducted blogger research projects for a number of leading charities and brands. If you would like us to help you conduct a blogger outreach campaign, please email us at: socialchicagency@gmail.com


Have a great Christmas. Damien x

Have a great Christmas. Damien x

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you’re all looking forward to an enjoyable festive period.

I have always found December to be a great time for reflection both personally and professionally. I like to view the impending New Year as a golden opportunity to ensure I spend more of the next year doing the things I love. Whilst it is important to not completely forget our negative experiences, I prefer to focus on the positive experiences from the past year and use them as building blocks to create an exciting future.

This positive building block idea can be a useful exercise to conduct when looking at your communications strategy for the year ahead.  It is well worth doing an audit of all of the previous years, campaigns, press stories, events, product launches and reviewing what worked and what didn’t. (Obviously you don’t have to share this list with your boss).

I would then suggest looking the activities that worked well and thinking what would have made them that little bit better? On reflection these kinds of things jump out at you in a way, which they often fail to when you’re in a midst of launching something. You will often find especially with social media it boils down to  mechanics; like whether the messaging was simple enough or whether you launched it on the right date or spoke to the correct influencers beforehand.

A few months down the line when looked at with the positive mindset of these things were great but how can we make them awesome? Ideas should jump out at you. And for the negative experience in your personal or professional life ask yourself; “Do you really need to still do them?”

If the answer you arrive at is that you’re unsure; the truthful answer is that you probably can consign them to the past and focus on making the things you do well increasingly great and searching for new opportunities to experience.

I will leave you with this powerful video exploring what you would do if money were no object.

Have a great Christmas and thanks for supporting Social Chic in these first 7 months.

Damien x