By Colin Guard
A recent Embassy San Salvador social media campaign—to promote volunteerism and increase citizen engagement—significantly outperformed expectations. Public Affairs Section staff who implemented the campaign attribute part of the success to its call to action.
U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes launched the campaign last October with a video challenging Salvadorans to do something positive for their communities and share their stories with the hashtag #ConstruyeLaCadena, Build the Chain, a translated take on the “pay it forward” concept. To kick off the campaign, the embassy created a short video of staff buying breakfast from a food truck of Kombidar, an organization that uses profits from sales to fund free meals for San Salvador’s homeless population. After posting on the embassy’s Facebook page, the video was shared more than 300 times. Subsequent posts showed members of the embassy community taking concrete action for the community, such as donating food and clothing to families in need. These posts had high interaction rates as well. NGOs, host government agencies, TV news anchors and individuals used the campaign hashtag on their own accounts, ultimately reaching an audience of more than 700,000 people.
For the final post of the campaign, Manes partnered with Kombidar and delivered free meals to families in the waiting room of El Salvador’s children’s hospital. It was the embassy’s most popular Facebook post of 2018, with more than 7,000 positive reactions.
Colin Guard is a public diplomacy officer at Embassy San Salvador.