13 Dec Front Page Execs: Holidays for Heroes by Ed Roshitsh
Ed Roshitsh, the CEO of Dude Solutions, typically raises money for veteran charities every year, but this year’s approach had a more personal touch. He posted on LinkedIn saying he would hold a draw to randomly select five U.S. armed forces members serving overseas and personally pay for their plane tickets home for the holidays. Roshitsh’s post went viral, gaining attention not just from other LinkedIn users, but from the media and even other businesses.
In this article, we will be analyzing his LinkedIn posts and consider how his generous actions impact his personal and company branding. We will also take a look at how executives can improve their social media post’s reach through utilizing best practices.
Holidays for Heroes
Roshitsh made his original LinkedIn post at the end of November, announcing his plan to purchase plane tickets for five military personnel. After that post went viral, he updated that first post, keeping the original copy in the bottom half:
After his initial post above went viral, he shared a follow-up post (shown below), stating that 15 other donors have joined his initiative to bring the total number of tickets to 20. As his project gained momentum and more users shared his post, more donors joined, resulting in a total of 64 tickets.
Reach and Engagement on Social Media
In his Holidays for Heroes posts, Roshitsh uses several hashtags, such as #Marines, #CoastGuard, and #USN. While many of these have a low follower count on LinkedIn, these are very targeted hashtags that relate to his post’s content. When executives use more niche hashtags in their post, it is done with the intent of getting the right eyes on the post, rather than trying to reach as many users as they can.
Roshitsh’s post went viral through word of mouth as more users shared his original post. For executives who want to maximize their post’s reach right from the start, they should consider mixing up the list of hashtags they use, including both niche and popular hashtags with more followers.
Throughout the Holidays for Heroes campaign, Roshitsh often made updates directly in the comments. However, this is not an effective way to call attention to new information, as it is too simple for users to miss his comments. When executives need to make new announcements, we suggest creating an entirely new post, while linking to the previous post if necessary. In the screenshot above, Roshitsh mentions how another brand has joined his initiative by donating five tickets. This type of content would be better suited for a new post as Roshitsh can share the good news, while also tagging the company in the post. This also means the participating companies can share Roshitsh’s content on their own feed, thus increasing the post’s reach.
When it came time to draw the names of the military personnel, Roshitsh hosted a 20-minute live stream on the company’s YouTube channel, drawing over 900 views. This was a dramatic increase in views when compared to the other videos, which typically garner around 20 to 100 views. By hosting the livestream on YouTube, it creates awareness about the company’s other video content.
Roshitsh’s giveaway spanned a few days. Executives looking to maximize their reach and garner increased user engagement should consider ways to lengthen their campaign’s schedule. For example, drumming up interest a few days leading up to the giveaway and lengthening the time the giveaway is active can increase user engagement and give the campaign time to spread across social media channels.
CEO and Brand Impact
On average, Roshitsh’s LinkedIn posts generate around 20-60 reactions. His posts usually garner a low number of comments, ranging from 0 to 10. However, his first post about his “Holidays for Heroes” giveaway generated over 3,700 reactions, over 400 comments, over 300 shares, and over 300,000 views. Subsequent posts about the campaign did not reach the same levels of engagement, but are still higher than his posts from before the campaign, with approximately 200 reactions and 100 comments.
After his LinkedIn post went viral, he received offers from other users and companies interested in helping out with his initiative. With more donors onboard, Holidays for Heroes would be sending 64 individuals home–a sizeable increase from the original goal of five.
When executives are able to elicit an outpouring of community collaboration and support, this has a positive impact on executives themselves. They are seen as inspiring figures who motivate others to engage in social good and are praised for their efforts. Even after the Holidays for Heroes campaign is over, users are still commending Roshitsh for starting the project and have taken to Kudoboard to express their gratitude.
Because of the feedback, Roshitsh has said that he intends to continue this initiative in 2020, stating, “I will be making this a “thing” and lighting up a 501c3 to fill this need. In other words, a team, a website, a process etc. to make this bigger and better. Getting more home in 2020.”
When the general public sees how involved an executive is and how passionate they are about a certain project, this creates a more authentic persona. Taking a hands-on approach is one way for executives to tie their personal brand to a positive initiative.
In terms of the company brand, Roshitsh has referenced his company by linking to the site in the follow-up ‘thank you’ post and by using the company’s YouTube channel to upload the livestream. While the connection between Holidays for Heroes and Dude Solutions is not overt, just including a link to the company’s homepage connects the positive initiative with the brand. One suggestion we have for executives on social media is to create a brand or event-related hashtag and use it in conjunction with their initiative. Using a more unique hashtag can help executives keep track of the conversation happening around their campaign and monitor user sentiment.
Ed Roshitsh: Home for the Holidays
What started as a one-man initiative to send five veterans home for the holidays grew to a multi-brand collaboration that inspired users to participate as well. Ed Roshitsh’s “Holidays for Heroes” campaign is an example where executives who are more hands-on with their project are seen as an inspiring leader by the community.
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