According to an infographic posted on Marketing Tech Blog, 46 per cent of web users look towards social media when making a purchase.

Sure, that means a lot to the average consumer. More and more people are looking for authenticity in reviews, turning to the web as a result. With the average Twitter user following five or more brands alone and , this means one thing: smart companies have to do smart social media.

And what does smart social media mean, exactly?

Consider how a social media campaign created by the Make-A-Wish Foundation went viral.

In November of 2013, a little boy named Miles with acute lymphosblastic leukemia was granted his one wish: to become Batkid. Of course, Make-A-Wish threw themselves behind the idea, planning a public display of heroism in San Francisco for the young boy, added in a damsel in distress, a villian, and Batman himself for good measure, and most importantly, documented this process on social media under the hashtag #SFBatkid.

The result?

Over 20,000 people showed up to watch Miles’ adventure as Batkid, with over 555,697 tweets from users discussing the campaign (Make-A-Wish). In their own words, Make-A-Wish commented on the journey, “Through the power of social media and the internet, the request [for audience volunteers] was publicized widely and went viral.”

Though Make-A-Wish’s goal was never to outright solicit funding from the public, this campaign did shine a spotlight on the nonprofit’s goals to fulfill children’s wishes. Make-A-Wish’s website saw a sharp spike in traffic after the campaign – so much, in fact, that it crashed their servers for several hours. The organization also candidly admitted that the wish did bring in increased offers of help, donations, volunteers, referrals, and other services.

Overall – smart social media doesn’t start with blatant promotions: successful campaigns played into the heartstrings of its internet audience.

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