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I read a lot about what brands are up to in the marketing world and one of the most genius efforts I’ve come across lately comes from an unlikely player: Goodwill.

I’m talking about the nonprofit that operates secondhand stores to help support its work providing job training and other crucial services to youth, veterans and people with disabilities or special needs.

It’s an incredible organization. But while I’ve personally scored some gems at Goodwill, the stores themselves have never been super chic. They’re generally a little rough around the edges and improvised, which is befitting of any good bargain basement. Now, as part of a new effort to broaden the customer base, Goodwill recently renovated some of its department stores to look more like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores. 


It’s genius marketing for multiple reasons, including that it creates a clear strategy of who Goodwill should target as potential customers: People who love Urban Outfitters. 

Targeting is so important in this social media age, because it’s the only way to cut through the noise (much of which emanates  from your competitors) and reach the people most likely to support your brand.

So if you’re Goodwill, you’ve got the stores all set up, and now you ask yourself: How do you get Urban Outfitters customers in the door?

What if there were a way to find the most influential fans of Urban Outfitters, plot them geographically to find the ones who live near Goodwill’s new stores, and mobilize them to talk about the chic second-hand boutiques?

That’s where one of NationBuilder’s most powerful social media tools — the Twitter importer — comes into play: With NationBuilder, you can import into your nation anyone who follows anyone on Twitter. That’s right. Anyone who follows anyone.

The feature is a powerful and easy way to find and engage potential new supporters and influencers in your target audience. The specific use cases vary, but in general the tool enables organizations to widen their funnel to grow their audience in specific, strategic ways.

A nonprofit might import the followers of competitor organizations with similar missions. Or, a musician might import all the fans of a more famous artist with a similar sound.

In the case of Goodwill, the Twitter importer makes it simple to find those Urban Outfitters fans. Then, the larger NationBuilder community organizing system provides a framework to manage engagement and follow-ups with those new targets. 

Using the Goodwill example, I’ve built out the foundation of an example campaign.

I used NationBuilder’s recurring Twitter importer to pull into my test database anyone who follows Urban Outfitters (I pulled in a sample of about half of their nearly 1 million followers). I tagged all of them for easy segmentation. Because NationBuilder appends geography data from Twitter, location information was layered onto all of these new prospects’ profiles too.

My next step was to zero in on Urban Outfitters followers who live near one of Goodwill’s new locations. Here is my search for anyone who follows Urban Outfitters and lives within 10 miles of Goodwill’s new boutique-style shop in Orange County, CA. Within my sample, I found 483 people.


Now Goodwill can directly target local shoppers who they know regularly consume Urban Outfitters content.

Goodwill could use the same method to find influential fashion bloggers who follow Urban Outfitters to contact about their new stores. Goodwill clearly already ran a great PR campaign (they were featured in AdWeek after all, and here I am trumpeting their awesome project). But by targeting influential fashion bloggers on the ground, in their stores’ backyard, Goodwill has the opportunity to reach the people who drive local buzz and reach millennial shoppers that probably don’t read AdWeek. 

Here’s a separate filter for anyone who:

  • follows Urban Outfitters, but not Goodwill

  • has at least 500 Twitter followers

  • identifies on Twitter as a “fashion” or “style” blogger


Within this sample, I found 2,022 influential fashion bloggers that Goodwill could invite to one of their new stores. Here’s that same group plotted on a map, for Goodwill to further target based on which store is closest to each blogger.


So we’ve identified our target audiences — now what?

Most organizations don’t have the resources to engage 2,022 fashion bloggers individually. But it's important to focus on engaging at least some of those people in a personalized and individual way.

Time spent on one-to-one engagement has the highest rate of return, so don’t be afraid to empower your social media managers and communications team to reach out directly to high-value prospects.

In Goodwill’s case, I’d recommend adding more criteria to the filter to find the top 1%, or the highest-value targets. One way is to sort the influential fashion bloggers by the size of their social media following.

Call the influencers to action by directly mentioning them on Twitter or sending a direct message. Invite them to a special bloggers event at their closest local store, or maybe an exclusive webinar discussion with Goodwill’s strategy director.

For the larger target audience, NationBuilder makes it easy to target them via Twitter’s sponsored post tools. In NationBuilder, I can export any filter with the Twitter ID of each person. I can then upload those records to Twitter to create a “tailored audiences” campaign that targets a call-to-action or piece of content at your bloggers.

Using the full NationBuilder platform, Goodwill’s marketing team can easily measure the success of such a strategy by tracking which of the 2,022 bloggers covered the story.  

The NationBuilder Twitter importer is usually the start of a fun and effective way to target new supporters and it can help create the foundation for a robust ambassador program.

Want to brainstorm about how your organization or brand could utilize this tool as part of your next marketing plan? Let’s do it.

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