Social Media Success Stories: Amnesty International Australia

In the lead up to the Beijing Olympics Amnesty International Australia embarked upon a successful social media campaign. Fi Bendall, one of the campaign architects explains how it worked.

Campaign: Chinese Internet Censorship

Agencies: Care Network, Bendalls Group, dgmAustralia

The Challenge:

Amnesty International set the challenge of how they could leverage social media to create a debate confronting issues around Internet Censorship in China, which would educate and engage online communities.

There were hard metrics set in terms of benchmarks, volume of conversations that would demonstrate share of voice and share of mind. Further benchmarks included the number of content pieces published and number of resultant actions, such as signing up to the Amnesty International Chinese Internet Facebook cause, driving traffic to the campaign web-site, joining the online Day of Protest and attending the Tear Down The Great Firewall of China protest in Martin Place, Sydney.

Pre-campaign we monitored the Internet conversations about the
issues and about Amnesty International Australia, in general and in
context of the Chinese government’s Internet censorship policies. With
just 47 posts and 1,250 Facebook members in June, prior to the campaign
starting and a timeline forcing a fast to market approach, we needed to
create a highly effective strategy and implementation plan.

The Team:

Peter Buckmaster from Care Network was appointed project manager,
with Fi Bendall, from Bendalls Group on content creation and community
engagement, Katy Woodrow-Hill from dgmAustralia in charge of content
optimisation and distribution.

The Strategy:

It was important that any content we created was relevant and would
generate a response. There was a requirement given a 3 week campaign
time frame that the information needed to go viral and fast. We also
wanted to incorporate into the campaign the campaign web-site with the blog badges and flags available there for
people to download to their own site.

Key components of the strategic
approach were:

1. Get the content right

2. Optimise the content

3. Distribute the content

4. Engage influential bloggers

5. Enable the conversation

6. Send the conversation viral

As opposed to taking a highly creative approach we launched three written content pieces that were devised for the general online communities and re-edited specifically for the blogging community. We know that there is general interest in any new social media campaigns, so the first piece was a release announcing the Amnesty International Australia social media campaign launch. It confronted technology companies, such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft on the assistance they provided to the  Chinese government’s Internet censorship regime and introduced Australia’s online community to the campaign that we were calling them to get behind. While this piece was launched we also commenced a blog community engagement strategy. We did this by contacting some key influential bloggers to ask for their feedback to the campaign proposal and for their recommendation of us to other bloggers who we felt would be interested in the campaign.

The second content piece was a call to the Australian online community to “have their say” about the issues. At this time we also issued FAQ’s to the blog community, pasted code for blog badges and flags, to save the bloggers having to download anything and started to push the content out by engaging and chatting within social networks, twitter and so on.

We followed key rules, we asked if people were interested and we always were upfront about who we were and what we were doing for Amnesty International.

By the time the third content piece went out, which was an e-invite to the Tear Down Great Firewall of China action in Martin Place, Sydney, the online community buzz was highly visible and many online generalists and bloggers were supporting the campaign.  There was online visible debate, posts about the campaigns issue, campaign content being used and passed around the web. In addition, we went out of our way to provide access to Amnesty International Australia spokesperson, Sophie Peer to the blog community and a number of successful blog interviews were recorded.

Some examples:


GDay World by Cameron Reilly

Scoop TV with Mark Jones

One top Aussie blogger, Neerav Bhatt even donated $500 to the campaign!

The campaign drew to a close the day before the Olympics commenced..’.

The results recorded makes this social media campaign one of the most successful in market and shows how highly effective social media can be as a communication tool if you take time to understand and engage the online influencers and ask for help, while being sensitive to what the online audience want to talk about and engage with, rather than making presumptions.

The Results:

Content Pieces:

1. Release announcing the campaign was read by 5,013 individuals
2. Have your Say call to action was read by 4,131 individuals

3. E-Invite was read by 1,650 individuals

Blog Posts:


68% of all blog posts on Chinese Internet Censorship were relational to Amnesty International Australia

Conversation Threads:


70% of all online conversations on Chinese Internet Censorship were about the Amnesty International Australia China Campaign


Front page of Google, Yahoo and Google News results

When the International press started to complain about Internet Censorship in China prior to the Olympics starting, Amnesty International’s content was consistently appearing on the first page of Google and Yahoo across a range of keywords.

Facebook Causes Group:
Over doubled to 2,395

With thanks to Fi Bendall for her time and feedback.

Posted under Social Media Success Stories

Written by Media Hunter

4 Responses to “Social Media Success Stories: Amnesty International Australia”

great social media story, keep the good work-up.

Comment by Gordon Whitehead on September 20th, 2008

China is no. 1 in terms of number of internet users and the numbers is just 20+% of China’s population. They should be strict or the world will fall.

Comment by charles on September 20th, 2008

“Or the world will fall”? How?

Comment by Tim Bennett on September 22nd, 2008


I have no idea what Charles is suggesting.

Comment by Media Hunter on September 22nd, 2008

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