The Garden of Dreams is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. From childhood until now, I have been an avid New York Rangers fan, and the Garden of Dreams works closely to connect youth in need to the Rangers and other Madison Square Garden affiliates. When looking at the Garden of Dreams, I know about the organization very well due to my New York sports ties, but it is pretty clear that anyone outside of the New York area is unfamiliar with the cause. With this in mind, I want to see how the Garden of Dreams currently operates online, and how I can help to capitalize on some areas where exposure is lacking.
In order for the Garden of Dreams to continue growing, it needs to look into how its target audience interacts online. The target audience for the Garden of Dreams is anyone between the ages of 15-54, avid sports and charity lovers, and realistically East Coast residents. When looking at social networks, this demographic range tends to use both Facebook and LinkedIn the most. Facebook is the more “casual” of the two, where people can post anything from witty memes to family birthdays. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is the “professional” network, where people post about companies and life updates that could earn them jobs and recommendations. So far, the Garden of Dreams is currently active on Facebook, but there is no associated LinkedIn page for anyone who may be interested in learning more about the professional side of the organization. This is where there is an opportunity for growth. If the Garden of Dreams could create a stand-out LinkedIn page for all to see, the organization may gain some more visibility online. I, for example, wanted to learn about an internship program last year, but with no page to visit, I ended up emailing the foundation using a link I found buried on the website. LinkedIn could become a hub for professional development, while the Facebook page can continue to post about events, spotlights on foundation efforts, and more.
While it may seem silly, blogs are another way that the Garden of Dreams could flourish online. Right now, a quick Google search returns one result: the blog run by the organization itself. There are also no forums where the foundation is discussed. While it may not need its own dedicated blog outside of the website, the Garden of Dreams could find ways to participate in charity forums, Rangers fans’ blogs, and more. These channels could be the perfect way to spread information about the Garden of Dreams to people who may not search for it directly. Even a simple blog post uploaded by a fan who attended a Garden of Dreams Night event at MSG is enough to start a conversation, and I believe the Garden of Dreams needs to consider these channels much more closely. With forums, it could be great to get the foundation included in discussions about Tri-State area charities or examples of outstanding charity events. This positive discussion of the brand is integral to its success. Including a customer service forum on the website could be a smart move as well. That way, people who have questions can ask someone from the foundation directly as opposed to scrambling online to find some answers.
Even with a smaller presence in social networks, the Garden of Dreams does thrive a bit more on microblogs, and so does its target audience. People within the parameters mentioned above use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and more to access quick, easy-to-read content. All of these platforms can be used both casually and professionally, but the casual touch is what makes them so attractive to this target audience. A quick 140-character Tweet could tell someone a story that makes them laugh or smile for days, and the format makes that story easy to share with thousands of others in a second. Popular content on these platforms include threads detailing daily events, interactive stories where people can submit questions, and posts relating to special causes and groups. Looking at photo and video sharing networks, Vimeo and Flickr are strong fits for this audience, as Vimeo targets specific video viewers and Flickr creates an additional outlet for photo-sharing. All of these platforms are essential for success in this current world, and the Garden of Dreams can capitalize a lot more on the vast number of users on these apps. The foundation can publicize Q&As on Instagram and post content from events on Flickr, allowing niche audiences to get a look into the amazing opportunities offered. The Garden of Dreams can retweet videos and posts on Twitter, connecting them to a larger audience that may feel inclined to learn more. Creating a Snapchat allows the foundation to host player takeovers and post exclusive content from Garden of Dreams Nights at MSG, which could be an incentive to get people to follow the page. There are just a few examples of how microblogs can help the Garden of Dreams make a splash, and if done correctly, the foundation can see great amounts of success with these measures.
The Garden of Dreams is still quite far from having must-visit social media pages, but with some research and creativity, the foundation can become a well-known name all across the Eastern seaboard, and maybe even beyond. With the likes of the Rangers, Knicks and Radio City Rockettes behind it, the foundation has the power to change lives, and there is no better way to showcase this than through a proper social strategy.
Garden of Dreams Twitter: https://twitter.com/gardenofdreams
Garden of Dreams Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gardenofdreams/
Garden of Dreams Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GardenofDreams