No, that’s not the sale price of a deluxe package of two dozen yellow Livestrong bracelets. It’s what cycling champion Lance Armstrong’s cancer support and charity organization spends each year on social media—not including the salary of online community evangelist Brooke McMillan.
Livestrong doesn’t spend any money on outside advertising for social media, she said. The foundation got its nearly 1.2 million Facebook likes and almost 88,000 Twitter followers through community management, McMillan told an audience at a Ragan.com conference at Microsoft headquarters.
“To run a social media campaign, a lot of people think it takes a lot of time, a lot of money,” she said. “We’re really lucky to have a strong brand. It’s 100 percent organic.”
It doesn’t hurt that the face of Livestrong is the world’s most famous cyclist, himself a cancer survivor, but McMillan said asking open-ended questions, getting cancer patients to tell their stories and showing genuine personality have built up the connections between the foundation and its online fans.