How We Launched a 100-Day Influencer Campaign With No Budget

I was introduced to Julia Regan Markiewicz last year, shortly after the election. She was in the middle of putting together an action plan to engage people during the first 100 days of the new president-elect. She — like many of us — sensed what was brewing, and needed to take action and inspire others to do the same. Thus, The Big Hundred was born.

The campaign, which recently ended, was a 100-day, grass-roots, feel-good, action-oriented Instagram campaign. Julia, along with a small army of volunteers and a not-so-small army of influencers, were able to put together this inspiring effort — and did I mentioned they had no budget? Here’s how they made it happen and what they would have done differently.

How did the idea come about and what did it take to make it happen?

The idea came about during a meeting post-election of all women. We were all talking about feeling powerless after the election, and people started throwing out different ideas of actions we could do to make an impact. We’re in L.A., and there were some influencers in the group, so we threw out the idea of doing an influencer campaign during the first 100 days.

In that group, I met actor/ comedians June Diane Raphael and then Paul Scheer. My art director, Jera Mehrdad, joined up. We became the little project that could — assembling more and more team members to help make the project come to life. People from our post election-group helped brainstorm actions. Paul and June really guided this project and helped it come to life. They reached out to their contacts and to Funny Or Die, who helped us launch with a teaser video that was pushed out through their site. We had a content manager, producer, talent contact, project manager, nonprofit outreach liaison and PR. Friends who were art buyers, designers, and strategists jumped in to lend a hand. Oh, and we were so lucky to have a ton of amazingly talented contributors creating 100 posts!

How many total contributors did you have? Was it a diverse group?

I think we had around 96 or so. We’ve been lucky enough to have Paul and June do a few extra. We’ve had some of my favorite comedians, like Sarah Silverman, Kristen Schaal and Hannibal Buress, do posts. Also, some of my favorite Illustrators, like Lisa Congdon, Andy Rementer, and Christopher David Ryan. We had amazing photographers, directors, and art directors contributing. It’s been really fun to scour Instagram to find people we think fit our positive vibe. I actually contacted two of my favorite New Yorker cartoonists, Emily Flake and Tom Chitty, out of the blue and they did posts. It’s been amazing emailing with people whose work I respect. We were so lucky on this project.

What has been the most humbling and what most empowering about this?

The most humbling was realizing how long 100 days is. Also, working on a huge project for that amount of time with a team of volunteers that hadn’t all known each other at the beginning. It took a while until we finally found our groove. I give our project manager Mitzi a lot of credit for whipping us into shape.

It was also a bit hard to check my own expectations of what we could get done without any funding. We were all squeezing this into our down time. I hadn’t really thought through the slog of a unique piece of content a day, creating secondary posts, creating a social calendar, and all the back and forth with contributors. Social is a beast — and though I’ve worked on it before, I hadn’t seen something through on so many levels.

The most empowering has been getting to work with very talented people, from our contributors to our team. So many people wanted to do something after the election; the most amazing thing was all the people who said “yes.” “Yes” to answering my questions. “Yes” to joining the team. “Yes” to making a post about positive impact in the world for no money — just to do something good. I loved the feeling on the days when we had a really fun piece of content going out about a meaningful action.

We did posts about some amazing organizations. For one post, Constance Wu went to visit a refugee family from Afghanistan that just came into the U.S. A photographer, Robyn Von Swank, captured it so that we posted about it and Constance did as well. The post garnered some press for the incredible organization Miry’s List and inspired a Teen Vogue article. The org had a huge spike in traffic that day. It was amazing.

What has this project taught you?

It has taught me what a BEAST social media is and also how fun it can be. I learned a lot about working with influencers and rolling with the punches. I learned that, if you ask, people just might say “yes.”

Anything you would have done differently?

I probably would have applied for some kind of grant. At least, we could have had a pizza party.

What’s next?

We will not be posting every day but we have a few ideas about how to keep it active. You can still follow along and go back through our actions to see some great content about simple bite-sized things you can do to make a positive impact. Follow @TheBigHundred on Instagram.