The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society - social media competitions


The Shipwrecked Mariners' Society is one of the UK's oldest seafaring charities providing financial support and advice to retired seafarers in need. Acceleris has provided the charity with communications services for three years.

The brief

The charity tasked Acceleris with devising a campaign to help it develop its presence on Twitter and Facebook, gain new followers and engage with its existing supporters.


Acceleris devised two competitions, one for limericks and the other for art, to be run entirely on the charity's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Limerick Competition

Participants were encouraged to pen a five line limerick about the ocean, the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, and the challenges they face.

The competition was launched on World Poetry Day on 21 March, with the winning entry judged by the 'Bard of Barnsley', renowned English poet Ian McMillan, who has strong maritime connections. The competition was publicised through on and offline PR as well as via Twitter and Facebook, which all helped to drive traffic to the story on

A video news release was filmed with Ian McMillan detailing the winner and runners up which was used to support the publicity of the event (click to watch the video).

The winner of the competition, Maggie Ballinger, received an engraved barometer for her poem:

The swell, and the towering wave,
Cover many a seafarer's grave.
So to land Britain's dish,
(What are chips, without fish?),
A man must be strong, skilled and brave.

Art Competition

The competition was launched on 20 May in celebration of European Maritime Day and the winner was announced to coincide with World Art Day on 10 August.

The judge was marine artist Geoff Hunt, former president of Britain's prestigious Royal Society of Marine Artists whose work features on the covers of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin books.

Entrants were encouraged to upload a digital version of their image to Facebook and a gallery was created of all the entries which was used to run a 'people's choice' vote to determine a shortlist.

A video news release was filmed with Geoff Hunt detailing the winner and runners up which was used to support the publication of the event.

The results

Limerick Competition

The limerick competition gained 120 entries. The Twitter feed received an uplift in followers of 34% and the Facebook page received a 28% uplift in likes. Total Facebook reach throughout the competition was 1,668.

The video news release on YouTube received 199 views and was featured on Society Guardian. The project generated 124 pieces of coverage with over four million opportunities to see both on and offline. The equivalent advertising value across both on and offline coverage was £75,376.

Art Competition

The competition received 24 entries. The 'people's choice' vote received 187 votes. Twitter followers increased 34% across the project. Engagement across Twitter secured retweets which were seen by 21,797 people. Facebook likes meanwhile increased 28% across the project.

Readership resulted in nearly one million opportunities to see in both on and offline press. The equivalent advertising value across both on and offline coverage is £8,127.52.

A number of the entrants have since agreed to sell their original artworks and donate a percentage of the profits to the society. The society is also considering using a number of the images for its Christmas cards in 2013.

Stephen Fisher of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society said: "The limerick and maritime art competitions implemented by Acceleris have been pivotal in building the charity’s social media following this year. We have successfully engaged with potential supporters who might otherwise not have learned about the Society and its work on behalf of the seafaring community."