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social media is more than facebook

September 27, 2011 |

There have been several backchannel conversations with members of our Tribe who say they just aren’t going to use “Social Media.” It’s interesting how usually when I ask a couple of questions, the “Social Media” in question is usually one particular Social Media tool, Facebook.

Facebook dominates Social Media (one could even say dominates the Internet in terms of traffic and in terms of online photo storage among other categories), but Social Media is much more than Facebook.

When we talk about Social Media, we’re talking about a wide range of tools, some that might surprise you. Here’s a slide from one of our recent seminars. Facebook’s there, but so are also the tried and true tools like email and blog.

It’s easy to think “Facebook” when you hear that you should be using Social Media. That’s fine. You need to consider Facebook for your NPO or org’s use. But Facebook is very limited and you should never use Facebook exclusively. If for no other reason than you don’t own the content that’s on Facebook.

Your Social Media mix should be centered around your website and blog.

We hear lots of resistance from clients about blogs. Believe me, I understand. Blogs are tough. But a blog isn’t always a blog in the classic sense. A good blog can be more like a news page or a “Did You Know” format” that isn’t authored by one single individual. This strategy allows you to keep fresh engaging content but doesn’t force one person to carry the whole load. A good blog doesn’t have to be many words. In fact, some of the best blogs are often very short.

And the second big question that’s been popping around, driven by all these latest Facebook changes, is “how will these changes affect my fundraising on Social Media?”

Well…I’d really rather you didn’t think about fundraising as your primary outcome from your social media activities. That’s not a great strategy.

Here’s another slide from that seminar. We believe that Social Media (including your blog and email) can be a powerful tool for engaging your donors in a variety of conversations. One powerful use that many forget is using Social Media to encourage and teach donor development.

Social Media is wonderful for having donors tell other donors how their lives were changed by giving to your cause or organization. Social Media provides you the platform to teach, enlighten and encourage your constituents. Social Media allows people who aren’t donors to learn more about your cause. Social Media allows people to explore who you are on their own terms. And Social Media is a terrific platform for letting donors be your champions.

So when you think Social Media, don’t just think Facebook. In fact, consider how you can use this wonderful “e-stuff” to engage your donors in conversations…and help your donors engage each other in conversations.

That’s what Social Media is all about.

What do you think? Do you consider your blog and email as Social Media? I’d love to hear what you think.


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

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2 Responses to “social media is more than facebook”

  1. Pamela Grow says:

    Fabulous post, as always, Steve! I can’t add anything to the conversation other than to share with you a truly inspiring story about the power of social media. I think that you’ll appreciate how Reel Grrls has used social media as a “platform for letting doors be your champions.” http://www.pamelagrow.com/1727/the-story-of-a-small-nonprofit-and-the-power-of-social-media/

  2. Steve Thomas says:

    @Pamela — thank you so much for your encouragement. It means a lot coming from you. I followed the Reel Girls story as it unfolded and it IS a great demonstration of the power of constituents and Social Media.

    Thanks for stopping by, you help keep the conversation lively!
    st

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