a deadly social media mistake

Want to know the most deadly social media mistake your organization can make? Hang on, it’s coming, but first some statistics:

Harris Interactive recently reported that 51% of Americans don’t use the key social media platforms like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Twitter has the lowest penetration rate at around 5%.

Some of the interesting conclusions from the study:

-16% of the people with a Facebook or MySpace page update their page at least once a day.

-People with college degrees or college experience are significantly more likely to be on Facebook or MySpace (52% to 40%)

-Women use Facebook and MySpace more than men do (52% to 45%)

Here’s the breakdown by age:


Percentage of Americans by type of social media account, by age

So…the most deadly social media mistake you can make?

The big mistake is assuming that all of your donors are on a social media platform updating their pages and waiting at their computer to hear from you.

Or the opposite–assuming that NO ONE you want to connect with is on Facebook.

Really, the big mistake is “All or Nothing” thinking. If you think that way, the odds are you’re going to lose.

I don’t know about you but I’m struck by how much I’m not amazed by anything here. I was surprised that I’m in the majority of people who don’t update my Facebook page every day, hey, finally I’m in the majority on something! Otherwise, no big deal from this survey.

The takeaway for your ministry or organization? You gotta integrate. You gotta be multichannel. It’s certainly possible that most of your constituents are social media people (or conversely not) but it isn’t likely. You can end up with one group or the other based on how you acquire them or talk to them. But all things being equal, it’s still a pretty even split–social media people and not….

The Washington Post has an interesting article today on the lack of success using Facebook (FB) as a fundraising tool. They note that FB doesn’t replace traditional fundraising strategies. We’re in agreement. Also, they say that the some of the more successful FB fundraisers are small organizations who don’t have the name recognition that the big guys have. Sounds right to me.

I’m convinced that social media is a big lever for connecting with your tribe and getting low cost (at least in terms of dollars) momentum for your cause, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re connecting with the whole world that way, because you’re not!

Use social media to build early momentum. But don’t forget the best efforts will include classic online integration and old-school methods like direct mail.

So what about you? How often do YOU update your Facebook or MySpace page? Are you in the Social Media half or not?

And if you haven’t responded to yesterday’s post on how you heard about Susan Boyle and how you spread the word. We still want to hear from you.


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity



Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

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