Read what he has to say about: "The Perils of Nonprofits Jumping on the Social Media Brand Wagon"
Peril One: Not enough staffers.
Last month I attended a networking event for
non-profits. The Rollins College Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership
Center in Winter Park, Florida was the sponsor.
I met up with almost forty individuals and each
one worked at a nonprofit, was starting a nonprofit, or wanted to get a job at
a nonprofit. When the conversation turned to the subject of nonprofits engaging
in social media, the vast majority noted that social media was growing in
importance. For a smaller number of them keeping the facebook page
current or posting tweets was but one of the many tasks with which they were
charged. And, many confessed to be falling behind in keeping things up-to-date.
The understaffing of social media is not a situation that is unique to
nonprofits. I would argue that many, many companies have inadequate staffing
for social media.
One company that appears to have its social
media house in order is Adobe. I recently installed Adobe ExportPDF application
onto my computer because I had to convert an important document from a pdf into
MS Word. Before buying the product I tried some of the “free” online services.
The results were disappointing. So I decided to spend the $19.95 for a one year
use of Adobe ExportPDF. Once it was installed on my computer I was able to
convert that document into MS Word within seconds. I was so pleased that I put
an update on LinkedIn praising the application. Within minutes I had a tweet
from Adobe saying that the company was glad I liked the product. Of course I
told friends and colleagues what happened with Adobe. You can bet that one of
two sales will come from my recommendations.
I have no idea what would have occurred if I had
reported a problem. However I suspect that Adobe would have responded just as
fast to that issue. But I have read the stories of consumers who contacted
companies via social media and then had to wait days for a reply. Sometimes
there were no replies.
These occurrences lead to Peril Number Two, No
Real Social Media Strategy.
Remember those folks at the nonprofits who told
me that they were handling the social media updates? As we continued to talk a
more disturbing issue came to light. These individuals could not tell me what
the social media strategy for the organization was. For instance, they could
not tell me what the nonprofit wanted to achieve with its Facebook page. It
seems that someone at the nonprofit just knew that it had to be doing social
media. Once again, nonprofits are not unique in this failing.
Perhaps there is a misconception that social
media can be done with little or no expense especially if those duties can be
handed off to the young staffer who spends after-work time on Facebook. But
staffers’ time is money. Also social media miscommunications can be very
costly. Nonprofits can turn off stakeholders and donors. Even if a nonprofit
has done nothing wrong it can suffer blackened eyes via social media posts. I’m
sure you head about what the Red Cross recently experienced when assisting the
victims of Sandy. Here’s the link to an NBC news story about that criticism and
how the Red Cross is handling the firestorm: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/11/15090950-red-cross-pushes-back-on-sandy-response-calls-it-near-flawless?lite
A good place to start understanding what
comprises a social media plan I suggest you read this blog post by Brannon
Cullum on Movement.org: http://www.movements.org/how-to/entry/how-to-craft-a-social-media-strategy-to-advance-your-cause/
Lawrence Peters specializes in ideas and solutions for media companies
and nonprofits. He is an advocate of ad tracking and response measurement for
Direct Response / E-commerce companies and charities. He is a proponent of
permissions-based push marketing through social media and email campaigns. And,
he is curious about all things media. Follow him at @CuriousOvrMedia.
The Idea Factory