Monday, March 3, 2014

Are Non-Profits Using Social Media Strategically?

I recently pinned an infographic with data about foundation use of social media platforms. It is interesting, but not surprising. Selected data from the infographic shows that:

Facebook is the most popular platform by a considerable margin. Note that blogging was not included as a platform even though my guess is that it is widely used.

The majority of foundation users of social media do not have a formal strategy.

That's unfortunate, because a majority think social media is useful in several respects.

A recent study of non-profit organizations showed similar results. Facebook, used by 82% of the responding non-profits, was far and away the most popular. Twitter came in second with only 54% of using the platform. This study asked about blogging and that found only 32% have blogs while 48% host online discussion forums, which is an interesting juxtaposition.

Two things strike me. The first is to wonder whether Facebook is most used for its strategic value or for its familiarity. If it is a platform favored by the target audience of the non-profit, that's good. If it's a platform with which non-profit marketers are themselves familiar, that makes the choice questionable.

The second is to wonder about the nature of use of social platforms. Facebook and Twitter are excellent for announcements--programs and events, for example. Relatively little use is being made of platforms which convey in-depth information--blogging and YouTube as two good examples.

Non-profits need to make the best use of their resources, which are often scarce. Non-strategic use of social media is certainly not a best practice.

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