Don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket

publication date: Sep 24, 2012
 | 
author/source: Simren Deogun
The topic of social media was in full swing at this year's Digital Leap for naysayers and aficionados alike. Dare I say that charities are taking notice of social media and, as such, taking it seriously? This is a good thing; it's good for digital and good for marketing.Simren Deogun photo

Julie Fiorini and Brock Warner's session reported on social media usage by the top 1,000 charities in Canada as part of an online study conducted by Stephen Thomas and Ajah. Fifty-four percent have an obvious social media presence on their homepage. I wonder where that needle will have moved by Digital Leap 2013. 

Shiny, yes, but successful? 

With the recent explosion of Pinterest, the increasing prominence of Facebook, and social gaming continuing its foray into the spotlight, I can't help but worry about the shininess of social. What is shiniest certainly (and logically) attracts the most attention. But as a direct/digital marketer, I want to ask those 540 charities what their social media success looks like. 

I wouldn't call myself a naysayer, just cautionary! I'm active in the social media universe, but it is a channel best tested, then tested again. 

It won't make up for other weaknesses 

So maybe you want to try one egg first or even half an egg. There's nothing wrong with that. 

Just remember - and this is crucial - that social media will only be as successful as the weakest link in your marketing chain. Don't bet on it being your golden egg if you haven't yet done the following:      
  • Developed a basic digital strategy 
  • Implemented an online fundraising solution 
  • Had the channel integration conversation 
And if you're at that point where social media makes sense, then jump in with plan, policy and resources in place. Keeping your eggs Grade A should be your primary objective. 

Okay, egg analogy over! 

Simren Deogun is Digital Account Manager at Stephen Thomas (ST), a Toronto-based marketing, communications, and fundraising agency exclusively serving nonprofits. She is responsible for devising marketing strategies and managing the digital team's accounts and projects. Before joining ST, she honed her skills in project management, direct and integrated marketing in the technology sector. 

At ST, her clients include the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario and BC divisions, the Canadian Diabetes Association, Kids Help Phone, The Hospital for Sick Children, Surf Life Saving (Australia), and Médecins Sans Frontières. 

For more information, simrend@stephenthomas.ca, on Twitter @SimrenDeogun, or www.stephenthomas.ca


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