Archive for March, 2012

Social Media

DATE: March 13th, 2012

The Urban Dictionary defines a Social Butterfly as: Someone who is VERY social and easygoing; can be either a male or a female. Usually these people don’t belong to a particular group, but rather jump from one group to another. They are somewhat accepted in all of them, but don’t really have any deep friendship connections in any of them.
Today’s digital environment is filled with butterfly-like activity… it’s hard to stay faithful when there are so many other interesting (or pinteresting) things to see.
FaceBook leads — with an estimated 750 million unique visitors every month. Twitter is second, but it’s not even close at 250 million. LinkedIn drops to 110 million and it’s down hill from there.
The rest capture the attention of small (under 100 million) numbers: My Space, Google+, Devianart, MyJournal, Tagged, Orkut, CafeMom, Ning, Meetup, MyLife, MyYearBook, Badoo all rank in the top 15.
Pinterest didn’t make the cut — the numbers were taken about a week ago and Pinterest has had a huge uptake in the past 24 hours.
As I play in the social media space, I have a few observations:
1. The social butterfly effect lives. Sara and Brian (on our team) are up on the latest, drawing their friendship circles with them. They change social media groups to reflect their culture. Their friends follow (or they follow their friends) Facebook, while still used, is a little crowded, passe and for older moms and stalking grandmothers.
2. Consumer trends are fascinating to follow on social media sites, but tracking them without spreadsheets of sales and revenue growth is detrimental to long term growth.
3. Social media is like PR — it’s nice to have, can build sales and acts a bit like word-of-mouth. Bad mouthing on social media sites will impact sales. Rim and Apple are good examples. The mood around each product is dictated by social media content. Conversations about your product will help sales — if you are a big player.
4. Fundraisers beware of investing significant money in social media. While it gets attention — it doesn’t raise money.
5. We’re still working it out. Farmville — a thrilling trend on FaceBook (OK, slightly sarcastic) — wore out. Sending game scores on your FaceBook feed is declaring your social status as “loser” (even if you’ve bejeweled yet another win).
I am not belittling the impact and power of social media. But as a professional communicator and marketing consultant, I am not jumping on an exclusive charter. Social media is one component of an integrated campaign. Our job as marketers is difficult, with each new social media enterprise we have to carefully consider our response. But, if all our friends are going there, we may have to follow.

Who moved my cheese…

DATE: March 5th, 2012

I know… the book is old, the comment is old, but the the complexity of change isn’t going anywhere.

Just before Christmas, I sat down with the development and communication leads of 9 different organizations. They were all interested in raising funds for international development. Our discussion revolved around two core questions: What’s changed and What’s our biggest challenge.

We are in a time of change. Social Media, while not yet contributing to huge gains in revenue, influences audiences. Increased competition impacts every organization. There are 25 PAGES of organizations raising funds for cancer on Canada Helps — 25 pages! (about 250 organizations). There is the perception that people are donating less. That’s an interesting perception, because, in fact, Canadians are still pretty strong responders, but, with the waning economy, there is some fear of decreased funds.

I think one of the biggest changes in the charitable landscape is the way we raise funds.

There are two extremes. On the one hand, non-profits are becoming much more sophisticated in getting their message out there. While volunteers are still vital contributors to promoting charitable causes, significant growth is more likely when organizations implement strategic communication tactics. One the other hand, many organizations are caught in the direct mail treadmill. We know that direct mail works, but it is getting more and more expensive. Without integrating tools and methods of fund development, direct mail soon becomes a demon to be controlled — it is essential to maintain the status quo, but increasing in cost.

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