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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Social Media - You’re Not Herding Sheep, You’re Tending a Garden



Jim Anderson at GoalBusters Consulting shares key differences between social media and traditional marketing. Here’s a preview of the topic he and Alice Ferris, ACFRE, will explore in depth at AFP’s TechKnow Conference this June in Orlando, Fla.

As we integrate social media into our organizational plans, I think it's important to always remember the word “social” is more important than the word “media.”

Social media is a powerful communication and engagement tool. But successful implementation of these diverse tools requires as much art as science. The tried and true techniques and concepts of marketing, promotion and communication still apply. Of course we need to understand who our fans and followers are (demographics) and why they care about us (interests and values).  But we also want to know why they first made contact online (motivations and lifestyles) so that we might continue to provide them satisfying and meaningful content and the richest possible experience. Understanding who they are and what motivates them allows us to communicate with them more effectively, which empowers us to more successfully predict, encourage and guide action.

But with social media, traditional one-way “push” marketing will never be as effective as interactive, consumer driven “pull” marketing can be. If we only treat fans and followers as a remote audience or a target market we’ll never maximize the potential of social media as a conduit to create and deepen relationships between our online communities and our causes, services and organizations.

Traditional marketing primarily served “us.” Social media marketing requires that we serve our community first. If we serve them in a meaningful way, they’ll become more engaged and deeply connected to us. If they feel as though they are connected, then they care more. If they care more, they will be more likely to take action. And if they’re willing to take action on our behalf, they become more aligned with our issues and interests, which helps achieve our organizational goals and deepen their lifetime connection with us. At this point, we’re no longer a cause they give to. We become a “personal value” that informs who they are.

We’re not wranglers trying to manipulate and prod our “herds.” We don’t “own” our social media. We’re more like gardeners. And we’re trying to grow a social media community which will never sprout if we fail to provide fertile ground and nourishment. It will never thrive, blossom, nor bear fruit if we fail to actively respond to and tend to its unique needs. As responsible social media gardeners, our most important responsibilities are watering the flowers and plucking the weeds.

Jim Anderson and Alice Ferris, ACFRE are partners in GoalBusters Consulting. They’ll co-present “Plug In! Hard-wiring Social Media Relationships” at the AFP TechKnow Conference  in Orlando, Florida (June 4-5, 2012). Register Now for this exceptional education and professional development experience. You’ll learn from industry experts and peer practitioners what the potential offered by new technologies can do to supercharge your fundraising! The early bird deadline for TechKnow is March 13. Act Now for the greatest savings and to secure your seat at this cutting edge conference.

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AFP TechKnow Event Highlights

Don’t miss general session presenter Carlos Dominguez, senior vice president, office of chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, and also the following distinguished speakers…

Laura Howe, vice president, public relations, American National Red Cross will present “Tale of the Tweet-Using Social Media to Build Motivated Supporters”

Penelope Burk, president, Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., will present “Performance Metrics in Donor-Centered Fundraising”

Adrian Sargeant, Ph.D., international fundraising consultant, will present “Building Donor Loyalty”
Plus, click here to see all the great education sessions that you can attend at TechKnow.

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