Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How nonprofits can take advantage of evolving social media


So, remember when I talked about how the nonprofit world could rock social media in 2009? Take that, and stir in a heaping helping of 10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2009, as outlined by Ravit Lichtenberg on ReadWriteWeb.

I'm really digging this article because it articulates everything I've been trying and failing miserably to explain in my evolving role as content strategist/evangelist over this past year. Chiefly, with intentional overtones of Soylent Green ... social media is PEOPLE! It's PEOPLE! (Oh, and it's meaning, value, convenience, and monetization, but you can read the article for all that.)

So with all Ravit's points swirling in my head, I have a couple predictions to make for those of us who see the world through a do-good lens:

The nonprofit sector's shared principles will give it a leg up during this shift back to human connection. Nonprofits are built on, around, and from the heart. I dare you to find any socially driven organization that doesn't in some way come back to people and their rights/health/safety/wellbeing/name-your-mission-here.

Better yet, nonprofits thrive on creating and serving communities, which means they have built-in audiences that can kickstart the social media interactions ... if they can get them online.

Which brings me to my other point ...

The nonprofit sector's general operating practices will be its Achilles heel if it can't meet changing communication and tech needs. Not many nonprofits had the incredible access to tech acumen and resources as we did at the foundation. Nor do many orgs have the ability to hire a large enough communications staff to accommodate the rapidly expanding number of channels.

Their challenge, therefore, will be to learn quickly and choose wisely (and appropriately). They don't have to do it all, but they need to do at least some of it. Best to figure out a plan and budget now for bringing your org on board.

And a special note to nonprofit writers and communicators:
What should really get you jazzed about Ravit's predictions is the clear indication that content will still be king, queen, and various and asundry dukes. Get on the stick with studying what copy techniques work best for each platforms, inventing new ones, and injecting your personality where you can.

Remember, your job is this evolving age is to connect, not sell or reach or capture. Achieve that crucial distinction, and your organization will have much to thank you for!

Photo by Erica_Marshall

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