Nonprofit New Year’s resolution: Embrace social media

By Collin Lessing, JVA Consulting

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with what I want my 2011 New Year’s resolution to be. I could probably improve my diet or exercise more, but neither of those resolutions are really doing it for me. In the next few days, I’ll lock down my resolution—I just want to make sure it’s the right one.

In the meantime, if there’s one resolution that I hope to see in 2011, it’s more nonprofits embracing social media as part of their marketing activities. At our workshops at JVA, we often witness apprehension on the part of organizations about taking on social media marketing. The most common fears that people at our workshops express about using social media as an extension of their organizations are:

“What if somebody writes something bad about my organization on our page?”

“I don’t know how to control social media, so I’m afraid I’ll lose control or never really have control of it.”

“I don’t know the first thing about using social media/technology, so I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

These are all valid concerns but they don’t have to be barriers. As a marketing guy with a background in advertising, I also had reservations about social media marketing when it first started gaining momentum in recent years. In advertising, you come to appreciate and rely on having 100 percent control of the message down to the slightest details in punctuation and graphic design. For myself, I had to become comfortable with the fact that social media marketing is in many ways about relinquishing some of that control—and that’s why it works.

If your nonprofit isn’t, using social media yet here are few reasons why you should include this in your New Year’s resolution for 2011:

  1. Facebook received more visits in 2010 than Google.
  2. Despite what some may think, social media transcends generations. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is adults ages 55 and over.
  3. Your donors and stakeholders are already there so take advantage of this inexpensive opportunity to engage them!

If you have fears about social media or are ready to include social media in your marketing plan, JVA Consulting has workshops and Webinars throughout the year to help you get started. Visit our 2011 training calendar to see what’s being offered and to register.

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