Social Media is defined as the “social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks”, according to Wikipedia. Posting on social media sites is now the expected global norm amongst individuals and organisations.
According to the Digital Down Under report, Australians are online an average of 18.8hours a day. Which probably isn’t surprising when you consider that every time a social media user has something interesting (or not) to share, they post it on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Google+, Pinterest, their Blog, Digg – and the list goes on. And then they have to go back and check how many of their followers have liked, shared, and commented….Phew!
While there’s no doubt social media plays an important role in expanding our reach, networks and engagement, it is not a replacement for genuine human interaction.
Social Media is about quantity, reaching out to as many people as possible. However it is the quality of relationships that really drives people to give. Therefore it is important to find a happy medium where social media enhances the real connection you have with your supporters. Here are our three top tips for finding the right balance…..
Tip #1 – It’s the supporting roles that make a star
A recent study conducted by O’Keefe & Partners identified that the key reasons people donate are: respect, altruism and personal connection. To achieve these key motivators, a lot of background work needs to take place involving a strong element of human interaction to nurture the relationship between an organisation and a donor. However a social media strategy has an important supporting role to play. A social media strategy that promotes the key messages you are discussing with your supporters, can help start a real-life conversation or reinforce your message.
Tip #2 – All communication is not equal
One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7% by the words used, 38% by voice quality, and 55% by the nonverbal communication. These figures could perhaps be translated to provide a guideline for cultivating donors in this new digital age. A sensible division of your time in cultivating a donor would be 50% on face-to-face, 40% on the phone and 10% communicating online.
Tip #3 – Increase equity in the human touch
It is much easier to sit behind a PC, laptop, iPad, iPhone and ping emails off, post articles on social media platforms – all while you’re in your pyjamas. Consequently people are starting to place greater value in the human touch. Greater usage of social media can create opportunities to truly wow your donors and prospective supporters with a personal note or phone call.
Social Media in fundraising is still in its infancy, but it is growing quickly in prominence.
Now is the perfect time for organisations in the third sector to start experimenting. Give yourself the time and space to learn the technology and make some inevitable mistakes. By staying ahead of the curve, your organisation is more likely to be perceived as “innovative” and “relevant” – something that will give you the edge in a competitive environment.