Photo by PixelFarmer - Zen Mutt (a rescue dog) - Title "Precision"
The NpTech Tag Summary went on hiatus to give some space to rethink, reinvent -- again. Conversations are getting more distributed and it is getting increasingly difficult to use tagging to discover, aggregate, and summarize them. I'm moving beyond monitoring the NpTech tagged items and meta feeds to incorporate nuggets from micro media sources, nptech bloggers, friend feeds, and networks.
The summaries will be briefer, focused on a social media theme or a social media question related to practice. I hope to go deeper on one theme rather than cover many resources superficially.
We are in the very early stages of how nonprofits and social activists can leverage social networking applications for good causes and just learning what works and what doesn't. I think there are a couple of things that need to be happen before we get to best practices and knowing precisely what works.
Nonprofits need to look at objectives and resources, target their audiences, and think about multi-channel efforts before jumping on the Let's Use Facebook bandwagon. (I think this applies to all social media - see the Cute Dog Theory for more) Activists need to better understand the psychology of Facebook apps and perhaps revise their campaign strategies. Facebook application developers who want to help change the world and work with nonprofits and activists need to better understand how Facebook culture and behavior meshes with activism and fundraising behaviors and workflow.
I raised a question about that last point in the FriendFeed NpTech Room. I may be way off. But as more and more FB apps developers approach nonprofits and nonprofits hone best practices -- I think more dialog and understanding will lead to more effective tools (and multi-channel strategies).
Photo by AllSpice1 (Can you tell how it has been photoshopped?)
In a post titled "Why Social Network Marketing Misses Out: Playing Solitaire at a Party" suggests a fourth reason -- not leveraging the networked effect.
Have you noticed that the card game solitaire doesn’t make for a good party game? It’s the same thing when it comes to social networks. Social networks are about self expression, communication, and networking and sharing with others –it’s more akin to social card games like poker, gin, or even mah jong. The core elements of these games encourage sharing, trading, communicating with other players of the party.
So, as you start to shop around for ideas to meet your objectives for your social marketing activities, remember that repurprosing the traditional microsites is missing out on the social behaviors that are native to social networks."
Geoff Livingston makes a good point about why some efforts using Facebook have not raised huge dollar amounts. He warns us about getting seduced by Shiney Object Syndrome, a common problem where one does not have a target the audience precisely or use a multi-channel strategy - and just sets up a Facebook Cause or Fan Page. Sort of a 2008 version of build it and they will come syndrome we saw in the 1990's ...
As Geoff points out:
What’s the secret sauce? Not buying into social media/Facebook hype .... Precision targeting with intelligent integrated outreach across diverse media yields results.
I totally agree with the point about multi-channel campaigns - it has been my experience too with Facebook and other social media tools (as documented in these case studies).
He also describes some issues with the interaction design of Causes:
In addition, the Social Cause app does not let non-profits a) access the contact information of members b) update members on the cause or c) even send them a receipt for donations, and of course, market again. Instead a third party handles all touches. This is a disaster for cause marketers who simply can’t follow up or integrate with other initiatives.
These insights are not new for nonprofits. Allan Benamer, of the Nonprofit Tech Blog points out that "It’s been suggested Causes has numerous problems in its business logic that seems to stem from a lack of understanding of the giving process. For one thing, it’s very difficult for nonprofits who are actually interested in engaging Causes users to engage that group. Causes doesn’t have a specific backend interface for would-be nonprofit administrators to deal with a Causes members list."
Dan Schultz makes a similar observation in his recent publication "Guide To Facebook Activism" published by Digiactive, a five-month-old site devoted to digital activism. He says, "Facebook may be free, but it has not been designed to suit your needs as an activist organizer. This means you will find that the site's functionality does not always match what you need. You will have to stretch what's there in order to be effective."
Let's also not forget that we have lots to learn about the next generation of donors and how we integrate strategies to reach them using social media.
What do you think gets in the way to "best practices"? Is it only shiny object syndrome? Could it be the interaction design and lack of precision of the tool? Could be not having a multi-channel strategy? Is missing out on how to leverage the networked effect? What do you think?
The NpTech Tag started as an experimental community tagging project in 2005. A loosely coupled group of nonprofit techies and social change activists decided to use the tag "NpTech" to identify web resources that would create an ongoing stream of information to promote and educate those working in nonprofit technology. Through TechSoup's Netsquared project, blogger Beth Kanter, was commissioned to write a weekly summary.
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