Geoff Livingston live blogged the Network Solutions Solutions Stars Video Conference -- by a team of Internet marketing and social media rock stars. The advice is geared for small businesses, not nonprofits, but a lot of it relevant and translatable. The topics addressed include:
- Building Web Presence
- The Social Opportunity
- Start with Listening
- Strategy Drives Outreach
- You Need Social Networks
- To Blog or Not to Blog
- Visibility Through Search
- Rising Above the Noise
- Time Demands
One of the messages that came through from this group of experts is that social media can give you a lot of return for your investment. That investment is staff time as many of the tools are free. Then again, time is one of the most valuable resources a nonprofit has ... And, as Geoff points out social media does take time and it can take away from core operations - if you let it. Geoff offers some time management techniques for social media strategists or what I'd like to call "Social Productivity" (I'm developing a workshop on that one ...)
So, if you incorporate social media - and allocate the time - and no matter how efficient you are - something will have to give. Where does social media time/money fit within the overall web marketing budget? What are the right proportions?
It just so happened that after reading Geoff's posts .. via my social network I stumbled upon colleague Stephen Blyth musing about allocating money on a nonprofit web's strategy. Quoting some notes from a workshop presented at Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Bootcamp by Colin Delaney of ePolitics and Laura Quinn. (Resource list and Powerpoint Here)
Here's a screen capture of one of the slides that illustrates the structure they used:
They divided the pie into equal thirds as follows:
- Website (as a home base)
- Email Communication (to talk to your friends)
- Online Outreach (to reach new friends) (They included social media/networking, search engine optimization, etc)
They recommend that you allocate time and budget equally 1/3 between each.
This sounds good, but I wish that the sections were as clear cut as the illustration. Are those categories mutually really exclusive? I kept wanting to blend them ...
Especially after viewing this slide show and especially this slide ..
What do I know, maybe I'm drinking too much Koolaid, so here goes ..
Homebase: Home base is your website and it could also be your blog or both. Not everyone needs a web site and a blog - that age old question - to blog or not to blog? Some organizations consolidate. A blog is a form of social media and I wouldn't necessarily classify as "outreach." I might also add some of the costs of content creation for videos/podcasts/photos that live on your site (or blog) and on other social networking sites. And, of course, the cost ensuring that you have set up RSS feeds or what Chris Brogan classifies as "passports."
Outbound Communication: I'd put together all the one-way or "talking to you" tactics here. This is mostly email marketing -- crafting and putting out solid email communications - your email newsletter and CRM. Perhaps search engine optimization and search engine advertising costs. Email will probably not become extinct - so it is important to continue to track its effectiveness.
Online Outreach and Relationship Building: This would include time spent on setting up social networking profiles, uploading content on places like flickr or Youtube, etc. It would also include the time spent listening, participating, and joining the conversation. To prioritize your time, you might concentrate your activity on 1-3 sites, but there are some good reasons to at least set up a presence on many sites.
I've probably muddied the waters here. How are you thinking about the integration of social media into your overall Internet marketing budget? How are you making decisions about how you allocate your time and money on social media and in the context of your internet marketing budget? If you incorporate social media, what are you letting go of or cutting back on? Why?