The key is to distinguish the real-life fans — the people who actually support your organization, donate, volunteer; people who talk about you and bring in more donors — from the number of overall Facebook fans and Twitter followers. It’s great that you have 50,000 Twitter followers, but how many of them actually support your cause and spread the message? Those are the people you really want to engage and target.
It all comes back to No. 3 above: Know what you want out of social media.
“One of the real pitfalls of social media is not knowing what to do with it,” Pullur says. “Who are your real fans? How are you going to engage them? Just acquisition itself does not mean anything.”
The real secret to the high clickthrough rates and enormous engagement potential of social media lies in what Pullur calls the human-filtering aspect.
“When people are talking about a product or organization online, they’re going to people who are like-minded, so there’s a human-filtering aspect, which is making it more effective,” he explains. “In other types of communications, you’re using analytics and deploying algorithms to decide if this particular user could be interested in this offer or not. In this case, if you wanted to go and refer something, you know people in your social circle (or social networks) who would be more interested in that product or organization or event than the others. Those are the people you’re going to share that with.
“The human-filtering aspect that’s playing out in the social-media world is what is generating this kind of clickthrough rate and engagement that’s unheard of. Social media brings in reach and helps filter the right user targets,” Pullur adds.
Pullur says that marketing is going through a transformation much like online did a decade ago. Social media is becoming a very important channel, one that’s becoming expected, the way every organization — from the biggest international and national nonprofits to the small, local charities — is expected to have a fully functional, easy-to-navigate website.