Social media might not be raising scads of money for nonprofits just yet, but it sure is a fascinating study in customer/donor relationships. It used to be that communications with donors/customers was akin to a big ol' megaphone that marketers shouted into and just waited for their one-sided messages to resonate with the masses. But the marketing megaphone has long been retired. Now communications are decidedly two-way — or should be.
I've been liking a lot of Facebook pages lately, both corporate and nonprofit. And I've noticed three main approaches that the keepers of those pages seem to take: The Acquaintance, The Best Friend and The Fake Friend.
The Acquaintance: These companies/organizations have a solid presence on social media. They post frequently, but not obnoxiously so. They post insider news that's only marginally interesting, but they balance it with things like simple polls, questions, etc. Not a lot of back-and-forth with posters — but they at least keep their pages lively, and you get a sense that your voice will be heard there. Enterprise Rent-A-Car's page is a good example of this perfectly acceptable — if not overly ambitious — approach.
The Best Friend: These companies/organizations have got it going on. Sure, they post about deals and sales and merchandise, etc., but it's cool because more often than that, their posts are engaging and meant to draw people into conversations. They post fun facts, challenges and questions designed to make you think; they respond to people's comments; and they proactively seek to start and nurture relationships. The shining star of The Best Friend Approach has got to be the Pepperidge Farm Milanos Cookies Page. I wrote about it a while back when Pepperidge Farm sent me a box of cookies for being an involved fan. I find this to be the case, as well, with many of the crafters I support. They're savvy enough to know that people are going to respond best to social-media pages that court them and their business while also engendering a sense of camaraderie. I know more about some of these artists' lives than I do about some of the people I've met "in real life." When I have to buy a gift or feel the need to indulge myself, these pages and the people behind them are the first place I look.