Thou Shalt: 10 Musts for MySpace Advocacy-Building
Online social-networking sites offer nonprofit organizations a free, easy way to spread their message and acquire supporters.
MySpace is one such site, where users can set up personalized profile pages with their own blog, photos, music and videos and connect with a network of friends. It has more than 100 million registered users and, according to a comScore Media Metrix report released in early October 2006, more than half of them are age 35 or older.
Nonprofit organizations have begun to see the value in joining MySpace and creating a profile for their organization as a means of branding and advocacy building. But in the white paper “The Ten Commandments of MySpace Advocacy,” Marc Ruben, senior consultant for M+R Strategic Service, says before your organization dives into MySpace and launches a campaign, it should:
1) Decide if MySpace is right for your organization. MySpace works for some nonprofits not because it has a slew of users, but because it’s a great place to engage young people. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Smaller networks with a different demographic might be more effective for your organization.
2) Let go the reins of control. You can’t examine every word of every person’s profile who wants to become your friend. “If you or your lawyers are not comfortable with the fact that you’re going to lose some control over content, MySpace probably isn’t right for you,” Ruben writes.
3) Accept that the pay-off might not be immediate. MySpace is a place where users make friends. According to Ruben, “converting those friends to activists and/or donors will likely be a long-term process.”
4) Pay attention to the buzz. See who’s already talking about/advocating for your organization on MySpace. There already may be a user-generated profile for your organization set up by supporters. Perhaps someone is blogging about your work. If people are talking more about your organization on other social-networking sites, it may be wise to focus your energies on those sites.