Facebook IPO Means Nonprofits Have to Get Serious About Social Media Advertising
The web is awash with posts about Facebook and its initial public offering (IPO). There are dozens of reports relating it to the other social media giants Yahoo and Google, and in particular, much is being said about the future of online advertising.
With each passing day another study is conducted showing more and more companies are opting to decrease traditional paid media in favor of online advertising and earned media. More than 50% of the Fortune 500 now claim blogs, and post anywhere from once to five times per day. An even higher number of similar companies have twitter accounts, and use the micro-blogging service for everything from customer support to sending out coupons.
But what does this all mean for Facebook's IPO, and more importantly, what does it mean to the thousands of nonprofits who have been relying on Facebook as the primary source of readership and connection.
I think Heidi Cohen, online marketing genius, summed it up best in the last paragraph of this very astute post about social media advertising. She believes that with Facebook now beholden to stockholders, advertising costs on the site will rise. This mean nonprofits will have to be really smart about how and where they place ads on Facebook, and all the more important that nonprofits seek new, and innovative ways to reach supporters.
For example, the Scleroderma Foundation, for its national advocacy call-in day, chose to work with social media trendsetter OrgSpring to develop an innovative crowd-sourcing campaign whereby supporters do all the advertising on Facebook for the organization. For this particular campaign, OrgSpring designed three Facebook timeline cover pics and one standard facebook profile picture, each with information supporting Scleroderma's mission. The organization then asked followers and friends of followers to replace their Facebook profile pictures with the ones developed for the campaign.
The results were phenomenal, and helped introduce the organization to thousands of new fans and friends, not to mention helping the organization get one step closer to its goal - passing legislation that allocated more research funding for the disease, which to date, has no known cure.
Social media is, and always will be, one thing...social. Despite the rising costs of advertising, to reach new supporters and to build active donor bases, nonprofits must remain on the forefront of technology, while still delivering core information to supporters. A tall order for most, but one within reach for nonprofits that seek help from the pros.