Leadership, Resources

Why you Probably Shouldn’t bother with Social Media

Here we go again with another of my commentaries on how charities use blogs, facebook, twitter, youtube and the like. (Previous thoughts here, here, here, and here). The Stronger Together 2010 funding process revealed clearly that many Canadian charities are wondering what to do with this new media. And, unfortunately, in my opinion some of them are moving in exactly the wrong directions. Social media is not magic, it doesn’t create immediate revenue, and it isn’t the secret to reaching a new generation. It is an amalgam of a variety of tools that can be used to extend opportunities for you to o the two things you should be doing in every medium and situation: delivering value and building relationships. The key to understanding web 2.0 is that the internet is no longer a one way street. It’s much more like a neighbourhood barbecue than a concert hall. Everyone talks, everyone offers input and opinions. Viral is an appropriate word. Those who continue to want to simply broadcast their message without discussion will quickly find themselves strangers in a strange land. You can’t control your brand anymore, you can’t control your audience. Unless your organization as a whole is prepared for the uncertainty of an environment where your critics have as much access as your fans, and where your weaknesses will be magnified at least equally to your successes, it’s better to just stay home with a static website and hope you can still be found by those who need you. Read this excellent interview with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) to get a glimpse of the new reality. And, by the way, there’s not really anything new about this. Delivering value and meaningful relationships have always been the key to your success, but it used to be easier to stick your head in the sand and pretend you were in control.