Why Social Media Fails and 5 Steps to Avoid Failure

Search Engine Watch has a post on their website today explaining why many companies fail at their on line efforts to reach out to their customers. We can easily adapt the message to nonprofits who rely on the internet as an inexpensive form of engagement and advertising.

Here are the 5 main reasons why social media efforts often fail as identified by Liana Evans, and my comments for nonprofits on the five categories she identified.

1. Identify Your Audience – many nonprofit agencies forget to think about their target audience. This is a basic marketing concept that often gets left behind after the launch.

2. Define Your Success Measurements – just like any funder wants now, you need to know how will you measure your outcomes. Is it the number of people who visit your site, the number who buy your product online, or anything else?

3. Plan a Strategy that Includes All Stakeholders – Be the nonprofit with the plan. Is social media built into your strategic plan yet? Without a plan you are just shooting from the hip and are destined to fail.

4. Be Transparent – Let people know who you are and what you are about. Tell them about your board, staff, history, programs, successes, etc.

5. Recognize that It’s Not About You – Social media is more than just a place to post your shingle on the world wide web. It’s a place to give people a voice in the work that you do. You may not like what they have to say about you, but then again, you can see what needs to be fixed, updated or attended to with a greater priority than you might have previously thought.

What are some of the failures you might have had with social media? Did you start using it and stop suddenly? Did you get negative feedback? How have you embraced any failures? Please share in the comments section.

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