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What is social media?

Social media makes it easier to create and distribute content and to discuss the things we care about. It represents a shift in how people find, read and share information, news and content. It fosters human connections through a shift from a monologue mode (one-to–many) to a dialogue mode (many-to-many) which is typically carried out on a one-to-one basis.

There are only two reasons why any organisation will fail to create benefit from social media - either they're not engaged in it or they're simply not using it well. Most commonly the problem with the latter is a lack of commitment to a plan aimed squarely at success based on incremental steps.

Many large corporations are succeeding in social media because they can afford the time and resources. Smaller organisations may see this as a barrier to success, however, social media is tailor-made for building business and campaigns, if you can understand your particular niche and work progressively within the parameters of your resources.

If you’re not fully leveraging the power of social media, relax, you’re not alone. Most organisations are just now getting started with social media.

Social media marketing has the potential to be the most powerful profile and business-building tool ever. Now any organisation can directly reach supporters, anytime and anyplace. They use social media to gain more exposure, to better engage supporters and to benefit their organisation.

New thinking

Social media prompts two major imperatives for organisations:

  1. To have an online plan as part of your organisational and communications plan – see our recommended planning model here.
  2. To push out and away from your own fortress (website) to where your supporters can be found.

We like to think of the internet as ‘infrastructure (connected networks) and any website as simply a piece of ‘real estate’. It then follows that no two websites should necessarily be the same and that any website can be purpose-built for the task.

If you accept the idea that your organisation website should not be regarded as the sum total of your online activity, it makes sense to think about how to use social media more effectively by having a strong web platform of your own.

A campaign website can do that for you. It acknowledges that social media operates on other peoples' websites and that your organisation website may not offer the ideal platform for dynamic public engagement; things like building public support, profile raising and fundraising. Therefore, the campaign website (purpose built for this purpose) should be considered as part of a sound online plan.

Introduction to social media

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