Reach Your Audience Where Your Audience Already Is!

Raheel Gauba - 05.22.2009

The recent boom in social networking has brought about enough of a shift in the way people use the Internet that it has completely altered the way organizations think about their online strategy.  Most organizations maintain a stubborn point of view that their website is the center of everything they do and that any other online presence only detracts from their own website.

 

I agree with 50% of that statement. The website IS the epicenter of your organization online, however, it is not the ONLY initiative or activity that you must conduct online. Let me explain...

  • Your organization's website is a marketing vehicle that also serves the dual purpose of helping achieve organizational goals via interactive capabilities (donation forms, event registration, new account sign up, etc.)
  • Most organizations use eCampaigns, newsletters, print marketing, adwords /  PPC campaigns and event marketing among other strategies to promote their website and all it has to offer

Let’s think about this for a minute - Not only are some of the above methods limited in terms of a wide audience reach, but they can become pretty expensive as well! An organization may have the best looking website with cutting edge features, but none of it matters if you are not able to reach your audience effectively!

Enter Facebook... here are some facts:

  • Number of users: 200 million + (Highest concentration of target audience at your disposal)
  • 100 million + people log on to Facebook at least once each day (Some people don’t even check their email that often!)
  • More than two thirds of users outside of college (This is no longer a network targeted only at the young)
  • Fastest growing demographic: Age 35+ (See more at Inside Facebook)

Over the last six months or so I’ve observed more and more people using Facebook as their primary means of electronic communication rather than email. With the growth of social networking and "connected" technologies, this trend will only continue to increase. Anyone care to take a guess about what change this will bring to your primary communication vehicle known as email in a few years?

Key take away:

Your audience is moving to a new paradigm of connectivity - Treat social networks as another marketing vehicle to communicate with them and increase awareness of your organization, mission and...your website! The added bonus of $0 cost for software is hard to beat!

Then use the power of many to start a viral growth and increase awareness of your mission.

Some easy steps to start:

  • Create a Facebook group
  • If you have the budget, get in touch with companies like FreeCause to help you build a Facebook app (They have a solution that integrates with Sphere and NetCommunity as well)
  • Start with the inner circle of friends and invite them to join your group (or app) and encourage them to help spread the word on your behalf
  • Communicate with your Facebook fans as often as you communicate with your constituents through other means
  • This, of course, requires that you have an effective communication strategy in the first place
  • Watch your community grow - Make sure you are always directing your users to your website where you have even more information about your cause and mission along with interactive tools to integrate with your system of record
  • Don't be afraid - Not doing anything in this digitally connected age is scarier than experimenting - And when you do, I guarantee that you will become addicted!

If you have completed the above steps, congratulations, you have taken the first step in reaching your audience where they already are - they feel comfortable there and are in complete control of the information they want to consume there - You are now connecting with your audience more effectively... and you are doing so, on their terms - a win-win situation, really!

Facebook statistics source: Facebook


 

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