Tomorrow I'm teaching a build a blog workshop at the Academy for Non-Profit Excellence. I have to hand it to Chicago non-profits, next month Beth Kantor will be keynoting at Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections event.
If non-profits get that they need to communicate to their communities where they are [hint: online], why don't most companies? After all, they're the ones that have more money for marketing, right?
True, but do they know how to spend it?
To me, that's where non-profits have the advantage: they know how to budget.
They have to. After working with the oldest and largest home health care agency in the western suburbs for six years, I took a turn at internal communications for a Fortune 500 company. Walking in with a non-profit budget mind set shocked them - and their pricey consultants. Seeing no need for superfluous costs like an $86,000 image of an old telephone [no, that is not a typo], I quickly cut through fat, fat, fat and slenderized my internal clients' communications.
How much does social media cost? What's the return on investment? Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer suggests that social media is for your people, not your bottom line.
Social networking doesn't have to cost a lot, but it does require a precious resource: time.
Still, as Gary Vaynerchuk says in this video, the smallest interchange could be your biggest tipping point.
I agree. After wading around for awhile in social networks, I've seen some people and companies take off from obscurity to notoriety in a few weeks. Why? They participate - a lot. But, doesn't that take a lot of time?
Shel Holtz, a frequent speaker I enjoyed learning from at the aforementioned Fortune 500, takes on the blogging takes too much time objection. Aiming his answer at the CEO level, Shel's advice also works for entrepreneurs and non-profits. [hat tip to Media Bullseye for this post and Jason Fall's post]
Shel says blogging could actually take less time and be more effective than some of the communications methods you're using now. I often argue that blogging can stand in for frequently asked questions, case studies, customer service orientations, new prospect introductions and other communications that take place on a day to day basis. Most people get that.
It's when you start talking about how people can carry on a conversation about their organization in a public space like a blog or twitter that gets them worried. "Well, uh, what would they say?," they frown and ask, nervously. "Wouldn't you like to know?" I smile and ask, confidently.
How do you make time to interact with other people online?
Truth or dare: Who's your social crush?
[Thanks to The Weekend Nanny for the social crush inspiration, which comes from a story about her charming charges.]