Yesterday I suggested that fundraisers not go overboard with the resources you devote at this stage to social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Here is some more caution.

As reported by Mediapost, a recent study by market research firm IDG found that members of social networks tended to click on ads less than US internet users overall — nearly 80% of all US web users clicked on at least one ad in the past year, compared to only 57% of online social network users. Social net users also made half as many online purchases.

Said IDG: "The fact that people use social networking services for communications puts them in a mindset that is less receptive to advertising than when they are using other websites like Yahoo or Google." Nor do social net users want marketers to use them as conduits to deliver ads. Only 3% would allow publishers to use contact information (i.e., friends) for advertising.

A NY Times article (Dec 14) cited the IDG study while reporting on unsuccessful efforts by Proctor & Gamble to exploit social net sites and on "high traffic, low revenue" associated with leading social net sites. Observed reporter Randall Stross: "When advertisers invite members to come to pages dedicated to their products, they can attract visitors only by investing in expensive creative material or old-fashioned promotions like prize contests."

And from another social marketing maven, Chad Ciesel of WhittmanHart Interactive: "Every marketer should strive for viral and social distribution of content, yet very few create anything that people want to engage with, let alone share with their friends."

If you’re thinking about using social net sites for fundraising, you might want to check out these sources first. Then ask: What do I have that my donors will enthusiastically share?




This article was posted in: Communications, Media usage / trends, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing, Research.
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