The number one cardinal sin of social media


Heather Mansfield wrote a post last week documenting the 10 common mistakes made by nonprofits on social media. Heather lists everything from not adding social icons to your website to not blogging, among others. However, there is one mistake Heather did not list. That is not owning your own audience. Owning your own audience goes back to the very basics of any business development strategy, both online and offline. If you don’t own your audience, how do you expect to grow your business?

Here’s my reply to Heather’s post:

“I think the biggest failing with nonprofits and cultural organisations, is not owning their own audience. Facebook, Twitter and social media networks are fantastic to grow your reach and connect with your audience. But if you don’t own your audience and your audience is based on other services outside your own database; then organizations are not harnessing the potential for social media enough. Gather email addresses everywhere, get to know your audience. Think of each relationship as a long ball game and converse rather than broadcast. Social media is a real boon to the nonprofit sector in terms of time and budget. Owning your audience and building a strategy around the customer journey is the key to success here. The cart before the horse so to speak. Thanks for your post.”

When utilising social media think about how you will own your audience, how will you get the most from each interaction. Don’t forget about the real world either. In the past week I have attended two events, a play and a really fine exhibition. In both cases, not one email address was gathered or any testimonials recorded. The play had a full house on the night I attended and the exhibition sold quite a number of pieces. Golden opportunities for continued conversation were lost. In each case, audience members were eager to attend. Any information about these participants were lost at a time easiest to engage with them – at the event.

For nonprofits and all business and cultural organisations, think about linking up your online and offline activities. Own your own audience and don’t continue to make the number one cardinal sin a reality for you.

Image: (CC) owaief89