Using Social Networks for Marketing

I have been working in Marketing and Development (fund-raising) for many years and have always been aware of how the mindset of the two disciplines differs. Marketing, and to some degree low-end fund raising, tends to be about being in-your-face. Keep on asking, stay front and centre all the time, sometimes even bombard people with materials with the thought that it can’t do any harm.
High end fund-raising is different. There is a term “moves management” which refers to the careful management of the relationship with the prospect. Sometimes years can be spent cultivating and stewarding a donor without any guarantee that there will be a payoff. But sometimes it can pay off very handsomely indeed, with a multi-million dollar gift or bequest.
It has recently occurred to me that the use of social networks by marketing has a lot in common with moves management and perhaps marketers could learn something from fund-raisers.
It is very difficult to measure the success of Twitter or Facebook unless there are direct click-throughs to you web-pages that can be measured on Google Analytics. But if all you are doing is posting links to you website and doing in-your-face marketing there is a good chance that you will be blocked or ignored on Twitter and Facebook and who is going to subscribe to your blog unless you have something really interesting to say or are offereing discounts every week?
In Development we offer many value-added experiences to our lower end donors, always trying to educate our donors or bring them closer to us. We want them to understand more about us and feel part of the family. The more engaged they feel the more that they (some of them at least, the ones who can afford it) want to support us in any way they can. It is sometimes very hard to justify the cost of these events to Management because they often don’t result in an immediate donation or upgrade.
I think that companies that want to use social media for marketing need to learn some of these same lessons. Don’t look for an immediate sale; build relationships, build trust, engage and educate your customers, give them something that interests them and keep them coming back for more. The payout is down the road but it will come, just keep managing the moves.

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