Invest in Your Platform: Social Media Is Fickle

Kevin D. Hendricks
Invest in Your Platform: Social Media Is Fickle

Don’t put all your marketing eggs in someone else’s basket. On social media, someone else controls your marketing investment. They can change the rules. Your nonprofit needs to invest in platforms you control. 

Why it matters: Nonprofit resources are limited. Invest in a platform that can’t be taken away.

Social Media vs. Marketing Lists

Customers can always opt out of mailing lists or stop following you on social media. That choice is always in their hands. But access to those customers varies greatly between mailing lists and social media.

  • Mailing list: You own the list. You decide how frequently to contact them. You can export your list and switch to a different provider at any time. 
  • Social media: Another company owns your list of followers. Your access could be cut off or seriously hampered at any time. And there’s definitely no way to export followers and go somewhere else.

Build Your List

Nonprofits need to invest in platforms they own. Focus on building your own list. Encourage people to sign up for text, email, and even snail mail. That’s a contact list you control.

  • You’ll have a dedicated way to reach those supporters regardless of what some upstart tech company wants to try next.
  • It’s easy to like, it’s harder to subscribe. Folks opting into your list are more committed.
  • You can track more data on your own lists and better understand your supporters. 

Tip: Here's how to move people from follower to subscriber.

The Problem With Social

So what’s wrong with social media? Your marketing hopes and dreams rely on someone else’s whims. 

  • One algorithm change and your thriving social media channel is crickets. 
  • A hostile takeover could send users fleeing for the exit.
  • Government regulation could limit or ban use.

That’s the danger of investing in a platform you don’t own. 

Don’t Abandon Social Media

But don’t give up on social media. There’s no shortage of viral success stories on social. You’d be crazy to ignore it completely. 

Just be careful of over-investing. 

There’s a place for social media in your marketing mix. For example, you need a place where people can discover you. Social media is ideal for discovery. 

Find Your Balance

Bottom line: You need to find the right balance. Social media has its place, but build an audience that can’t be held hostage by a tech company. Invest in owned lists like texting to give your marketing strategy the right balance.