I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how non-profits can use social networking to their advantage. What's important to remember is that social networking is just a new way of generating word-of-mouth (or WOM) marketing.
photo credit: Dano
WOM is the one thing that money can't buy. It must be earned, cultivated, and maintained. the good news is that spreading the word is something that non-profits are good at anyway. In fact, non-profits are - for the most part - doing a better job of using Web 2.0 tools than their for profit counterparts, precisely because it's a natural thing for people that are engaged with a cause to talk about it amongst their peers.
It's not enough, though, to assume that your organization's word-of-mouth will take care of itself. The stakes are simply too high. Consider this post detailing the economic impact of Social Marketing from Esther Lim at the Crimson Consulting Group:
I think it's fair to assume that these metrics translate from the for-profit, to the non-profit sector. What would your organization be willing to invest in terms of time and resources to achieve a 1% growth rate? For a $3 million dollar agency, that translates into $30,000 - the size of a respectable grant.
- Companies enjoying higher levels of word of mouth advocacy such as HSBC, Asda, Honda and O2 - grew faster than their competitors
- Companies suffering from low levels of word of mouth advocacy and high levels of negative word of mouth grew slower than their competitors
- 7% increase in word of mouth advocacy unlocks 1% additional company growth
- 2% reduction in negative word of mouth boosts sales growth by 1%
- For the average company, a 1% increase in word of mouth advocacy equated to $16M extra sales
Source: London School of Economics, Harvard Business Review