Social networking is great for charities. Done well it creates a much deeper relationship between charities, supporters, volunteers and end-users. But is there really room for one more? Kirsty Weakley asks.
As a supporter I can ‘like’ the Facebook page to get access to exclusive content, ‘follow’ it on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest breaking news and can now add it to a ‘circle’ on Google+ to…I’m not sure what yet, but I have spent a good two hours setting up my profile and adding people and organisations (mostly those I already follow on either Facebook or Twitter).
Google+ opened up to organisations at the beginning of the week and unsurprisingly charities have been among the first to set up pages, posting updates and attracting followers.
But where does Google+ really fit into the social media landscape? And can it really offer charities something different in terms of communication and relationship-building? Facebook has got the ‘added value’ area covered and Twitter is great for breaking news stories and instant reaction.
Charities are constantly being told that they need to be more engaged on social networks to develop relationships and doing this can take a surprising amount of time. Posting a status, uploading a photo, responding to comments across more than one social networking site can become a full-time job. In fact some charities have been recruiting social media executives, or interns, to do this role in recent months.
Unless charities have sufficient resources how can they expect to make the most out of each platform? At a media conference I recently attended we were told not to try to do everything but to focus on one or two - but do it well. As yet, I can't see any incentive to drop Facebook or Twitter in favour of Google+, although it will be interesting to see if any charities do in the coming months.
It’s not just time-consuming for the organisation but for supporters – I’m sure I’m not the only person suffering from ‘social media fatigue’ - once upon a time notifications were a cause for excitement, but I found myself groaning when Google+ started spamming my email to tell me people had added me to ‘circles’, and swiftly turned off email notifications.
Maybe I’m being cynical, Google+ does have some unique features and it has promised that more will launch soon, remaining unapologetic about its intention to replace Facebook as top dog. So I’m not going be closing my account just yet (remember MySpace anyone?).
That all said please ‘friend’ me on Facebook, ‘follow’ me on Twitter and then put me in a ‘circle’ on Google+ because at the end of the day nobody wants to be only person not at the virtual party when it all kicks off.
P.S I’ve not even mentioned Jumo (a social network just for charities in case you had forgotten too) as I had completely forgotten about it until writing this blog - which says a lot I think. Is anyone really using it? I suspect not, but feel free to correct me.