The Social Media Landscape for Connecting with Supporters
One of the main questions of my dissertations is “which Social Media services should non-profit organisations use to connect with its supporters”. There exist a vast amount of different social media sites and applications, providing different services and experiences. Not all are relevant to connect with supporters, and some are more relevant for certain organisations than for others depending on the organisation itself, i.e. the type of organisation and the kind of work it does, and its supporters.
In order to evaluate an organisation’s and compare it to other organisations an evaluation framework needs to be established, and a first step towards that is to categorise social media applications for connecting with supporters.
Already in 2007, Deborah Schultz has mapped the Social Media Ecosystem, focusing on the main services available. At the centre of this ecosystem are your own activities of how you can connect with your stakeholders. These activities can be within your own web presence, utilising existing social media services or through other channels.
They admit that their map is a only a snapshot and is in flux due to evolving services and channels emerging, fusing and dissipating, and indeed it already has undergone some interesting changes since its first inception. It is still a useful framework to categorise Social Media internet services. These are the 24 categories of the updated Conversation Prism:
- Social Bookmarks
- Comment and Reputation
- Crowdsourced Content
- Blog Platforms
- Blog Communities
- Twitter Ecosystem
- Social Networks
- Interest and Curated Networks
- Reviews and Ratings
- Customer Service
- LiveCasting – Video and Audio
So, which categories are important to connect with supporters, and which services and applications within those are particularly useful? Particularly which interest and curated networks exist specifically for supporters of non-profit organisations or does your organisation participate in other niche networks or forums that are relevant to the kind of work you do?