Why The Shotgun Approach Isn’t The Way Forward For Nonprofits

Most non-profit marketers are feeling a bit played by social media right now. A free way to communicate with millions! The answer we’d all been waiting for. Except its not, not anymore at least.

When I say social media, I’m particularly referring to Facebook. More and more audiences are seeing less and less of what brands and nonprofits publish, thanks to algorithm changes which seem to kick in every other week.

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The Argument For The Shotgun Approach

Given this state of affairs, social media expert, Jay Baer, has given up on personalization of messages, given up on trying to engage with an audience one-on-one, in this blog: ‘Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy.’

He rightly bemoans the gradual and no longer subtle move on the part of Facebook (and the other big networks will surely follow in order to squeeze as much revenue out of every user) towards “pay to play” engagement with audiences. Instead he promotes “the shotgun approach.” Forget well targeted rifles. Jay suggest rounding up as many potential customers / supporters in a “a touchpoint corral” and blasting them with messages, like a double barrelled shotgun.

Supporters aren’t cats

Supporters can’t be herded like cats (oh wait…). They need to be treated as individuals. Marketing, as Jay should know, is about guiding people along a journey – a journey which increasingly engages their interests until they are ready to take action or make a donation. It takes numerous points of contact to achieve that.

A multi-channel approach is something we’ve long since advocated, but with messages which speak to individual supporters. Messages which are tailored. Which build a relationship.

No one is denying that with numerous algorithm changes Facebook is proving an even harder field to plant seeds in. But with social media listening, it isn’t so much about planting, but sowing.  All social networks, as a resource for understanding your supporters, have enormous value. Combine that knowledge with the data in your CRM, and then send automated personalized campaigns.

This approach is far more likely to result in successful conversions and happy donors. Your supporters will appreciate being treated as people who care about your campaigns.


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Attentive.ly is a social marketing automation platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.

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