There is a lot of chat around the web and the digital industry about social media and its effectiveness for organisations and corporates.

I’ve been learning a lot about social in the last year and while I definitely agree that it does serve a purpose for all businesses, it is an incredibly powerful tool for not-for-profit organisations and causes.

Non-profits have a supporter base of people that are engaged because they care about something bigger than themselves. This lends itself well to community and discussion.

For profit businesses are desperately trying to engage their customers, and it can be done well, but at the end of the day people (their customers or prospective customers) are engaging with them often for a specific product or purchase. That’s not to say you will not get brand loyalty and repeat purchases, we see this with such brands as Apple and Sony and BMW, but the level of emotional engagement with a consumer brand is different to that of a moral or spiritual cause.

Corporate businesses would be smart to use social media to engage and to listen and facilitate their community of detractors and advocates to be a streamlined customer service tool.

If you are still just at the listening stage or research phase of your social strategy, here are some good tips from the experts on how to build a social community strategy:

Amy Sample Ward’s DIY Community Engagement:


11 Social Media marketing trends for 2011 from Tiphereth Gloria via Digital Ministry:

  1. The rise and rise of curation, Storify, turn influencers into social journalists
  2. The always-on consumerSmart phones, iPads, tablets, iPhones, Kindles. WiFi.
  3. Digital detox.We’re going to need it. Welcome to the Attention Deficit Disorder Economy.
  4. Data. Visualized. Nicholas Felton inspires Foursquare data, creates Daytum, andproves personal social tracking can be useful and data can be sexy
  5. Influence.The velvet rope goes virtual. Score big in social and get preferential treatment.
  6. Information as magazines.Flipboard, Taptu, Pulse, Feedly, part of the transformationof how we ingest information. Proof that good design wins.
  7. Auto-checkins or background processing takes over.From iPhoto facial recognition to apps that checkin for you, welcome to the era of it being done for you.
  8. Tagging as a marketing strategy. Instagram implements tags, all of a sudden its a marketing & engagement platform.
  9. Content syndication becomes app drivenThe Guardian opens its platform with a content API and a plug-in for WordPress
  10. The gamefication of advertising The New York Times iPad app HTML 5 game banner brings new fun to a tired format
  11. Ubiquitous Geo-location.Geo is important. It’s just moving to the background so you get seamless info when you need it