Thursday, March 25, 2010

B2B Marketing & What Your Small Nonprofit Can Learn From It

image by Intersection Consulting via Social Media Today

While reading this interesting Social Media Today article about B2B (business to business) marketing and sales, I got to thinking about the business donors who often support the missions of small nonprofits and what social media use could mean to providing both a higher profile to them and to you.

Among the statistics related to purchasing, there were these:

  • 41% followed discussions to learn more about topic
  • 37% posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions/feedback
  • More than 20% connected directly with potential solution providers via social networking channels
To me, this meant that there are a lot of people out there who might be interested in learning about your mission, looking for suggestions about what nonprofit to support and wanting to communicate with you about how/what you’re doing.

What To Do

As always, it comes down to conversation and participation: talking about your mission in terms of what you’re doing and what you’re trying to do, why you’re doing it and who you’re working with. Don’t just talk about yourself – include links to industry sites, bloggers, news – anything that will help potential supporters understand. Include those links in your enewsletters and include your business sponsor links, too.

If you’re sponsored by a business, it only makes sense to talk about it – what the support means for you. And for them to talk about you and why they choose to support you. I’m seeing this in small ways right now – a local building contractor is asking the small nonprofits they support to provide some short posts for their corporate blog. This gives them fresh content, reaffirms their involvement in the local community and gives the small nonprofit an opportunity to reach a larger audience.

If the business has a fan page on Facebook, make sure your small nonprofit is a fan and post something about the business once in a while. And please note that I’m not advocating phoniness. If you can’t be sincere in your praise of one another, it’s better to say nothing at all. It’s particularly nice if you can speak about particular individuals – I know I prefer hearing about what Scott Monty, who handles social media for Ford, thinks rather than seeing anonymous posts or tweets from the corporation. In other words, put faces to your relationship.

In the Deep End Without a Flotation Device

Judging by some of the post titles I’m seeing, there are still people out there who think social media is a fad. I’m not going to argue about that, though I’m definitely in the “not a fad” camp. But think about it this way – even if it is a fad, wouldn’t you like to get some use out of it while it’s around? And as more people find ways to measure the Return on Investment in social media, I believe you’ll find the statistics about its usefulness to business, consumers, nonprofits and supporters will rise accordingly. In which case, it would be wise to get in the swim while the pool isn’t so crowded.

Link of the Week: How a small nonprofit (staff of two!) makes good use of social media – an interview (via NetWit's Think Tank).
News: Facebook co-founder to launch a charity site for nonprofits too small to have a new media staff (via Strategy Eye).

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