By Michele Egan Sterne, Vice President, For Momentum
This year marks the fifth anniversary–also known as a blogiversary–of this blog. To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at some of our first posts on the Cause Marketing Focus blog, to offer some perspective on what’s changed in the last five years in the world of cause marketing and CSR.
One of the first topics that we tackled in 2011 was social media. In this post, we declared that social media was “far from a fad” back then, offering some statistics to back up our recommendation that cause marketers needed to add social media to their arsenal. Here’s a snapshot of user activity on some of the most popular social media sites, then and now:
Facebook remains the 800-pound gorilla. It is the largest social network with 1.6 billion active monthly users. Twitter’s seen more than a 200-percent increase in users from 2011 to today, with 320 million active monthly users. Pinterest and Instagram were fledgeling social networks when we launched the Cause Marketing Focus blog, but now they are the fastest growing networks. Instagram has even outpaced Twitter with its mostly-mobile application for sharing photos and short videos. Taking notice of this astonishing trend, Facebook bought Instagram in 2012.
The numbers don’t lie. Clearly, social media is no longer a nice-to-have item. In the past five years it has become an essential element of any cause marketing partnership. When we work with corporations and nonprofits to negotiate a strategic cause alliance, we always ask both sides to provide a list of their social media assets. The value of your organization’s website, blogs, social media accounts and their corresponding subscribers and followers has grown rapidly in the last five years, especially with the advent of “always-on” mobile phones and tablets.
“Going online” in 2011 usually meant browsing the Internet from a desktop computer in our office. Now almost two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone and consult multiple websites or mobile apps before choosing a restaurant for lunch. Social media thought leader Jay Baer has written an excellent book entitled Youtility, which is chock full of great statistics and case studies on how brands are becoming more valuable by being more useful online.
It feels like new social media platforms are popping up every day. Just when I thought I had a handle on Facebook and Twitter, I found out about Vine, Snapchat and Periscope. How can anyone keep up with it all? To avoid overwhelm, stick to the advice that we gave you in 2011: start by listening. First, make sure you have claimed your brand–whether it’s a username, custom URL or login–on any new social media platforms. Then before broadcasting, start the online conversation by listening. Observe how other social media super-users are being useful in that space. If one channel doesn’t work for you, focus your efforts elsewhere. Look for third-party tools like HootSuite and Buffer to schedule your posts and publish them across different channels. Pretty soon you’ll be growing your list of followers and developing a valuable asset for your corporate partnership portfolio.
We’ll continue our fifth blogiversary retrospective in future Cause Marketing Focus blog posts. Comment below if you have suggestions for future blog posts on cause marketing or social media.