It's not too soon as we race toward the year-end to begin to think about what your nonprofit team should know for 2018, regarding one of the essential elements of your marketing plan—social media. Even if you’re a nonprofit leader, and you delegate your marketing and social networking efforts to more junior staff, it is your responsibility to understand trends, so you can make strategic decisions that will help you raise brand awareness and impact the bottom line of your mission.
As a nonprofit leader, these are the trends happening in social media that you should know as we race toward the new year:
- Disappearing Content (aka Ephemeral Content): Snapchat started the direction, and it's been followed by Facebook and Instagram. In the next year, more and more brands, including nonprofits, will develop campaigns that include social media content that is only available for no more than 24 hours. The ephemeral material helps engage donors and supporters as an appeal is in process and creates the necessary urgency to support the cause—now.
- Artificial Intelligence: Learning about your social media mentions on social networking platforms is going to get a whole lot more fun and exciting with artificial intelligence (AI). Salesforce, which is one of the leading CRM platforms in the world, including in the nonprofit sector, has created AI-Powered Image Recognition with its Einstein Vision for Social Studio. Companies like Salesforce understand that visual content is paramount, and they're allowing brands to search social media using media. Now there's a powerful tool on the market to seek visual content regarding your brand on social media.
- Video Drives Engagement: Hopefully your organization has a strong presence on major social networking platforms. We saw this year that video played a large part of marketing, and it will only increase as everyone reads the “memo.” No more slick videos that take weeks to produce. Today's supporters want to see live streams and quick videos uploaded on the fly. Brands will continue to drive on on-demand and real-time content.
- Enter Generation Z: Marketers have focused for years on Millennials and rightly so, since they are the most significant group in the workforce today regarding the size of their generational populations. However, there's a shiny new generation entering the workforce now, with the oldest in their early 20s, and that's Generation Z. Similar to Millennials, Gen Z cares very much about social good, and their entire lives have been lived behind a mobile screen.
- Chatbots: On Facebook, for instance, 100,000 active bots are connecting with the public on Messenger. What does that mean for your nonprofit organization? As bots become more sophisticated, which is happening at an astonishing rate, they can interact as humans do. Your nonprofit brand will be able to raise brand awareness for a campaign quickly and seamlessly, and it will appear more human. What's more is that, as AI understands human behavior and its massive ability to do exponentially more at a faster rate and with more breadth than humans, many brands will begin to rely on it for messaging.
- Facebook Spaces: When Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, which was the pioneer in virtual reality, it was clear that Facebook was looking to go all-in on virtual reality. Flash forward a couple of years, and the leading social media company in the world is beta testingFacebook Spaces with their users. Spaces allow you to create your avatar in virtual reality and develop virtual environments with your friends. Going back to my earlier point, if you work at a school or youth group organization, the key target audience are teens.
- Influencer Marketing: Social media users—Millennials and Gen Z in particular—do not want to be sold. The reality is no one wants to be sold, and traditional advertising has had its challenges, because the public is much more averse to it. The lack of interest in advertising by the public has opened up an opportunity for influencers in any industry, including the philanthropic sector, to promote products, services and social good.
Technology is evolving at an astounding rate, and savvy nonprofit marketers understand that in the digital age, their supporters and followers are immersed in social networking. Any good marketing specialist and fundraiser assumes that you always have to be where your donors congregate. As a nonprofit leader, even if you have a team of marketing professionals, you should take a little time and familiarize yourself with the upcoming trends, so you can stay ahead of the competition and dominate in your industry.
Story by Wayne Elsey at Nonprofit Pro