Is online social networking right for your organization?

I was looking through the Q&A section of LinkedIn and I came across many interesting topics regarding how businesses and organizations are using MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other types of social media to reach their target audiences. Some topics even raise the question on whether social media is beneficial to companies and organizations.

The way I see it, online social networking is generally perfect for nonprofit organizations… with the right strategy of course.

Online social networks help organizations establish a stronger online presence essentially for free. While a Web site can deliver critical information about your cause, social networks help deliver traffic to your Web site. Creating polls and establishing causes on sites such as Facebook can start a grass fire, if you will, on brand awareness. Friends will see that friends took a poll or joined a cause—likely getting more people to dig a bit to read a bit more about your organization.

From a public relations point of view, social networks allow your organization to establish relationships with target markets like never before. People, in general, don’t care too much about brands. They’re more interested in the people behind the brands. Having a face to your organization is a better way to foster stronger relationships.

Blogs are another way to effectively promote your organization and I’ll tell you why. If properly written and on a frequent basis, blogs will engage your readers and cause them to return back to your Web site on a regular basis to read your latest postings. In addition, blogs add content to your Web site. In today’s world, content is king. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s so true. Blogging provides your Web site with more content, and the more content you have, the higher your organization will rank in search engines.

It doesn’t stop at blogging, it also includes the blogosphere. Search the Web for those who frequently blog on a topic related to organization and establish relationships with them. The goal is to not only gain another supporter, but to get them to blog about you and your organization. You’ll also want them to link to your Web site. This too is also critical for higher rankings in search engines. Oh, and don’t forget to return the favor!

If you’re in the Fort Lauderdale area, you’ll be interested in knowing that The Precise Agency by SRJ will be putting on a seminar on October 21. The topic will be on how nonprofits can leverage social media to achieve their marketing goals. It will be hosted by our friends at the Josephine S. Leiser Opera Center and catering will be provided by Galanga Thai Restaurant & Sushi Bar. I highly encourage those in the area to attend. Click here to read more information and be sure to reserve your organization’s seat today as space is limited and expect to fill soon.

Does online social networking offer your company or organization any benefits? If so, what’s your success story? Leave a comment and let me know!