Where Should You Invest Your Time: Google+, Search, or Email? | Beth’s Blog

Where Should You Invest Your Time: Google+, Search, or Email?

ROI, Strategy

Source: Pew Internet

Yesterday on Google +,  John Haydon made a provocative  statement:   “It’s a big mistake to say that nonprofits should wait on Google +”

Like my colleague, Geoff Livingston, I disagree with that statement or hoping on bandwagons.   I said as much in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy Podcast with Alison Fine.

I think nonprofits should wait or rather don’t jump in deeply with a heavy time investment quite yet.  Take an ROI approach to the amount of time that is being spent, especially if you haven’t really built up, engaged, and developed relationships with people via your social networks in other places.

Don’t just do an ROI analysis with your social time.   Your time might be best spent on incorporating  multi-channel best practices.  Do you need to redesign your web site, incorporate SEO, or  beef up your CRM and email strategy.    As John Haydon said later in the thread,  ”Don’t buy the Persian rug if your roof has a hole in it” and then wrote this post.

And if you haven’t yet defined results and  KPIs for your overall online communications or marketing efforts and a measurement strategy start there.   Don’t immediately embrace the shiny new object.

That’s not to say that taking a small amount of time to learn the platform, get the lay of the land, imagine the possibilities without investing a lot of time.  Connect with professional colleagues and talk shop.    I call this the “Andy Warhol” approach – 15 minutes a day.    Then you will be at least be familiar with it when Google + launches Brand presence.

Some advice from Marketing Profs on how to dip your toes in the water efficiently.

It is also useful to do a little audience research or consult secondary studies.    The Pew recently did this study on online habits.  As you can see from the graph above, Pew found:

Email and search form the core of online communication and online information gathering, respectively.   And they have done so for nearly a decade, even as new platforms, broadband and mobile devices continue to reshape the way Americans use the internet and web.  Perhaps the most significant change over that time is that both activities have become more habitual.

 

You can find the complete PEW report here.

Where does your organization to invest is time in its online/multi-channel strategy to be successful?

9 Responses

  1. John Haydon says:

    “It’s a big mistake to say that nonprofits should wait on Google +” is not the same as saying “Nonprofits should check out Google plus”. In other words, advising nonprofits either way without an understanding of their resources, where their constituents hang out (pub intended), and how well their killing it on Facebook is just bad advice.

    A bit further down in the thread I said “I wouldn’t categorically tell them to wait. It all depends on their resources and their curiosity”.

    Just didn’t want people here to think I’d make a “sweeping recommendation” to start using Google Plus.

  2. Beth says:

    John, thanks for the clarification!! I’ll fix it. Looks like we’re saying the same thing …

  3. Personally, I think Social Media hits about 70-80% of my total internet activity.

  4. John Haydon says:

    Thanks, Beth. Again, I don’t want your readers misunderstand my original statement.

  5. Thanks, Beth. As a young not-for-profit, we’re looking at ways to get our message out. This article, and your blog in general, have been a great help.

  6. [...] Where Should You Invest Your Time: Google+, Search, or Email? The enduring presence of search and email in people’s online lives. [...]

  7. [...] Where Should You Invest Your Time: Google+, Search, or Email? The enduring presence of search and email in people’s online lives. [...]

  8. Great post and I know John hadn’t meant it that way. One thing I wanted to point out is that its super super super important that we always bring the conversation back to whom the target audience is when we’re talking about the channels of communication for a cause to connect with their supporters.

    The reason I cannot stress this enough is because each target audience is different and thus interacts with each cause differently. For instance, I’ve seen great success getting young donors to support a local cause here in the Hudson Valley by sending them SMS messages on sundays. Why sunday and why SMS? Because they’re generally ignoring emails from the same cause and on Sunday they seem to be most inclined to act on whatever the SMS is telling them. This is after a years worth of trial and error. Of course they also update daily on Twitter and Facebook, have AdWords going through Google Grants, and also send a bi-weekly email newsletter. But thats just it, we never would have known that SMS would have such a great impact with this target audience if we had not decided to focus on them specifically, instead of just doing blanket broadcasts across many channels.

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