Social Media Marketing …the Next Wave for Public Sector and Nonprofit Marketers

There is a revolution going out there and that will turn the marketing communications world upside down. You know that the world of marketing communications is changing when Chrysler and General Motors are taking a sizeable part of their media dollar … and we are talking many millions… and moving it on-line.

The following stats from omScore , Alexa and Technorati tell a very compelling story.

  • Approximately 170,000 new blogs started each day; 1.6 million new posts; 18 each second
  • · Over 110 million videos watched each day on YouTube
  • · Over 70% of Canadians use Online Social Networks
  • · Canadians spend 4hrs a day on the internet; Canadian teens spend 5hrs+
  • · There are more Podcasts in the world than there are radio stations
  • · 25% of all Canadians have a Facebook profile, 67M users worldwide; spend 20min a day on site
  • · The average age of the 37M LinkedIn users is 35‐55; average income is $135K

Specific Segment Statistics


· 61% of Canadians over 55 report having access to the Internet–with just over half of those (54%) having home access. Of those at‐home users, 70% subscribe to high‐speed Internet access.

· In an average week, members of this group are online for 8.7 hours each.

· They go online to make or inform their purchases: to research trips (47%); buy products (40%); comparison shop (37%) and trade investments (16%, versus 13% for the rest of the population).

· In May 2007, for instance, 29% of 50+ web users visited a social media site, versus just 8% in September 20064

Youth & Young Adults

· In May 2007, 72% of 20‐ to 29‐year‐olds had visited a social networking website, up from 44% in September 2006, according to Solutions Research Group.

· Young adults outrank their younger counterparts, 12‐ to 19‐year‐olds (70% in May 2007, versus 42% in September 2006).

· Among 14‐ to 29‐year‐olds, 82.7% of them regularly download MP3s, according to Youthography research;

· 60.2% had streamed video content over the Internet in the past month (with YouTube being the most popular online video destination)

· This age group spends an average five hours on the Internet just to communicate with their friends

“New applications in the field of social media marketing are coming out every single day by the droves. When you look at Facebook or Youtube’s growth to multi‐billion dollar companies within a period of 2 years (a feat that took Fortune 500 companies like Coca‐Cola, GM, Microsoft, Ford, decades to accomplish), it can be confidently said that nobody will remain a leader for long in the social media world.” – Mike Kujawski

Public sector and nonprofit marketers have been slow off the mark while the private sector (and yes politicians… check out Obama) are jumping on the social media marketing bandwagon and this is just the beginning. I anticipate that the use of social media by marketers will increase by 50%.

However sad to say that the public and nonprofit sectors is jumping on board … albeit very slowly… call it bureaucratic, or just lacking the where with all to change and we will still see tons of brochures and boring web sites (have you ever tried finding anything on these sites) and using mass media advertising which frankly is “running out of steam” with people moving from their TV to the computer.

One of the questions that the public and nonprofit sector marketing and communications may ask is “Should we be on Facebook? Should we start a blog? Should we buy an island in SecondLife? Should we be Podcasting! Tell us what to do!” My colleague Mike Kujawski says that the answer he always gives is simple: “There is no universal answer. Every organizations situation is unique and there is no magic application. Everything is dependent on your objectives and who are your target audience(s).”

“Basic marketing elements are as important as ever. They are often ignored and not applied as many people are anxious to get to the visible “tactics” without a “strategy”. The traditional 4P’s of Marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) still apply as well; however with social media, your target audience can collaborate, participate and share with you in their development, hence the constant referral to”2‐way” engagement.

Never do something just because others are doing it. Out of the 55,000 Facebook Groups you can bet that a vast majority of them are abandoned. Out of the thousands of podcasts started each day, many will be cancelled within a few weeks due to lack of subscribers or commitment time. You must choose what is right for you and be sure to do it well.” -MK

If you are interested in learning more about social media marketing and work in the public and nonprofit sectors, the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing has just developed a new work shop:

Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan in “ONE DAY” workshop!
The focus of this workshop is to respond to the unique needs of public sector and non-profit marketers who want to acquire value added skills to improve their expertise in social media marketing and effective use of “Web 2.0” applications (rss, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc…). This workshop will help you develop a customized, structured approach for opening up the channels of communication with your target audience and significantly improving your online visibility and engagement. You will receive a comprehensive workbook and a complementary 30-minute telephone consultation to discuss social media marketing strategies related to your initiative. Register today!

4 Replies to “Social Media Marketing …the Next Wave for Public Sector and Nonprofit Marketers”

  1. I once heard Joseph Jaffe say that “Production is the new consumption.” With the meteoric rise in production of social media like blogs, podcasts, etc., what, in your opinion, will be more important to agencies looking to embrace these tools, finding someone who understands the social media space or finding someone who understands and is passionate about the agency’s message and can authentically communicate with a passionate niche?

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