7 November 2016
Marketing through Social Media: Facebook as a Marketing Tool for Non-Profit Organizations
Are you still waiting to be convinced of the importance and value of Facebook for business operations? Is it really necessary? “Facebook is still the most popular social networking site for marketers and gives more feedback about the demographics and customer needs of those that are respond to advertisements. This enables us to make adjustments to optimize our campaigns, products and services. “According to the recent Marketing report, Facebook is still the number 1 social channel for marketers with 80% of marketers currently using the platform; not being active on Facebook is giving your competitors a golden ticket. Most Marketers have also stated that Facebook is one of their top 10 most effective channels, with 73% saying it’s very effective for marketing purposes.
Have you ever known about something or about product as you just went about your own business in your Facebook account? You message or write on the wall of the page and get to know any details or clarification you wish. This is how simple and easy Facebook marketing has become. Non-profit making organizations engage in activities which improve the lives of the people or the society. They do not generate income to finance their operations and most of the activities are charitable where the people do not pay. With the increase in globalization and technological advancements, more and more technological ways of doing activities are being innovated. In the aspect of marketing, online marketing has become the replacement for the earlier methods of personal marketing physically. Nowadays, everything that was done manually can be done using the latest technology software and use of computers.
Marketing has incorporated technology by use of internets and social media marketing. Facebook is one of the most used platforms for marketing products and it has proved to be effective due to a large number of users who have Facebook accounts. The users provide a large potential market for products and services as they are likely to get information regarding the products and services as they use Facebook. It is also controversial because it has resulted in some negative impacts to the people. Some view that marketing through Facebook has reduces the professionalism of marketing. Facebook was made to enable people communicate with each other, provide information and feedback and not for business purposes. When it is used for marketing, professionalism of marketing is lost. Others also suggest that there is less clarity between potential customers and organizations through Facebook, unlike direct personal selling where marketing is face to face and parties can seek clarity first hand from the marketer. Non-profit organizations should use Facebook as a major marketing platform for marketing products because Facebook reaches a bigger population of potential customers, Facebook enables different forms of advertisements, and Facebook enables organizations to socialize with shareholders and stakeholders.
Facebook reaches a bigger population of potential customers. It is convenient and economical. Many Facebook users around the world use it to interact and communicate. Facebook is also the second most trafficked website in the world, only second to Google. Some few minutes are always spent on Facebook out of all the minute’s people spent online. This provides a large potential customer base compared to other methods of marketing (Dolnicar, Sara and Katie Lazarevski). It is also a convenient way of marketing as people do not have to leave their activities to know the organizations. They can interact on Facebook and still be able to see the advertisements. The organization does not need to meet with its supporters physically which would be inconvenient as people are busy with their activities on a daily basis and may not have time to engage with marketers. It is also economical because it is expensive to advertise to a large population but through Facebook the cost an organization incurs in marketing is less compared to what may have been incurred and still larger populations of people get the knowledge about the organization compared to the physical marketing «Charities and nonprofits can achieve massive impact with Facebook. It’s the perfect place to advertise because it couples paid with viral. It’s a huge, huge opportunity.» Facebook creates more awareness compared to other forms of advertising (Dolnicar, Sara and Katie Lazarevski). There is, however, increasing concern that the use of Facebook for marketing has led to uncontrolled marketing which leads to spamming. To solve this, organizations can develop a content calendar which ensures they have the right mix of conversational and promotional posts, and they are keeping the content fresh for the fans. It is important to plan on how to advertise so that there is no spamming or posting advertisements that are not appealing. New content would attract new and different potential customers as people are interested in various products and services Facebook, therefore, enables organization reach a large audience and is convenient.
Facebook enables different forms of advertisements. It enables people to be educated through advertisements and enables organizations and the audience who are interested to engage despite the geographical barriers. Facebook enables streaming of verbal; video and text advertisements and this have different effects on the audience. Some find video adverts appealing more that the verbal and text ones. Through the advertisements people can acquire knowledge on the use of products or services and it also enables people to learn new terms and languages that are used in advertisements. When I log in to my Facebook account, my small sister is drawn to the video advertisements that pop up; she is fascinated and interested and later I heard her sing the songs that were in the background of the advertisements. In the process she learns and develops her ability to speak-sing and comprehend. Facebook enables interaction of people and the organization as they can give their feedback in the comments or message section. “Facebook has been a hugely successful campaign and we are blown away by the results. This has opened doors for educating through video content more widely in future because we can see how deeply people engage with it» (Gopalakrishna, D). However, there is the problem of time wastage as many young people spend time on Facebook when they can do other important things. This is subject to individual behavior and doesn’t necessarily mean that all people do unimportant activities on Facebook. Furthermore, people have to interact with others and exchange ideas no matter how busy there live is. There still is a possibility that people would still waste time in other activities other than Facebook. Facebook hence affects many young users who get information about products online and people have endorsed it to an extent it is a way of education where they learn different things and share ideas.
Facebook enables organizations to socialize with shareholders and stakeholders. It gives a chance for people to identify themselves with the organization and also enables people to openly show their commitment and interest in an organization. “Organizations use Facebook to engage stakeholders and foster relationship growth” (cholarworks.waldenu.edu) when organizations share information through Facebook it is not only the supporters who get the information but also the people who have invested in the organization whether through donations or other support activities. People follow organizations they are interested in through Facebook and this shows commitment in that they get any new information or developments regarding an organization immediately the organization communicates by posting on their Facebook page. This makes them feel satisfied and gives them a sense of belonging to the organization.
Personally, I follow the Red Cross organization on Facebook and I get communication on blood donation activities where I avail myself to donate blood whenever I can. This makes me happy and feel accomplished as I give back to the society. Through Facebook marketing there arise the issues of false advertisements where advertisements that are posted convey wrong information aimed at misleading people. Some advertisements interfere with people’s privacy where if one opens an advertisement link, the website posts to his/her Facebook wall without his/her consent. Although these cases do happens people should be careful and only open links they can trust. They should also ensure the posts are from the official organization website so that there is a basis for legal action. Without Facebook, organizations would not be able to widely conveniently and effectively convey information to supporters and stakeholders as it is the most widely used social media platform that enables them to do so.
Face enables easy interaction, a Quick response where clarity is needed and builds a good reputation to organizations “Facebook allows users to contact a page’s admin privately, this makes sure messages are answered in a timely fashion; the longer it takes, the more likely people are to lose interest in your organization.“ («Strategic Approach In Social Media Marketing And A Study On Successful Facebook Cases»). The response to queries from people affects their perception of the organization. When they are responded to quickly and clearly, they get a good perception of the organization and become more interested in the organization activities. Facebook is easy to use as one just needs to have an account and therefore people find it easy to seek clarification of any issues as they just have to send messages to the organization’s Facebook page.
When people interact with the organization, they develop a good perception and help build the corporate and social image of the organization. There are arguments that Facebook marketing is disadvantageous in the aspect that using Facebook to communicate with organization requires an Internet connection which may not be readily available or may not be working properly and this renders marketing through Facebook ineffective as it would not have a greater impact because the information would not reach more people. The world is becoming more technological every day and the use of the internet is one of the technological advancements. Most people can connect to the internet and even those who cannot strive to do so as technology has to be incorporated in activities and people cannot go back to using the old methods. Internet connectivity depends on the service provider and one should ensure the service provider will deliver prompt internet connectivity.
Facebook marketing provides a platform for the organization to understand their customer’s needs tastes and preferences. It also allows for organizations to appreciate their customers and also enable the organization to show evidence of its activities. Facebook enables organization to engage identify and with supporters, understand new prospects, understand how they would like to see activities done, gain insights on product quality as well as monitor what is being said about an organization. Understanding users or customer’s needs is important to organizations and it is effective in marketing because the organization is able to deliver what is needed. The supporters also bring onboard other potential interested parties because of good service delivery by organizations. Organizations are able to appreciate their supporters by offering vouchers and gift hampers. “Effective marketing strategies involve rewarding the individual for participation and publicly thanking them for being a fan,” This motivates and encourages supporters and increases their loyalty (Owyang, Jeremiah, Christine Tran, and Webber 2010).
Facebook enables organizations to show to the public what it entails, its objectives, mission and vision. This helps the people understand what they are supporting. Through Facebook, organizations can also show images or video evidence of their activities. For example, Child sponsors are able to see the images of the children they support and how they have improved their lives through non profit making organizations when they are posted on Facebook and this increases their faith in the organizations making them increase their support. Although it is a good way of bonding and appreciating fans and potential customers I don’t think it’s effective in that the fans may only be interested due to the rewards. Some people may also not respond to the organization’s communications on Facebook making it hard for organization to understand the needs and ideas of the supporters. Rewards are just a way for thanking and appreciating supporters and even if they may only participate in the rewards, they still increase the organization’s awareness and that’s a positive effect. Lack of response from the people does not make the whole marketing inefficient as it takes time for people to get the information and react. Facebook is effective in allowing organizations thank their fans and understand their needs enabling the organization to achieve its goals («Strategic Approach In Social Media Marketing And A Study On Successful Facebook Cases»).
Despite the various challenges and disadvantages of Facebook marketing, the benefits derived greatly outweigh the challenges and this makes it a success and all none profit making organizations should use the platform as a major marketing tool to be able to reach a bigger population. It offers a variety of options to communicate to people such as video, verbal and text contents has opened doors for educating through the various contents and enabled people to communicate back to the organization easily (Gopalakrishna, D). Through it there is a quick response which increases the people’s interest in the organization and creates a good image and reputation. It has enabled the organization to adopt Marketing strategies such as rewarding the individual for participation and publicly thanking them for being a fan. It has made it easy for organizations to know the supporters needs their ideas and thoughts through monitoring what is being said about an organization. Through Facebook organizations have been able to build relationships by growing a following, sharing their stories and to explaining why they exist in the world. Facebook, therefore, is an integral part of marketing for organizations and they should not miss out on the benefits that it offers.
Technology will continue to be incorporated in various organization operations, and marketing will be one of the areas. Facebook marketing will continue to be a successful tool in the future and more improvements will be made to increase efficiency.
Dolnicar, Sara and Katie Lazarevski. «Marketing In Non‐Profit Organizations: An International Perspective». International Marketing Review, vol 26, no. 3, 2009, pp. 275-291. Emerald, doi:10.1108/02651330910960780.
Gopalakrishna, D. Electronic Marketing In 21St Century. Mumbai, Himalaya Pub. House, 2010,.
Owyang, Jeremiah, Christine Tran, and Alan Webber. «The 8 success criteria for Facebook page marketing.» Altimeter Group (2010).
«Scholarworks | Walden University Research». Scholarworks.Waldenu.Edu, 2016, http://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/.
«Strategic Approach In Social Media Marketing And A Study On Successful Facebook Cases». ESJ, vol 12, no. 7, 2016, European Scientific Institute, ESI, doi:10.19044/esj.2016.v12n7p261.
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