A decade from now, social media will no longer be the new kid on the block, nor will it be just another charity communications channel, says Zoe Amar
By 2024 scharities will use social media to innovate, connect to their audiences and work even more efficiently. Photograph: Justin Lewis/Getty Images
In 2024, social media will no longer be the new kid on the block. However, it won’t just be another communications channel. It will be a major part of every organisation’s modus operandi and charities will use it to innovate, connect to their audiences and work even more efficiently.
I predict that social media will help charities evolve in the following ways:
• Charities will put social media at the top of their agendas. Currently, some organisations still see social as a bolt-on, which means that it is deployed at arm’s length from their organisational strategy. No one can get great results that way. By 2024, the most successful charities – both large and small – will understand that social media is central to achieve their organisation’s goals. Unicef’s digital first approach (for example,asking celebrity ambassadors to tweet about their cause regularly) will be the norm. On a similar note, charities will have brought together online and offline social media measurement successfully. Increasing Twitter followers is one thing, but should never be an end goal in itself. By 2024, charities will not only be setting social media goals jointly with other departments which control the data they are measuring, but using what they have learned to do things even more effectively.
• Mobile. Charities will be actively using frictionless payments for donations made via social media. In the US, Starbucks recently created a programme to help people send credits for coffees to each other, raising $180,000 in six weeks. You can see how this idea could translate into charity donations.
• Charities will vet for social media experience when hiring leaders. We’ve already seen huge interest from the sector in leaders’ use of social media in the launch of the top 30 charity chief executives on social media awards. By 2024, charities will want social media savvy leaders who are experienced in using social media to engage with stakeholders directly and build valuable relationships with corporates, journalists and funders. A case in point is Peter Wanless, who, as well as being highly engaged on Twitter, has developed a stronger social media presence on theNSPCC website. On that note, expect trustees to upskill drastically in their use of social media. Chief executives can use Twitter and LinkedIn to keep boards up to speed with key developments at their charities and to open up opportunities for collaboration between their networks.
• Expect social media platforms to become more niche. As we’ve seen recently, young people are leaving Facebook in favour of other platforms such as WhatsApp. If your charity is trying to reach young people, expect them to have carved out even more social spaces of their own by 2024; Tumblr is just the tip of the iceberg. While there may still be some big players in social networks, charities will also find it valuable to connect with likeminded people who share their values on specialist social networks. A great example of this is Wiser, a network to encourage dialogue about environmental issues.
• More charities will operate as social businesses. Pioneering organisations like Bromford are already using social media to break down internal silos and connect with external stakeholders to create movements for change. These organisations will also use social media as a learning and development tool and a way to share information widely across their networks, mobilising people to get behind their cause. None of this will be possible without taking a more innovative approach and breaking down traditional ways of operating in the charity sector, which shows how social media is an amazing catalyst for change both now and in 2024.
Zoe Amar is a charity marketing and digital communications expert. You can check out her blog here. She tweets @zoeamar.
Culled from http://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2014/jan/30/10-years-role-social-media