Is social media relevant to social enterprise (part 2)

Posted in: Blog.

In part 1 we asked the question is social media relevant to social enterprise? Today we continue our series on what social media means, and explain how it can help you.

What social media platforms are available?

There are literally hundreds of social media platforms in cyberspace from Facebook to Google+, Blogster to Twitter. Even the “Z” generation (born 1995 – 2012) struggles with this confusing list.

As we develop our series of articles we will take a brief look at 5 key services:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • YouTube

The vital thing to remember is you don’t need to be in all of them to make a wave. Taking a leaf from comedy actor Peter Sellers and simply “being there” is not a sufficient reason to be on Twitter. You wouldn’t launch a business without a plan, or study for a degree without knowing the commitment – or at least you wouldn’t expect to enjoy any level of success if you did.

Why not just stick with traditional marketing?
As with any business we all have to work within budgets and unfortunately for marketers these are never big enough! However, what we can agree on is that advertising, direct mailing, and brochure development is expensive. Largely outwith the modest resource of the average social enterprise, we often rely on word-of-mouth. Powerful on its own it takes time to grow. However, if we were to tell you that a personal account with 150 business connections on Linkedin can access over 7 million professionals or with one tweet our 510 followers of the CEIS Group Twitter platform can reach 28,382 accounts giving 44,856 impressions, would we now have your attention?

Will social media work for my social enterprise?
We all know about the stories of campaigns achieving amazing viral distribution and how you have to be a celebrity to achieve the 43.3 million followers of President Obama. The truth is, it’s almost impossible to identify what makes a tweet likely to become viral but what we do know is that we should encourage “sharing” and not “liking”.

Most social enterprises can hold an “Open Day” or come up with a campaign to grow followers but it takes something special, something which captures the imagination, to make it go off the radar. Take for example Stephen’s story. We all know that media attention helped to take this to another level – or conversely was it the success of the inspiring story which grew on social media that monopolised press attention?

The coordinated messages on Facebook and Twitter are known as a “thunderclap” and people have proudly posted photos of themselves doing Stephen’s famous thumbs up pose. An image gets a larger number of re-tweets, and if people we know are in them this process continues until an uncontrollable wave sweeps all before it.

Tens of thousands of tweets containing the hashtag “Here is my #ThumbsUpForStephen at 11a.m RIP” were sent in the 24-hour period following the start of the vigil. Yes, Stephen caught the imagination because he was an exceptional individual but it’s up to all of us to find that remarkable trigger which delivers the goods for our social enterprise.

How do I learn more?
Click here to read the next series of blogs covering the differences between Facebook and Twitter and why you need to have a dynamic website to make them work harder.

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CEIS will develop articles to help our sector on a variety of topics including the benefits of marketing, the latest funding available or what’s new in social enterprise. If you like our blogs and feel there are others who could benefit, please share this with them and follow us on Twitter. Together we can build the strength of the social enterprise message.

If you feel your social enterprise could benefit from support in creating a more compelling presence online then why not contact us online or chat to Emma Stratton on 0141 425 2900 to discuss the options available. See how else CEIS supports individuals, businesses and communities here.

Through the Scottish Government’s Just Enterprise business support programme, qualifying social enterprises may even be able to access workshops for free.



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