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Pros and Cons of Social Media

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The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the benefits and challenges that our organization must evaluate in deciding the employment of social media by our organization. This evaluation process will enable relevant stakeholders to clarify the purpose of using social media and to make an informed judgement that best aligns with and helps to advance the mission and operations of our organization. In short, I propose a thorough assessment of the following considerations: (1) objectives and plans for using social media, (2) our organization’s capacity to install, operate, and manage a media team, and (3) social media and the nature of public benefit work.

1. Examine the objectives and plans for utilizing social media. Determine whether the objectives set for the use of social media are in line with the overall objectives and operations of our organization. Establishing a clear purpose and a detailed plan for social media outreach ensures greatest efficiency both during and after the incorporation of social media into our overall communications and marketing plan.1 Our organization should not adapt to new forms of communication simply because other nonprofits have succeeded in using them. We must consider the benefits and functions of social media within our organization’s wider framework.

A. Benefits: Social media is most useful for spreading awareness about key issues and our organization’s mission by driving traffic to our website and social media properties. It will serve as a supplemental communication and marketing channel that reinforces current ones, such as the weekly news releases and update mailings to members.2 More publicity and increased awareness about our organization’s work are particularly beneficial at this point, because it is apparent that more public support and funding will make possible our organization’s effort to expand our regional standing and presence.

It will also act as a communication channel between our organization and the public, allowing both members and nonmembers to contribute to and engage in our activities. Empowering our audience to voice their opinions and play a role in our organization’s work will help create more active and loyal supporters with a passion for serving their communities through volunteer work and/or donations.3 Riding on the viral nature of social media and the waves of “likes” and “shares” of our supporters on platforms used by millions, if not billions, of people across the nation and all over the world, our organization will see an exponential growth both in the number of supporters and in funding.

B. Challenges: However, these benefits will come to fruition only when we work out and cautiously abide by a thorough plan for utilizing social media. Without such a plan, our organization risks losing control of a loosely-held, disorganized group of supporters and dissenters on social media. Certain groups or individuals with a motive for doing harm against our organization can easily distribute false and unreliable information that could turn away our current, as well as potential, supporters. Our organization becomes subject to branding and positioning that are controlled by both our supporters and detractors, exposure that could leave our organization in a worse state than its current condition. The risks and overwhelming effect of social media can easily outbalance its benefits.

C. Solution: Integrate and align our social media objectives with our organization’s current and overall communications and marketing plan. Social media can be employed alongside email, direct mail, phone calls, and events to amplify their effects. Start with the basics and take incremental steps, gradually expanding our social media presence and engagement as we reach our challenging but achievable goals.4 This will facilitate the efficient handling of social media traffic and prevent a flooding of tasks and information. I recommend we start with one or two social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which most of our supporters use, in order to become familiar with and maximize the value of their functions and features. Start with a closed group of members and supporters who are most likely to disseminate accurate and reliable information within their networks. Monitor the results and decide whether to expand our audience to a specific group or to the wider public. Only by carefully following such a plan can we attain the highest outcome at minimal cost.

2. Assess our organization’s capacity to install, operate, and manage a media team. Evaluate not only the cost of running a new media team that focuses solely on the task of social media outreach, but also the internal structure of communication and the ability of our organization to consistently produce output that can be presented on social media. Due to the large size of our organization, an independent media team that handles only media-related tasks is essential. Overseeing various types of media channel and content takes up a lot of time and requires individual specialty and effective collaboration with other teams. The quality of social media content is heavily dependent on the amount of resources and the number of personnel allocated toward this purpose. Therefore, we must weigh the benefits and challenges of creating a new media team.

A. Benefits: A media team consisting of a skillful social media user, a designer, and an intermediary or manager is ideal in its initial stages. With their expertise, the quality of not only social media contents, but the contents of other modes



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