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Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog had a killer post the other day titled 3 questions before plunging into new media. But it was missing something…

Here are three good questions to answer before you start going crazy with technology, from Alyce Myatt of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media.  I’m sharing them from the session I just blogged:

1.What are you trying to do?  (As opposed to what you are trying to say.  What are you trying to get a certain audience to do?)

2.How best can you make that change occur?  How can it best be done?  (Given your audience and where they hang out online or in the world, what technology or media will engage them best)?

3.What resources do you have at hand? (This will help you determine the right scope.)

I’m not sure we’re asking these questions enough before we get started.

I’m also concerned we’re not getting started.  Ramya just noted in this session that YouTube for nonprofits is the slowest growing vertical on the site.  Not enough nonprofits are involved, and too many just slap up a video without seeking to build a community or reaching out to popular YouTube users.

This is a great list of tips, but what’s not there? It’s the item missing from most professional social media plunges. “What is the mutual benefit for us and our audience?

So many companies diving into social media forget this important question. Professional social media marketers spend too much time on #1 and completely disregard this point I just brought up. But it’s probably the most important thing when it comes to engaging a market via social media.

So here’s the appended list of questions to ask before plunging into new media:

  1. What are you trying to do? (As opposed to what you are trying to say.  What are you trying to get a certain audience to do?)
  2. How best can you make that change occur? How can it best be done?  (Given your audience and where they hang out online or in the world, what technology or media will engage them best)
  3. What resources do you have at hand? (This will help you determine the right scope.)
  4. What is the mutual benefit? (How can you add value to the environment in which the conversation is happening? How does listening to your message directly benefit your audience? )

If you can’t answer this last question clearly, you’ll just end up amongst all the other noise your audience filters out to get to the (benefit) signal. The reason social media is social is because it’s permission-based, not push-based. With no mutual benefit for you and your audience, there will be no permission, or even worse: there will be, but it will be revoked because of backlash.

The image at the top of this post is Identically Named Places Connected(USA) by Neil Freeman and is available as a limited edition print from Next American City.

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