Social media seems to be the talk of the century. If people don’t have a personal account, they most likely work for an organization that does. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn or the plethora of others, everyone is hopping on the social media bandwagon.
The organizations that choose to use social media tactics have good reason. Social media is capable of getting a message out to tons of people in the quickest and most efficient way the media has ever seen. It allows said organizations’ audiences to become aware. However, once those target audiences are aware, are they really going to follow through with steps to take action? According to a study conducted at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Communication and Waggner Edstrom, people seem to follow through.
After taking a look at the results from the study, we learn that people are more likely to become more active when hearing a message online than offline. This is due to convenience, efficiency and influence. People seem to feel they have more control over causes when they can participate on their own time.
This makes sense. How else do we hear about nonprofit causes or organizational messages? Through advertisements, solicitations and people on the streets. Advertisements are everywhere. They’re on televisions, billboards, poster boards and now social media. But, think about when you go to the grocery store or when you walk to campus for class. How many times do people approach you to ask for a few minutes of your time? Whether it’s to take a survey, answer a few questions, sign a petition or just listen to their 30 second schpiel, they always are attempting to get some message across to such pedestrians. The same goes with door-to-door or on-the-phone solicitations.
In reality, how many times do you stop to listen to this person? Does it depend on the cause they are supporting? Does it depend on if you’re in a rush to go somewhere? Does it depend on if you received the phone call during dinner? Or is it true that most of the time, we don’t want to stop and talk to people on the street because they are approaching us.
You see, people want to feel in control. They want to do things based on their individual prerogative. Having a stranger approach them is not only invasive, but it’s taking that sense of control away.
With social media, that problem does not exist. People are free to scroll through their newsfeed as they choose. They can read e-mails as they please. They can “like” a Facebook page if they want to. And they can search an organization when they are sincerely intrigued. The right to support a cause is in the hands of the individual and that’s why social media is so effective.