Whether you prefer tweeting or posting, social media is the main tool you probably use to bring people to your website. It’s how most organizations spread up-to-date news, share campaign details, or invite action outside of their website.
But what if, one day, the social media rug was pulled out from underneath you, and your organization lost all its channels for quick connectivity?
Unfortunately, this is a reality your organization could face — and many already have. Facebook, for one, stopped showing all political ads in October 2020 but announced they’re lifting the ban. Political ads included social issues, meaning your organization’s content could have been affected. And as recently as February, many organizations in Australia saw the content on their Facebook pages completely wiped away, thanks to a controversial news ban Facebook instigated in opposition to paying for news content on their platforms.
These events made one thing obvious: the social media landscape as we know it could dramatically change any day. But you don't have to let Facebook or Twitter dictate how you connect with your supporters.
Your website is your digital hub, connecting everything in your digital and real-world channels into a unified machine. The possibility of losing social media as the driver to your digital hub stresses that you must do more than simply own your content. You must own how you draw people to it.
It’s imperative your organization stays aware of evolving policies and trends so you can plan and react accordingly — and not sacrifice advancement toward your mission.
On Social Media, Your Cause is on Shifting Sands
Our highly polarized society means lines between political issues and social issues have blurred into either red or blue. As heels dig in, this shift will continue, and your nonprofit will need to stay vigilant as to how this affects you. It may come down to knowing what you can and can’t post on your social media channels before it’s considered political material.
For nonprofits just trying to spread their message and increase awareness, social media has never been so complicated to navigate. What was once a straightforward way to draw people to your digital hub with the click of a “Tweet” has now morphed into a necessary evil.
On one hand, you need your social channels to rally your supporters to take immediate action, share important information, and attract new followers. On the other hand, the attention-and-algorithm economy sows disinformation and speeds siloism in such a way that only exacerbates the societal ills your organization is working to change.
When it comes to spending ad dollars on these platforms that add to society’s multiplying issues of disinformation and harassment, some progressive companies have had enough. Patagonia and The North Face are just two companies that pulled their ads in the 2020 #StopHateForProfit campaign. This campaign is an effort to hold social media companies accountable for the language and ideologies they allow to spread on their platforms.
Meanwhile, the cost of boosting posts and running ad campaigns on these platforms is rising. The cost to acquire new followers isn’t cheap, which may become prohibitive to your organization on its own.
The Biden administration brings the possibility of anti-trust initiatives against Facebook, Google, and others. And breaking up elements of data usage and personal privacy on these platforms could lead to more segmented and siloed audiences that your organization still needs to reach.
We’ve also seen the exodus of conservative groups from mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter after the former president was de-platformed. Their shift to Parler was short-lived as that site was denied a hosting platform. No matter what side of the political spectrum your organization is on, there is always the possibility of audiences leaving for other platforms based on how these companies choose to run their businesses.
All of this is to say — it is an uncertain time for messaging through social media. Tap someone on your team to stay up-to-date about each of the platforms you use and the wider conversations about it.