Six 2013 social media trends for nonprofits

Since I mentioned LASA Digital Summit (notes here) it’s probably also a good idea to summarize my points on what I think the trends in social media for nonprofits in 2013. I usually do not like predictions so what I am listing in here is simply based on my observations of where the current conversations, case studies and offline reactions are heading. I am also taking a rather positive approach hoping that most of these will actually happen:

1. Social customer relationship will become more important than social channels and stats and I hope that more nonprofits will experience the value of establishing long term relationships with audiences exactly this way. Our conversation on Monday drastically migrated towards the brand integrity of BT when I mentioned their great @BTCare Twitter customer service and I do agree that from a consumer point of view this is still only the beginning of their journey. From my professional perspective, I am really happy to see a small Twitter account experimenting and delivering a human tonality, respect and actual support to the customers, even if it’s a small chunk – for me, it serves as inspiration. I hope that in December 2013 I will have a good non-profit example too.

2. Transmedia – I am really fortunate that I managed to have a chat with @transmediology at #MozFest last weekend (really inspiring person!) because I feel that social media professionals start to use the term quite reasonably. I think we will see nonprofits using various types of content across well managed multiple platforms more and more often. I think my point on small charities on Monday was misunderstood and I apologise for not making it clearer – I think both large and small charities have a potential to benefit from transmedia stories I just think we still lack in volume of those case studies. I see quite a few clients of mine starting to manage the silos more effectively and embracing the change in culture social media can generate. I trust we will see more of that story driven change next year.

3. Technology – 4G and new tech will most certainly change the way we will experience and utilise the social web. I cannot predict how, but I feel that whatever comes next will make us, even more, device independent. I see people like to refer to the cloud, but this is not a new trend as such. I think we will see a more general adoption of centralised data sets and collaboration tools, many of which will be based in the cloud, online and in social networks.

4. The rise of brand ambassador engagement? Now this one is a big question mark to me but I really hope that few leading innovators will prompt other organisations to finally open up, educate their supporters on organisational messages and goals and simply let them do the work WITH the brand, WITH the organisation or on its behalf. I hope more nonprofits will learn to use social media analytics tools (free and complex ones) to listen and interpret the word of mouth in the context of their work. I hope they will also make the most of the content already created for them instead of spending huge budgets on sterile PR messages. I hope that social media volunteering will become a norm too.

5. Boundaries between commercial brands and nonprofits will blur even more. I feel it is an inevitable change.

6. I might be biased due to the topic of my book but I have a feeling that we will see more individuals raising the standards of digital campaigning, fundraising and online philanthropy. We will see them shifting between sectors, silos, particular activities. They will wear multiple hats and work on multiple projects. Their personal trust and reputation will rise. I think the more honest social web practitioners, the better!

Now, this is my take. What am I missing? Let me know!

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