It’s never an end goal to only get consumers to become your Facebook fan (or should I say “liker” now?). The real goal is to have the consumer like you, follow you, and become engaged with your mission to then take action — offline action. This is why social media ROI continues to evade us. Think of this action sequence: offline to online then, the most important piece, online to offline. That last piece – the conversion to offline action taken after identifying with a cause or organization online – is the hardest to measure.
Enter location based applications, such as FourSquare and Gowalla. They give me hope for getting a better handle on offline action because checking in is essentially recording an offline action, online. What does this mean for nonprofits? The implications are clear for nonprofits that have locations across the nation. “I’m at NYC’s Food Bank w/4 others (bit.ly.gpslocationlink); Just donated 4 lbs of food!”
Think of the targeted mobile advertising possibilities: I check in to American Apparel and receive a coupon for 10% off a t-shirt and $3 of the sale goes to Save the Children. I buy the t-shirt, and check in to let everybody know I’ve done so (so maybe my friends can get in on the deal as well). Then, the next time I’m at American Apparel, I’m going to check my phone for another sweet discount AND (hopefully) an opportunity to help children. A satisfied shopper and probably a return customer, concerned with the triple bottom line, is born.
In the nonprofit world our bottom line is action and promoting behavioral change. If social media reports went from “we have 6,000 online followers” to “$6,000 donated food to NYC’s Food Bank” those numbers are truly results to base a return on investment.
It’s exciting that checking in is the new checking it out. And now we know if you actually did it.