Social media is not novel any more. Facebook and Twitter are now household names, worldwide. They connect people and causes, they build online communities, sure. But they also sell products, big time.
The corporate sector has discovered this power, and recently many nonprofits are finding these online, interactive communities to be powerful places to build awareness, engagement, and ultimately contributions.
Social enterprises can benefit from skillful use of these tools as well.
Here are some good examples of how social enterprises have used social media to sell their goods and services, from comments posted on the npEnterprise social enterprise listserv. You can do this too!
(1) The Scrap Exchange, a creative reuse center in Durham, NC, saw an increase in sales from a volunteer using twitter and facebook that they were able to hire the volunteer full-time. Here’s what they’re doing on Twitter: http://bit.ly/hXfgrT. [From Jeffrey Stern]
(2) Until recently, most of The Fender Music Foundation’s revenue has been inspired by its social media presence. We have not only received donations from our supporters on social media, we have also found many of our buying customers there. (We sell signed music memorabilia.) For us, it’s not about discounts or coupons; it’s about wearing our hearts on our sleeves and showing others why we are so excited about what we do. We also have a very broad presence, reaching out to many audiences online, not just our current supporters. Visit http://www.fendermusicfoundation.org to learn more about what we do. [From Moriah Harris-Rodger]
(3) With social media baked into their business plan from day one, Two Degrees Food http://twodegreesfood.com/ is by far the best example I have seen in the deployment of social media to generate sales: (Tagline: For every nutrition bar you buy, we give a nutrition pack to a hungry child.)
The Chairman & CEO of Two Degrees just made these comments which I offer as a follow up:
“and in fact one of our especially interesting ideas along that line are virtual bars which is up on our web site and which we hope will launch with quite good traction on Facebook shortly. We’re also talking to on-line greeting card retailers, social gaming companies etc about partnering virtual bars on their sites – you might remember virtual bars trigger the donation of a real nutrition pack to a malnourished child.” [From Laurance Allen]