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The Internet through interactive technologies, such as web 2.0 and social media sites, has immense potential to reach new volunteers or customers if harnessed to its full potential.

One of the challenges facing an organisation is the need to ensure that their website, as well as social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, are maintained and kept up to date. Unfortunately, this duplicates workloads and creates silos of information, making it difficult to establish and leverage connections across these various Internet technologies.

This also causes ongoing costs and delays for an organisation since their website is often outsourced to a web designer who may not always promptly add new content.

One of the most powerful benefits of the Internet is the immediacy of content but this can be a drawback for an organisation, if their website is not maintained on an ongoing basis. A website is often the first point of contact for a prospective volunteer, member or client and information that is out of date will deter these visitors from investigating further.

Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly important in exchanging information and reaching new volunteers, members or clients.

Internet technologies and their usage rates in sharing information

Internet technologies and their usage rates in sharing information (from The Business Insider)

The graph indicates the dominance of Facebook over email when exchanging information and shows that Twitter is experiencing solid growth.

While email is likely to always have a role in Internet communications, it is clear that social media technologies, like Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly important. This is because people choose their connections when using social media, meaning they connect with people they know. This has benefits when exchanging information since it operates like an Internet equivalent to word of mouth referrals.

The result is a community that has been formed around your organisation, strengthening the ability to recruit volunteers, members or new customers and reaching a new demographic that tends to not respond to traditional marketing. The Internet, like all forms of marketing, needs to complement your other activities so that you provide a consistent message and focus.

Many organisations are keen to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter but duplicating content is tedious and time consuming since it stretches already limited resources.

The solution is to separate the design of your website from its content, using technology known as a Content Management System (CMS). A Content Management System empowers an organisation so that they can add and modify content on their website, while their web designer develops templates to ensure a consistent layout across the site.

The system we use is known as WordPress, which is a content management system and blogging platform. This system allows for the easy publishing of information and operates similarly to a Word Processor.

Furthermore, this content can be replicated across other technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter and other websites. In addition, relevant stakeholders, such as media outlets, volunteers or customers, can receive updates via email.

The end result is one of lower ongoing costs since an organisation only requires design and not ongoing maintenance from a web developer. In addition, there is a decrease in workloads since Facebook, Twitter and subscribers automatically receive new content when it is published on your website.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Peter Feeney says:

    Nice, well set out, web site Alex. You are extremely well equipped for your new venture and deserve to be successful at it.

    Does this mean I can expect to see you at the Communities in Control Conference, networking and promoting your services?

    • Alex Makin says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your positive words and for being the first to comment on the site!

      Wasn’t able to make this year’s Communities in Control Conference, due to council commitments on the two days. I am hoping however to be able to attend in future years.

      I hope you have been well and it’s great to hear from you.

      Thanks,

      Alex

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