Keeping Up With the Joneses: Discovering What You Really Need

Knowing what is current in your industry is a must, but it does not imply that you should adopt every trend. From social media accounts to the latest technology, trends regularly infiltrate our decision-making process. Someone on your board recently went to an event that utilized QR codes; why aren’t you using QR codes?! You receive a phone call from an upset client; you send out paper newsletters?  It’s 2012; go green like the rest of the world!

Take a breath and relax.  Each time you are tempted to hop on the bandwagon of the latest trend, take a moment to determine whether it will have a positive impact on your organization.  

New Technology

If there is a new technology that has emerged within your industry, set up a demo with the company to get a better feel for how it can positively impact your organization.  Whether it is an educational scheduling and communication system (I wish they had these when I was in college!), mobile electronic auctions, or conferencing software, be aware of the potential value add. Bottom line: Definitely check out the new technology to see how it can modernize your organization, but be prudent.  As with any technology, things can quickly go amiss.

I was recently at a hotel and wanted to order room service.  As I ransacked the room in pursuit of the room service menu, I realized it was sitting right in front of me…in the shape of a computer.  The touch screen options were practically a digital concierge, and lo and behold I found the menu for which I had been searching.  As a millennial I feel pretty confident with technology, but I have to admit, I felt like this had gone a little far.  Is it really necessary to have the room service menu online?  There was no extra convenience to us as hotel guests.  I can only hope it’s a good cost savings to the hotel.  Sorry baby-boomers; it seems even the basics are being replaced.  Bottom line: Don’t over do it.

Facebook Pages

If you are an organization that can cater to anyone, say Netflix, it makes sense to have a Facebook page because the more people who “like” your page, the more opportunity you have to promote special offers, as well as channel potential customers to your site to instantly sign-up online.  There are specific calls-to-action that Netflix can roll-out through Facebook.  Similarly, nonprofit organizations that are trying to raise money on a national level, such as the American Heart Association, are good Facebook page candidates.  It is also a great place for news blasts to be published featuring recent articles and promotions.  Bottom line: Facebook pages are a great way to reach millions of people with the click of a button.

The smaller the group, organization, or event, the less need there is to have a Facebook page.  Do you have a staffer who is monitoring what is posted on an hourly/daily basis?  In what way is a Facebook page going to serve your organization?  Be realistic in your expectations of how many people you will reach via Facebook.  If it is easier to create a Facebook page for your most recent fundraising campaign than creating its own page within your website, then go for it.  But remember that links are easily shared through Facebook, thus it may be smarter to create a page within your website to increase incoming traffic.  Bottom line: if you don’t have a call-to-action associated with your Facebook page, there is little reason for it to exist.

Ultimately, it may not be to your organization’s advantage to keep up with the Joneses. Be strategic when addressing the latest trends in your industry.  Maybe one in four will work for you which would be great!  But be aware that many trends could become detrimental to your organization, causing more headaches than it was worth to be a part of the latest trend.

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