Mo Buttons, Mo Problems?

While Facebook’s donate button has garnered the most media attention, other social media portals have recently gotten in on the button action. On September 29th, YouTube introduced additional shopping ads that take viewers directly to the advertiser’s site, while Twitter officially unveiled its much anticipated buy button one day later. Both buttons are designed to make organizations’ social media portals another revenue stream, and for consumer products, both offer obvious opportunities. Social change organizations, though, face a subtler way of making the most out of this new development.

These new buy tools are often framed with “retail” language, but “buy” can quickly become more accessible and relatable for organizations when they equate “buy” with “donate.” Don’t think of these buttons as solely transactional, rather think of them as a way to build an engaged user base. A user will see your content and have another action to take with it. And if an additional revenue stream occurs, much like Facebook, view it as supplemental.

These developments also have the added benefit of allowing organizations to directly connect with communities beyond their customers. Both the Twitter and YouTube button have the allure of lowering organization’s customer/donor acquisition cost, which is always beneficial. Create original, shareable content that is on brand and complement it with a paid advertising campaign. The buttons will be an added windfall for your content and you will have new users to target for a more widespread campaign.

The YouTube buy button is a direct link to the advertiser’s site, which eliminates the need for a middleman. The New York Times believes that the new buy button is most effective for product reviews, which lets a watcher click on the video and immediately purchase the product. For social change organizations, the corollary to a product review is issue commentary, thus generating additional income for a cause while promoting valuable information is a way to take advantage of both specialties.

Finally, the obvious benefit — allowing organizations to sell and distribute merchandise directly on social media, which is a great way to increase donations, awareness, spread support and create brand ambassadors. Social change organizations should have a healthy amount of merchandise with logos to help build awareness.

New tools constantly arrive to help organizations grow and social change organizations are no different. Much like our final thought in “From the Catwalk to the Office,” one lesson rings true: embrace change and embrace newness. When you accept the inevitability of change, you create lasting social change.