Most marketers tend to think that social media marketing is social media marketing; regardless of whether the marketing is of non-profit organizations or for-profit companies.

The truth is there is a big difference.

Marketing efforts for non-profit organizations are to encourage people to give whereas marketing of for-profit businesses are designed to encourage people to buy and, when you think about it, creating a pitch list that speaks to the two different audiences require contrasting skills and mindsets.

Marketing of the for-profit businesses focus on a number of elements that don’t necessarily exist in the marketing of non-profit organizations.

When marketing for the for-profit goods and services, the consumer’s purchase goods and services for their own use. Marketing in the non-profit space should communicate directly to the donors what specific benefits the goods and services provide to the people supported by the non-profit.
In the for-profit world, goods and services are typically measurable where the consumer gives dollars for a specific and measurable product or service. In the non-profit world the marketing must promote specific programs by targeting social causes, which usually have immeasurable outcomes.
Marketing goods and services in the for-profit world to secure one-way transactions most often result in increased and measurable frequency and success. Non-profit marketing must create, foster and facilitate two-way interaction between the organization and the donor, typically resulting in a longer “sales”.
For-profit marketing of goods and services tends to be easier as the price of the goods and services are determined by the market. Marketing of non-profits require the organization to depend heavily on the knowledge provided to the individual donor about the social cause rather than focusing on market value.
Creating a positive user-experience with the actual product or service typically results in repeat customers. Creating a positive experience with the non-profit organization itself is necessary to fuel repeat donors.

While this shows some pretty distinct differences, there are still similarities in social media marketing of for-profit vs. non-profit. Remember, social media is all about the conversations. When speaking consumers in the for-profit sector, the actual pitch list or conversation will be the biggest difference.

Generating messages requesting individuals to purchase your products and services should be designed to appeal to the value, need, want and desire of the product vs. generating messages requesting individuals donate monies to a non-profit; where those conversations will be a little more in-depth, lengthier, and should speak more to the emotional level of the individuals who will potentially make a donation.