Monday, March 17, 2008

The Nature Conservancy turns to Social Media to Spin Public Opinion

Faced with mounting criticism of its corporate policies, greedy financial operations, and declining use of outdoor recreational facilities, The Nature Conservancy has turned to a new media for gaining public support: social media. The Internet is a powerful tool for reaching young adults who embrace the concept of environmental conservation yet may have little experience in land management or municipal finance. This age group is likely to be more friendly toward The Nature Conservancy based on its environmental programs. These people are less likely to be aware that environmental programs are a minor portion of The Nature Conservancy’s overall operation that primarily generates its $1.3 billion annual revenue from land brokerage and deals with for-profit companies. Users of Web sites like Facebook, Digg and Stumbleupon are more likely to be impressed with the popular opinion of The Nature Conservancy among their peers and less affected by adverse opinions of the organization expressed in mainstream news media.

The efforts are paying off, according to an interview with marketer Jonathon Colman. The Nature Conservancy has become a leading expert in using the Internet’s social media to spin public opinion and market the world’s most powerful non-profit organization.

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