Integrating social media among your peers and within the overall strategy of your charity or nonprofit is not simply a matter of establishing a Facebook presence and hoping for the best. DearMedia, have spent the spring interviewing numerous companies and large nonprofits in the US and Europe to explore what (if anything) these companies were doing to develop their social networks. They have been sharing their findings over the last couple of weeks, and some of their discoveries show how excited, yet hesitant, many organizations remain when it comes to social networking., branding and word-of-mouth strategist at InSites Consulting, and , strategic consultant at
For example,though most companies want to have an SM presence, over half of them block social-media accounts to employees’ computers: “How can you expect your company to get organized for social media when the infrastructure is not optimal? 56% of companies still block social media (InSites Consulting research). It is difficult to learn how to work with Twitter if you can’t use it.”
Tough to argue against that one. Other insights they offer demonstrate the difference between having a social-media presence and having a social-media strategy. The former can feel vague and frustrating. The latter can bring clients and customers well beyond your original target audience to your organization.
The foundation for any strategy is training and building the knowledge of the staff. Everyone needs to be involved, even those not directly producing the SM content. Everyone who works for your charity needs to know why the charity’s social media are important and what (generally) can be found through those channels. The researchers suggest ‘‘ to see which people are most competent on what topics, and to encourage people to gain information out of their comfort zones.
Toward the end of the beginning efforts, the authors stress the development of a pilot project or two that focuses as much on intra-organizational engagement as it does on outreach. The project should not be too ambitious because part of the exercise is to see what works, what does not, and who can accomplish which tasks in an efficient manner. A too complex project might make coaching and tweaking too difficult.
Over time (Steve and Dado argue an organization should start with at least a 2-year commitment), future recruitment, spinoff projects, even adjustments to the organizations staff structure, all should be undertaken with careful attention to the social-networking expectations of the original strategy. “Flexible and quick marketing” will be the goal of a thoroughly embedded and engaged social-networking strategy, and organizations that have begun the carefully considered infrastructural and cultural changes will be well ahead of the curve.