Difficult not to start this post with a shout-out to the Baltimore Orioles, who beat the Red Sox at Fenway last night after 17 innings. One of the best of the many anomalies of the game is the fact that the O’s Designated Hitter, Chris Davis went 0-for-8, with 5 strikeouts − and was the winning pitcher, throwing two shut-out innings when the rest of the staff was used up. It takes a team, and everyone contributes something critical to the overall success.
And it should be that way for your nonprofit or charity as well. Whatever the extent of your staff, you need to structure a social-media team who are dedicated to listening, contributing, and monitoring your outreach both quantitatively and qualitatively.
As a team, the first thing to stress is that it needs to be more than one person. First of all, the job takes a good deal of time and focus as you must monitor across a series of platforms that will likely require tweaks to messaging. Sharing the workload will save energy and keep enthusiasm up. Sharing also provides a necessary but friendly bit of oversight: nothing like a bit of fatigue or haste to send out a tweet that should have included the word “not” and brings on a wave of unwanted publicity. And every team needs a good manager, so make sure your nonprofit’s management is on board with the strategy and the members picked for the work.
Gopi Mamidipudi at SocialMediaToday.comthat we heartily endorse as well. He stresses the need to listen, the ability to respond quickly to the conversation when necessary (“This team has to be available 24x7x365. The Internet NEVER SLEEPS, so also this team.”). The patience to track metrics across all your platforms and within each campaign also requires the support of teammates.
His last point is “Establish rules of engagement: Establish a communications protocol or framework that is effective and usable. While it creates a boundary for the team members on what they can say and when, it should also give relative freedom to express themselves.” This point could be where the best team still gets caught in a run-down, as committees go back and forth on what messaging should be and individuals on the social media team grow in confidence and experience that they can make the quick play when needed without consultation.
Some excellent guidance for establishing these rules has recently been provided byto those who register at their site. The workbook really is just that: be prepared to fill in blanks and respond to multiple-choice questions (with your teammates − this is one assignment you’re expected to collaborate on).
This workbook is designed to help you, as an organization, ask the important questions about social media. Because of the difficult nature of some of these questions, consider these worksheets conversation starters—gather the core people in your organization involved in social media to help you think through them. Who should be involved? It depends on your organization, but examples include the people defining your overall communications strategy, those defining your social media goals and activities, those managing the actual social media sites on a day-to-day basis, and someone from the executive team.
It’s an excellent resource to lay out your team’s strategy for the entire summer season. You should also revisit the questions after 6-8 months once you have some stats and more experience and the team games shift for the winter. Social media can be where the best laid plans meet the surprising and inspirational play, but remember that the social media team are almost-literally your pitching staff. The wins you are looking for are for the entire nonprofit or charity, so don’t forget you want their work to be part of a larger communications strategy that can get you all the way to the pennant.