Making the Social Media Commitment

The opening session at last month’s NonProfit 2.0 focused on free agents – those who write about your organization and/or actively volunteer with it. The discussion evolved into a discussion about how to get an organization to commit to social media.

Allison Fine noted that CEOs and Boards know they have to embrace social media, but they aren’t sure of how to go about doing that. “Organizational cultural change is hard,” Allison said. “We’re talking about culture shift.”

Beth Kanter added, “The message you need to send is patience.”

Of importance to executives is measuring ROI. Beth recommends looking at the four I’s.

1)      Return on Insight: You are learning how people feel about your organization and its work. You also learn how to do things better.

2)      Return on Interaction: How well are you engaging with people?

3)      Return on Investment: Are you converting people into supporters?

4)      Return on Impact: You need to track real-world results, both online and on land.

Social media is not simply about using it, it’s about engaging. “We need to engage and energize people,” Allison said.

One way to do that is to use interns to coach senior staff on using Twitter and Facebook. The goal is to leave the organization with capacity. Another way to offer training is to hold a brown bag lunch and provide training to all staff.

“You need courage and patience to do this well,” Beth said.

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