3 Steps to Success on Facebook by Hildy Gottlieb
We hear it almost every day - another organization who is wildly successful on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace. Wanting that same success, organizational leaders sign up, spend a while getting the lay of the land, and start participating.
Soon they begin to doubt they will ever see the wild success that other organization experienced. Resigning themselves to paltry (if any results), they sigh, We tried it, but Social Media is just not for us.
They could not be farther from the truth.
Virtually every organization can successfully put Social Media to use. The first step towards that success is determining what exactly success will mean for you. From there, success simply requires a plan. As with most successful actions, the important part of the effort is not so much what you do, but the thinking that comes before the doing.
Social Media is Just a
I am thinking about getting a phone. Who should I call? What should I say to them? How long before the phone will help us reach our goals?
Sounds silly, of course - but that is really what we are asking when we ask, What should I talk about on Twitter or Facebook or MySpace?
Just like a telephone, Social Media is simply a tool (or more accurately a group of tools) that can help facilitate engagement.
And just as you do not need a separate plan for using your telephone or fax machine to facilitate successful engagement, you also do not need a separate Social Media Plan. What you do need is an overall Community Engagement Plan - a plan that will guide all the engagement activities of your whole organization, whether in person or over the internet.
Creating a Community Engagement Plan
to Include Social Media
You can begin to create a Community Engagement Plan by asking 3 simple questions:
What parts of your organization's work & goals can be enhanced by engaging others, in person or online?
What do you want engagement to accomplish for your organization? As you answer this question, avoid ever-meaningless catch phrases like "get the word out about us." Also, yes, put "money" on the list, but quickly get beyond that, too.
Dig deep to ask, "What could really be different / better if we engaged others in the various aspects of our work?" Make a separate list per project / program. And to be as successful as possible, make a separate list for each of your goals within each program.
For each of those goals listed in #1, what types of people / groups could you engage to accomplish that goal?
For each goal, list every single group or type of individual that might help you reach that goal.
For each of those groups, then, ask, "What might we ask or tell about, that will inspire / encourage / intrigue individuals in those groups to want to work with us to accomplish our goals?
This question will lead you to a list of subjects to communicate (i.e. tweet about) that would interest your target audience in your work.
Using these three questions, you will now have far more than just a list of things to tweet about (or share on Facebook, etc.). You will have the beginnings of a hardcore Community Engagement Plan that can begin to help you build relationships with community members who will work side-by-side with you as an ongoing partner, in any and every way imaginable, building an army of support for your mission and vision, with the end goal of making the community a better place to live.
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