Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who's Your Point?

"Pigeon Pt. Lighthouse"

When talking about investment in social media, most people concentrate on the money aspect.

Yes, it's cheap to get into social media in the sense that most platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) don't charge for membership. Conceivably, you could create a dozen online social media accounts for your small nonprofits and all it would cost the agency is time.

Wait a minute... Time's not free, is it?

Dang right it isn't.

Still, once you've gotten an account on all the relevant platforms and created all the profiles and done all the linkage, it shouldn't be hard to sustain it, right?

Excuse me while I get over my laughing fit.

When it's all set up is when the real work begins. Someone has to monitor all those communities and reply to questions and concerns. Someone has to write tweets, blogs, wall-scrawls, short blurbs, upload pics, send congrats, collect information, etc.

And for that, you need a point person. Someone who will stand like a beacon of light and information for your community (like the way I tied that into the pic of the Pigeon POINT lighthouse? Okay, moving on.).

In a small nonprofit, staffers generally wear more than one hat. I get it - I've been there and had a whole closet full of chapeaux. But this isn't just another task to be "gifted" to the nearest admin assistant or marketing intern.

The whole point (there's that word again) of social media is interaction to build community. Nothing else. Not to get names and emails for newsletters or plea letters. Not to solicit and manage volunteers. Not to publicize fundraisers or other events. Community. Because when you have community, you get volunteers and donations and people who want to attend your events. Everything flows from community.

So the person you want tweeting or blogging or posting pics and interacting with your community is someone who gets it. Someone who not only understands your mission but knows how to communicate that passion to their friends and "followers" in social media. This someone can have other jobs, like the rest of the staffers, but furthering your social media strategy should be his/her primary job.

A point person is one who points out the way for the rest of the group; moves ahead of them and scouts ahead for threats (more on that in another post) and opportunities. Make sure that you have a social media point person and that he or she has the support needed to do their job.
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