Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Your Brand and Social Media

Change Has a Ripple Effect
I wrote a post not too long ago about being a huckster. I've come to realize that being viewed as inauthentic is a horror of mine. I would always rather know the truth of myself and deal with it than see myself through a cracked mirror and this is one of those things that has become both easier and harder through the advent of social media.One can more easily learn what others think you, but dealing with it may become more difficult while the focus remains on you.

Take a look at any news or SM platform and you'll easily see that rumors can go to facts and facts become shown as made up from whole cloth within minutes on the internet. Also that backlash can be brutal: The Susan G. Komen Foundation canceled another of its biggest yearly events, the Lobbying Day, because they're still dealing with the aftermath of the Planned Parenthood de-funding debacle.

Not knowing who you are and what you stand for and reinforcing that through review and just plain taking-time-to-think can have very long-term consequences.

You might think this is a problem more likely for a large nonprofit than one your size, but I don't agree. In every encounter you have online or in person with someone where you are exchanging views relating to your nonprofit mission, you are holding up your brand and saying, 'this is who we are - this is what we believe.' And that statement can be more far-reaching and affect more than just the two participants in the conversation. Just ask those healthcare initiatives that will be affected by the Komen Foundation's diminished fundraising and lobbying efforts. They will be the losers even though they were not directly a part of the original argument.

If we are all inter-connected (and we are), then the actions we take and the tone we set can never occur within a vacuum. Only by understanding who we are and how what we do may affect the lives and works of others, can we more confidently take steps into action using social media, trusting in our sense of self to guide us.

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