The Social Media for Non-Profits Conference in San Francisco on November 4 was great opportunity to learn and connect with some amazing social media enthusiasts. The biggest takeaway for E-Mediat team was that social media should not be an after-thought in an organization’s communications strategy. Organizations should work on their communications strategy but should be flexible to adapt and align components of this strategy to the social media tools they choose to use. For instance, Craig Newmark, founder & customer service representative, Craigslist, made a great comment when he pointed out one ‘worst practice’ on social media: “Don’t speak on social media in the language of press releases.”
Victor d’Allant, Global Media Executive with a decade’s experience in building Internet/social media organizations, was impressive in emphasizing that “information tells but a story sells.” It’s helpful to interact and engage with your audience rather than simply flooding them with information. Victor’s comment that he was not on Facebook was surprising but his presentation provided a valid justification for it. According to Victor every organization needs to profile their audience and get a sense of the social media platforms used by the target audience. If your organization’s target audience is not on Facebook it makes no sense to create a Facebook page simply because others have it. Choose your tools after assessing the social media habits of your audience and not because your organization is more comfortable using a particular platform.
Relationship building is the heart of social media. The statement that “I am not a social media person” is a myth. We love building relationships as individuals or organizations and social media is simply another platform that allows us to do so. We know from our personal experiences that relationship building requires time and effort. Creating an on-line social network goes beyond just setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account. You will have to listen, talk and engage with people on the on-line platforms to cultivate worthwhile relationships.
Greg Baldwin, President, VolunteerMatch, made an impressive presentation and asserted that “It’s not easy to change the world but with social media it is easy to try!” Beth Kanter was truly awesome in simplifying the complex measurement and benchmarking of social media goals. [Part of Beth’s presentation will be uploaded soon].
One favorite, among several others, was the presentation by Dave Boyce, CEO of Fundly. His most impressive comment was that non-profits should not be viewed as “not-for-profit” but as “for cause” organizations.
Learning at the conference was not limited to listening to speakers on the podium but included exchanging ideas and feedback on presentations via twitter. For E-Mediat team this was not a one day conference in San Francisco but an opportunity for continuous engagement with many speakers and members of audience on twitter. The network built at the conference continues to flourish on-line.