A Primer on Social Media for Nonprofits
That said, building your unique social network still requires a significant investment of time from your organization. Conceptualization, design, configuration and customization are all important steps in your process. For most groups, a network build is a small team's primary focus for at least a quarter of the year.
- Penetration rate: Often, a private social network's aim is to support and extend "connectedness" within a community of known size. Measure what percentage of your community is participating.
- Activity level: The question you want to ask after, "What percentage of my community has joined?" is, "How active are those who have?" If people are logging on, reading and making posts, creating friend connections, and sharing photos, then you are well on your way to achieving your goals.
- Lackluster adoption: You don't want to consume your organization's resources building a network that doesn't get utilized. To mitigate this risk make sure your network reflects social patterns that already exist, or at least have tremendous potential to exist, in the offline world. Also, be realistic about the ongoing resource commitment your network will require: As "host" you need to introduce new content and ideas to facilitate continuous engagement and relevancy for your members.
- Objectionable user-generated content: Private social networks can have an advantage with respect to objectionable content because they are often populated by a group that already shares a similar set of values and sensibilities. Also, the members are far less anonymous to one another than they might be in more disjoint networks like MySpace. The result is that these groups usually don't need much policing and will keep each other "in bounds" effectively. For your part, just be sure to provide links that allow people to flag or report suspect content so that it can be reviewed.
5 steps to start leveraging social media