Creating Your 'Virtual Porch'
As you drive or walk through neighborhoods in our cities and towns, you often see people gathered together on porches. They’re talking, laughing and learning, pausing for a few minutes to spend some time with each other. They value the community of family and friends they know they’ll find on that porch.
Your goal with social media is to create a “virtual porch,” a welcoming, reliably satisfying environment. If you’re successful, people will want to stop and spend some time with you and their friends. They’ll share stories, they’ll learn from each other and they’ll grow closer to your organization.
Whether your organization is new to social media or already at the stage where you are looking beyond basics, here are some points to consider.
Don’t just ‘let the kid do it’
Too many organizations rely on an intern or the young “tech geeks” to manage their social-media platforms. Sure, it’s OK to let them post, if you provide the content, training and guidance about the tone, impact and character of those messages. Never let someone who isn’t experienced and passionate regarding your organization’s mission and impact have control of your message.
The person on the front line communicating with your social networks should be well-trained regarding your mission, your policies, your goals, your expectations and your risk thresholds.
‘Did we put that on Facebook?’
Just as you have a marketing or outreach plan, you should have a social-media plan. As you integrate social media into your organizational plans, maintain awareness that “social” is more important than “media.” While forming a plan for social-media outreach, consider the following:
- Target: Who do you want to talk to?
- Channels: Where are they? What social sites are they most actively using?
- Content: What do they want to hear? What are their interests?
- Timing: How frequently will you post?
- Outcomes/Goals: How does that help you?