Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
Is your organization considering setting up a profile on a social-networking site? Are you wondering what tasks are involved, how much time it will take, and how you might streamline your efforts? Maybe your organization has established a presence on MySpace and is now contemplating adding one to Facebook. Perhaps you’re wondering how you can juggle multiple profiles and still have time left to do other work.
As more and more organizations jump on the social-networking bandwagon, people are seeking ways to make the time spent on these tools as efficient and fruitful as possible. I recently surveyed several nonprofit professionals and social-networking mavens about their social-networking habits. The tips below, taken from their responses, offer suggestions for effectively managing your profiles and contacts on social-networking sites, finding people with relevant interests to your nonprofit or professional goals, working between multiple sites, and getting the most out of social-networking tools even if you’re not a Web designer or techie.
1. Invest time in your network.
While most online social networks cost nothing for your organization to join, keep in mind that creating a strong online presence on one can require an investment of up to two hours a day, especially in the beginning when you are learning how to use the site, setting up your profile and making friends. If you’re unprepared to make this commitment, you might want to reconsider using these tools at your organization.
If you don’t have someone on staff who can help manage your social networks, you might want to seek outside help. Heather Mansfield, online community manager at Change.org, suggests finding a social-networking intern or an assistant who can spend a minimum of 10 hours per week managing your site or sites, noting that many organizations are seeking full-time staffers to do the job.