Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
Automate profile content from blogs, Web sites and other sources: Not all of the content that appears on your social-networking site needs to be created there; as mentioned before, many sites offer tools to allow you to pull in content from your Web site or blog, or from others around the Web.
“Facebook allows you to pull in all your RSS feeds from other services,” social-media consultant David Brazeal says. “When you update your blog or your podcast or your Twitter, it’s published to your Facebook profile, too.”
Many nonprofits are taking advantage of RSS and blog-publishing applications, bookmarklets (tools on your browser that let you easily share links to your social-networking profile), and open APIs that allow you to easily republish content from social-bookmarking sites, blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and even Web sites. Be careful: Discovering what technologies work well together still involves a bit of trial and error.
When pulling in content from other sites, be mindful that sites have different cultures and respond to communication styles differently. Lewis, who works on multiple sites, says, “At first, it was a trial and error for all of these networks. I posted the same thing on every one of the networks. I monitored what kind of responses I got, as well as the tone of communication. Then I modified my messaging based on the responses I received. This is how I became familiar with the different crowds and learned how to speak to them more effectively.”
Kristin Taylor, social media strategist for PBS Interactive, says, “Every social network is different, and every user is different — there are levels of privacy, rules of friending and a certain expectation of transparency. Respect that and you’ll be fine.”
Keep up with policies and new developments: NWF’s Brigida advises nonprofit staffers who work on social-networking sites to keep an eye on changes in features or policies that speak to their specific needs.