Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
When recruiting participants, social media consultant Ian Wilker suggests seeking out the same qualities you would look for in a face-to-face networker.
“Find the people … who are incredibly effective at advancing your mission through real-world relationships with others,” he says. “Encourage them to bring online the same values and passion they exhibit in real life.”
You also can involve more teammates by inviting staff members to use their personal profiles to represent the organization. Danielle Brigida, associate operations coordinator of the National Wildlife Federation, says, “I like to look at social networking as an ecosystem: When you have a number of people picking up different niches, the system is stronger and healthier. Most of the time, you are your best advocate. The more people involved from your organization, the greater the impact, and without a personal touch these social networks become bland very quickly.”
Sharing the workload has other advantages as well. Says Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Dunn, “Keeping the organization’s social-network project tightly compartmentalized within just one person’s domain personalizes it too much — if it succeeds, you’re all geniuses; but if it fails, then it was just ‘Your Bad Idea.’ If the board gives your organization the green light, the whole organization needs to get on board with it too.”
6. Keep it personal.
“People love having an actual person to connect to from an organization, and two-way communication is what makes social networks so successful,” HSUS’ Lewis says.
Each organization has its own approach to adding to its list of contacts, or “friending,” on social networks. Well-known blogger and social-media guru Robert Scoble accepts all friend requests, for example, while social-media expert and author Shel Israel prefers to establish a connection first by sending potential contacts a private message. Other organizations approve friends based on their personal, professional or organizational goals.