Facing up to Facebook
I mentioned this route was also a risky road to take. When blending your workaday Facebook and your weekend Facebook personas, you have to be prepared to maintain a certain level of professionalism at all times. It’s a tricky balance to remain “real” enough to encourage the human connection, while still operating within the confines of an organization’s standards of behavior even when you are off the clock. It does sometimes feel like living a double life, but the connections I’ve been able to make through this method have been astounding and well worth the extra effort.
Tips for putting a face on your Facebook efforts
- Have a social-media policy in place for any individuals representing your organization, as well as for other employees who might be using social-media sites. Make sure the expectations and behavior are clearly defined and understood by both the management and the employee making the contact.
- Create a separate e-mail address in your Outlook account for social media. I use an e-mail address that goes into my Outlook account and is used only as a contact e-mail for social-networking sites. I receive many questions to this address regarding the organization I work for or the Causes page itself on Facebook and how donations work through the page’s application. Having this e-mail address allows me to answer as myself, Christina, but from my organizations’ e-mail address to maintain a level of professionalism and authenticity when responding.
- When you thank new members for joining your Causes page or group, always ask them to tell their friends about the cause. Keep the thank you short and casual. Remember, the whole point is to communicate more like friends than in the formal structure of an appeal to a donor.
- Separate personal and professional contacts. I have more than 500 friends on Facebook, but almost 100 of them are people who have requested me as a friend because of the Causes pages I have created. To help me keep social-networking contacts separated from my personal friends, I make lists within my Facebook account. You also can limit what lists of friends see which elements of your personal profile.
- Make sure you have the time it takes to manage these relationships successfully. Causes pages might start out small with only 50 members, and then before you know it (if you’re lucky) you have thousands of members and 30 e-mails/messages a day with 10 to 20 new members each day. If you slip on updating your messages, answering questions, making page updates or sending thank-you notes, people will forget about you and turn their attention to something else.
Christina Johns is the project coordinator for radio and TV at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, as well as a regular contributor to FundRaising Success’ monthly Giving 2.0 e-letter.