Social Media: Personal, Professional or Both?
(The following is based on Cheryl Black's session, "Let's Get Nerdy! Personal, Professional or Both," from the AFP TechKnow Conference, which took place Monday and Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.)
Traditionally there's quite a bit of anxiety about mixing personal and professional interests. Hiring a friend, dating a co-worker or even inviting the boss to a barbecue are all sticky issues.
But when it comes to social media, the mix is nearly inevitable. Because social media is by definition social but today is also a necessity in your business toolbox, it blurs the black and white lines of personal and professional.
You can lead your organization successfully into this gray area through three considerations.
1. Infuse your organizational accounts with personality
By using colloquialisms, showing appreciation and asking questions, you can help your online community connect with the people and personalities behind your organization. And since people give to (and volunteer with and advocate on behalf of) people, this is important.
2. Purposefully decide how to represent your organization
When creating accounts, be deliberate and thoughtful about how you brand them. Does it make more sense to have @[YourNonprofit's Name] or @[Your Name]At[Your Nonprofit's Name] as a Twitter handle? There's not a universally right answer, but by considering spokespeople, turnover rate and overall branding, you can select the best option for you.
3. Guide your employees in their use of social media
I firmly believe in empowering employees who want to support your organization in social media and accepting those who do not. Provide guidelines to your employees that address the full spectrum of how much or how little their social-media presences overlap with their professional lives.
Pro Tip: Encourage all employees to follow the "Grandma Rule," as in if they wouldn't want their grandmothers to see it, it should not be on the Internet.