Archives For Community

NO signIf you have visited my blog before, then you know I am extremely committed to helping nonprofits engage with their communities through social media. However, I sometimes encounter organizations that I know are not ready for social media, and so I advise them not to tweet a word.

The lack of social media readiness is usually due to one or more of these:

An unwillingness to be transparent. This is the organization that doesn’t like to “show all their cards.” If a nonprofit feels that followers should never see behind the scenes, or the less polished moments, or the faces of employees, then social media is not the place to put up a pretense.

An avoidance of conversation. Social media is just that…social. If your organization wants to run a never ending monologue by only posting self-promoting content, then expect people to do what they always do in one-sided conversations – tune you out! In social media people “talk back” – mostly positive but sometimes negative. If your organization plans on ignoring the voice of followers or just doesn’t have the bandwidth to engage with them, then it’s best to stay off social media.

An overbearing tone. I often have to help churches realize it’s best to drop the “pulpit voice” in your social media. I realize that tweets and posts with a “read it and weep” tone get retweeted and liked, but if you watch who is doing the liking it’s the same repeat followers. A “like it or leave it” approach with social media will keep your organization from engaging with the broader community. (tweetable)

A cruise-control mindset. Many organizations know they should be on social media, but they don’t want to BE on social media. They want to “set it and forget it.” When I see organizations simultaneously posting the same content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I know they have set their cruise control. It’s important to monitor each social media channel and use them in content-specific ways.

Every organization fights resistance to change, but if the culture of your organization is entrenched in one or more of these four behaviors, then it’s best to wait before diving into social media. You might consider running a pilot program within a single department, in hopes of creating a culture change within the rest of the organization.

What other signs have you found in organizations that indicate a lack of social media readiness?

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studio audiencePeople like to share their experiences, especially their entertainment experiences.

The earliest forms of entertainment were communal experiences in crowds on street corners or in theaters with an audience. When television first came along it created that same sense of audience. According to Kevin Slavin, “Television started off not as radio with pictures, but rather as theater in your home. All the shows were broadcast live in front of a real audience, not recorded and later edited.”

Eventually television did offer recorded programing that underwent editing before it was broadcasted. Interestingly, the studios noticed a decline in viewership. That’s because the human brain, specifically the limbic system, is wired to look for meaning in the meaning that other people find. People wanted to find meaning through the shared experience of watching television.

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thumbs upEarlier this week I asked in a post, “Would your community miss your church?” Meaning if your church closed it doors for good, would your community even notice?

The truth is most communities wouldn’t feel a thing if a church closed it’s doors.

That’s because many churches have adopted a purely attractional approach to interacting with the community. This approach involves having church services at publicized times and attempting to ATTRACT the community to those services. Attraction may happen through any number of methods: invitation, advertisement, special programming, etc. Because many churches have interacted so long with the community using the attractional model that’s the model they try to bring into social media.

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closed church doorsMy local electricity provider does not advertise how to contact them for service.

They assume that if you want power you will “get in touch.” It’s not that they intentionally hide their contact information, they just don’t actively engage the community with the information.

The temptation that comes with offering a product or service that is extremely valuable is that you begin to expect people to come and find you.

When I lived in Cincinnati, I patroned a pizza company who always advertised their phone number in clever ways. The number was on all their print media – napkins, pizza boxes, flyers, billboards. Their commercials rehearsed the one number to call for pizza no matter where you lived in the city. They even put the phone number in their Twitter name. Click the tweet below. They retweet!

The difference between the pizza company and the power company is the power company provides something so valuable they assume you will find them when you need them.

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