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I've been doing research for an article I'm writing for TechSoup about social networking tips, tricks, and tools -- once you've made the decision that it is right for your organization to work across multiple sites, how do you manage it efficiently and effectively?
Of course, there may be times when does make sense to have a presence on several sites and once the Google OpenSocial API is implemented, this will become easier.. But for the here and now, Seb Chan, Web Manager of the PowerHouse Museum, offer this advice: identify "persona managers" to handle each service. The advantage is that each persona then retains a level of authenticity, individuality and relevance that is hard to achieve if one person spreads themselves across multiple networking sites." Chan notes that having a team of people who understand the features/interface of the social networking site, the culture of the community, and the appropriate style for communication can make efforts a lot more effective.
Another way to share the workload, is to focus on one network and an encourage other staff members and volunteers to use their personal profiles to represent the organization. Notes Danielle Brigida, "Since the National Wildlife Federation is large and has a number of programs we use different personal accounts and are encouraged to promote things from a personal profile.
Danielle Brigida, NWF, continues "Right now I'm seeing great results from drumming up internal support when it comes to social networking. Having set up a basic presence on a number of sites, I've been able to reach out to other coworkers to get them involved in pushing out NWF's message. This can help because you can reinforce each other and communicate about your organization's programs. 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."
Not everyone agrees and this may be not be possible for organizations with smaller staffs. Heather Mansfield, the community manager for Change.org, recommends "One person needs to be running all your social networking profiles for consistency and effectiveness." She also recommends consistent URLS and using the same email account.
What do you think of sharing the workload or the concept of persona managers? How do you balance the need for "organizational branding" versus "personal touch?" Would your organization encourage individuals to participate? Should it be on work time or "after hours."
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