Lynn M. Tveskov (Photo from Lynn)
Manager, Community Impact Leadership
United Way of America
March comes in like a lion and goes out like lamb, especially true in New England. This morning I got an email from Lynn M. Tveskov from the United Way of America letting me know that UWA has caught social networking spring fever!
She forwarded me this fabulous handout titled "How_to_Listen_to_your_Online_Community" written by Meghan Keaney who is the Director of Communications for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley. (Their blog is called "Speak United") Meghan used the materials in the WeAreMedia Wiki (and my blog) and customized it for the United Way.
The handout explains the process of listening and how the tools. My favorite part is advice on how to respond and a story about how a negative comment was an opportunity.
When not to respond:
- If the blogger or commenter is talking about another United Way.
- You wouldn’t talk on behalf of another United Way to the media, don’t do it here either.
- If the blogger or commenter is clearly baiting, being antagonistic, or trying to incite a fight.
- You only have so much time! You don’t have to respond to every comment about United Way.
- Respond only, when you think it’s productive or important.
Hints on responding about United Way:
- Be transparent -- say that you work at a United Way.
- At the same time, stress that you’re speaking as an individual.
- Don’t pick fights or get pulled into them. They’re not productive.
- Don’t speak negatively about another organization or individual.
- Answer thoughtfully, ask questions, your goal is to learn and inform.
- Provide a link to relevant content on your website
A United Way Story
Here is an example of how responding can turn a negative comment into a learning experience:
Note what happens when the negative comment from “o2fishmore” is responded to by one of our partner agencies (gtarbox). Gtarbox is able to correct the inaccurate information and refocus the original poster on how the agency can help her. United Way then provided additional information about the investment and calling 2-1-1 for help.
Lynn pointed out a few stellar examples of United Ways using social media:
Finally, Lynn pointed out some examples of how United ways are using social media.
Detroit, Michigan - United Way for Southeastern Michigan has been using social media for years. http://www.uwsem.org/ - especially blogs (you'll see links on their home page.)
Here's the individual blog (vs. the organizational blogs I’ve also provided) of a United Way CEO, Patrick Jinks. He's been blogging for years (he's at a small United Way in Danville, VA): http://unitedwayleadership.blogspot.com/
United Way of San Diego County, San Diego, CA - http://www.uwsd.org/ - on a Team of local United Ways that helped inform UWA's own social media strategy.
United Way Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA - http://www.uwsv.org/ - another California member of the team that helped UWA with their social media strategy.
United Way of Orange County, Irvine, CA, is on twitter: http://twitter.com/UNITEDWAYOC
United Way of Central Ohio, Columbus, OH http://www.liveunitedcentralohio.org/ - looks to be a heavy user of flickr, including for their Alternative Spring Break: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liveunitedcentralohio/