Social Media & Chapters – more than Facebook

This past week’s #assnchat focused on social media and chapters. Well actually much of the conversation was social media in the general sense. But two posts stood out for me:

deirdrereid: @bethbrodovsky And socmed shouldn’t be explored for its own sake but rather for what it can do to bring assn closer to goals. #assnchat

spkrinteractive: @deirdrereid Create SM champions at the chapter level. Best not to overload your staff with everything. #assnchat

The first captures a key point on the topic – it’s not social media for social media’s sake, but social media as a means to an end. When we’re talking about chapters, that means to an end is as much about helping them navigate managing the chapter as it is about using social media to build community. In a volunteer-led organization one of the biggest challenges is creating a shared vision and shared plan within the leadership. Tied to this is a central repository that it accessible to all. Social media platforms certainly can meet this need. Some in use in our chapters are:

These tools allow leaders to share documents, calendars, checklists and yes scorecards. Plus they can collaborate on projects.
Too often we focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Too often we focus the conversation on such deep discussions as Facebook group vs fan page. But the conversation should start with “what are we trying to accomplish … what’s our biggest angst … what’s keeping us from meeting our goals?” And then look at the tools available.
The second point hones in on a critical strategy – find and cultivate champions.

At ISES DC, we found a member who a blogging enthusiast. For PRSA Maryland, we found a couple of members who were interested in diving in. The cultivating comes in by talking with them, encouraging them, supporting their efforts, and publicly applauding them. From a national perspective, it can mean offering training or tools. It can mean creating a safe place for them to experiment. It can mean a series of webinars on the basics. It can mean simply sharing stories and resources among chapters.

As I noted in my earlier post: there’s a big reward for national associations … helping components find the right social media strategy provides an incredible opportunity to build a partnership with the component. With this comes the ability to open doors for other partnerships and for data sharing, co-learning and more.