Obtaining external and internal buy-in for your social media journey are crucial to its success. I will use the example of the organization I am working with. We start by listening. I did internet searches and looked at what the community was saying about the organization I am working for. What I found was there are not a lot of people talking about CAP Services. What I also found was that some other Head Start organizations have Facebook accounts, but they are not developed, therefore not effective.
Not only did I see what the online community was saying about our brand, I also listened to the customers currently receiving our services. It was evident through conversations with these individuals that we were missing social media, which meant missing out on potential future clients, and potential communications with current clients.
Before seeking interest, it is important to educate the leaders of the organization. Some people may not use social media, and may have an unclear point of view of what social media could do for the organization. Once education has taken place with the leaders, also inform the board of directors, which incorporates input from the community. I found that many people who do not use social media had many concerns about the use of social media in an organization. We documented these concerns and will incorporate them when re-writing our social media policy, as long as they are appropriate.
From that point, it is important to look at the organizational structure. Who would take on this project, who would be the leader, and how would communication flow. It is important to find some of the “experts” within your organization with a vested interest in social media, and with your organization to have on a team. Ask for participation and suggest to some individuals that this may be way that the organization goes.
Identifying social media roles throughout the organization is important for social media to be successful. If social media is seen as something that is done in isolation you have not done your job educating leadership of the benefits. Social media is not a stand-alone entity. It is something that can be incorporated into every facet of the organization from HR to marketing. Including one person from each department in your social media committee with help ensure that all areas of the organization are being thought about.
Once a social media plan is finalized, it is important to bring in other people for input and piloting the program. This includes staff, clients, and community members. They will see the value in the work that is being done through social media and may have suggestions that will only make your plan better. Once the finishing touches are put on, encourage participation with clients, staff members, and community members. Use their feedback as ongoing development in the plan.
The organization I am working with is only in the beginning stages of this plan, and I have already found that you need to gain external and internal buy-in, or the subject gets overlooked, and you spend another day not taking advantage of all of the things that social media has to offer an organization.