Social Media Engagement: From Buzz to Benefit

Just as you figure out what’s happening on Twitter, the next iteration of social media is dawning. It is no longer enough to stay in the loop—you need to be out in front of it. Check out the slide show above. It is a great review of where we have been and where we are going. Here is a summary of the Web’s hyper-speed trajectory to provide some context:

Web 1.0: The Information Source
• Creating your own message and your own content online.
• Categorizing the worldwide web in directories.
• You manage your own little corner of cyberspace—you Web brochure.
• Static and segmented.

Web 2.0: The Social Platform
• Building community, interactivity, and scalability.
• Validating and creating through the power of community.
• Integrating “hooks” for future integration – RSS feeds, APIs, etc.
• Chaotic and overwhelming.

Web 3.0: The Harmonic Convergence of Technology, Content, and Participation
• Networked applications and content repositories creating more seamless interoperability and integration between the complete range of devices.
• True data portability through open identity, APIs, and data formats
• Implementation of a consistent Web language
• Intelligent agents, natural language processing, and machine learning
• Making the Web more relevant and individually defined.

Social media tools are born from technological advances, but they are rooted in the most basic elements of human communication – conversation, curiosity, caring, and connection. I guess you could call them the four “Cs “of social media – a girl’s “second” best friend, I suspect.

In any case, we should all view social media as simply another tool in our communication and fundraising arsenals. So, approach with the same intentions. When you think about diving into Facebook, Twitter, or other online universes, you may be thinking, “Where do I begin?” The exciting thing is that we are staking the trail. It’s a brave new world, and it’s all about trial and error. Be willing to fail—and learn. You date before you pop the question, so think of social media relationships the same way. Get to know your “friends” before you ask them for anything. Here are some places to start:

• Comment on and reply to other people’s observations, posts, and ideas. Participate.
• Proved personal anecdotes about the impact of your cause or organization, and empower your volunteers and supporters to do the same.
• “Retweet” someone’s status message in Twitter.
• Initiate conversations around specific topics – in small groups or forums online. Build community around your organization or issue on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Ning.
• Share good information freely, such as pointing to great blog posts, ideas, or articles.
• Make virtual introductions when you see obvious like-minded people who could do to know each other.
• Create useful media like blog posts, ebooks, or videos that help people.
• Find mutual interest points and talk about them.
• Remember things about the other people, such as whether they have big meetings or if they are dealing with sick children.
• Help when someone is promoting a big event. Spread information for other people liberally.
• Reply to people and build conversations.
• Recognize those who are making a major impact—volunteers, donors, and angels.
• Thank people.

3 thoughts on “Social Media Engagement: From Buzz to Benefit

  1. Thank you for providing tips and good points for new users to these social media sites. Knowing the “rules” so to speak, can be a bit murky- so your suggestions are well taken.

  2. Good article. Loaded with insightful info – and great suggestions about jumping in and getting involved.

  3. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back at some point.
    I want to encourage yourself to continue your great posts, have a nice evening!

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