social media is about connections

It's Not About Your Social Media Policy


Last year I was interviewed for a promotional video for for a local community parks program. I was chatting with the nonprofit organization’s outreach director about their communications strategy – and she mentioned that her agency had not done much with social media yet, but was hoping to use this video as a jumping-off point.

“We got a Flip camera so now we’re ready to do social media,” she said brightly.

Of course this is probably not what she meant. I’m sure she meant video was an essential cornerstone of her content strategy or that she was eager to help her organization’s supporters connect with the organization through video.

I’m not sure how she came to believe that owning a camera would equate with a successful social media strategy, but her statement illuminates how easy it is to get caught up “doing” social media and forget what social media is actually about: Connecting. She was focused on the content medium – video – at the expense of focusing on what social media would actually allow her to do: Increase transparency, connect with supporters, improve communications.

This is a key problem with how many organizations use social media, whether for external communication or for supporting internal learning. They get obsessed with processes, policies and details about who will control what and forget there are actual human beings involved. Actual human beings who probably don’t care that much if you share videos or radio programs or blog posts – they just care that you’re engaged in a conversation.

The technology should not drive the strategy. Focus on the goal for your organization and then identify a technology strategy. Then focus on embracing the inevitable: People will be themselves. How can you support them in making the most of social media? How can you create policies that support employees? How can you provide useful resources? How can you set a great examples for employees using social media from a leadership level?

Using social media means connecting and communicating. You can’t control the flood of information. But if you are prepared with good tools and good people, you can guide it.

Image Credit: thewrongglass on Flickr