Launching Social Media For Your Organization

I’m attending HighEdWeb Rochester and many of the sessions have already spawned numerous discussions about how to implement a social strategy. Granted, the conference is all about colleges and universities. But in a lot of ways, approaching the social media strategy in higher education parallels what happens in business all the time. Similar questions are asked and similar issues are raised. Who owns it? What do we do? What should our policy be? How do we use it?

If these questions sound familiar to you, keep reading for some great insight to how to get social media off the ground for your organization.

Back to the 90s

In the mid-to-late 90s, “the Web” was this mystical thing. People would take the approach of “oh! We should probably dump some stuff to this Web thing, too.”  This ended up causing a bunch of print publications converted to HTML or PDF and dumped onto the Web site. Next came the inevitable set of meetings and committees and coordination as to what the policy should be for this new thing called Web.

Fast forward to today and this concept should seem unfathomable. We’ve learned the errors of our ways. If your Web presence is moving forward properly, then content is king and your site should be more than a mere print repository online.

Or have we? Social media is repeating this pattern. This new technology has evolved and gone mainstream too quickly and now everyone wants to form committees to establish policies and this is scaring the people who truly understand social media.

Focus on Goals Not Tools

It’s been said numerous times in the first two hours. I can’t help to think how much this sounds like SEO strategy. You can’t set policies based on the concept of social. You must set goals. Use social to accomplish those goals together. Social should not be a separate entity and treated like the black sheep of the family. Social is here. Deal with it. Embrace it. Incorporate it into your overall communication strategy; don’t treat it differently.

What, Another Committee?

You need to get people involved, plain and simple. How do you do that? Go back to grass roots ideas and actually reach out and educate them. Invite them to meetings. Institutions of higher learning don’t want to be on another committee and that’s understandable. Fine. Call it a team.

Don’t be afraid to take the lead. Get people involved. If you don’t have buy-in, invite them. Assure people they don’t have to be a social media rock star. They simply need come to table and be willing to learn. Don’t let down the people who already get it.  Reach out to them, ask them to be involved. They’re probably the ones who got the ball rolling. Remind them your team needs their guidance. Re-assure them you won’t be taking away their space. You want to see this succeed; so do they. The ones that don’t get it want the ends social media provides. They merely don’t fully understand the means (yet).

Stay with it – ven if you’re alone in a room by your fourth meeting. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?