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In June, the San Francisco online community meetup group
welcomed Maria Ogneva, director
of community at Yammer.
examined what the difference is between an organization that merely uses social
media to one that is a social organization. Ogneva also provided advice on how
organizations can make the shift to becoming social organizations.
At first glance, it's easy to see why many organizations
make the mistake of thinking that using social media makes them social. The
distinction between using social media and being social is between that of
using communications tools and having a communicative culture.
To be social, an
organization has to embrace listening as a value across all levels. Social
organizations use the communications tools available to them to listen to all
of their stakeholders – constituents, customers, and employees. To a social
organization, social media tools extend their reach and capability to serve
constituents as opposed to being another broadcast medium.
Organizations often mistake support from their constituents
as support for their brand as opposed to what it really is – support for what
they do. When organizations follow this line of thinking, they are liable to adopt bad habits that can make them lose support.
One bad habit is isolating
social media from the rest of an organization's operations. The result of this isolation is, unsurprisingly, bad constituent
experiences that can lead to larger crises.
One study found that organizations
that are not social internally spend 38 percent of their time searching for and/or
duplicating information requested by constituents.
shift towards becoming a social organization means knowing where your
organization stands in how it values openness.
Understanding where your organization stands will allow you to take the
appropriate steps to change and to move at a reasonable pace. It will be
essential to identify potential advocates and helpers as you scale up the
breadth of what you are doing if you are a one-person operation.
out the case for becoming social, help those in leadership
positions understand what the value of true engagement means for your
organization’s mission. Move your organization away from the idea that success is
about the number of likes, fans, or followers.
Becoming social involves weaving this value into all aspects
of what your organization does. If openness is not built into your organization’s
foundation, it will take some time to make this change, but it is not impossible.
a more in-depth look at the steps required to become social, take a look at
Ogneva’s slide presentation. And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can
learn more about online communities by joining us at our next event on Wednesday, August 22 at 7 p.m.
Susan ChavezOnline Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global@Susan_Chavez
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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