My preferred definition for Social Media appeared in Wikipedia some time back as “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio.”
The current Wikipedia definition is “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.”
That’s the nature of social media, everybody has an opinion, and is free to express it.
Back to our question: how could a nonprofit federation adopt social media?
First, let’s define our terms: Social media isn’t just facebook, twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, but all of the above, and others that will emerge.
Next let’s define our requirements. How could an organization:
(1) Streamline the national message to avoid diluting the brand
(2) Transform the national broadcast to local actionable events — for example “contact Jim Reese at 212-555-3151” instead of “contact your local chapter”
(3) Enable members, volunteers, staff, advisers, consultants to collaborate on each online presence
(4) Make sure each local presence doesn’t lose steam and interest — a facebook page where the activity dates back to 2009 doesn’t help the organization
(5) Teach volunteers and staff on how to exploit each channel without taking them to a seminar
(6) Coordinate social media marketing with traditional marketing — are newsletters in sync with the website
(7) Update social media participants on new resources to help their cause
(8) Cross pollinate experience and information on how to best communicate with constituents and monitor ideas and suggestions
(9) Create, share and discuss new ideas to communicate
(10) Share resources and leverage volunteers
I’ll address these requirements in Part 2 of How could a nonprofit federation adopt Social Media.