Social media cannot thrive in silos. What is happening online affects the entire organization, not just the marketing department, or the development team, or the Executive Director. And while social media usage has truly penetrated the nonprofit sector, reports and activities are usually not shared throughout the organization. What results is a lack of organizational buy-in, misunderstanding of the benefit of digital engagement, missed opportunities, and role confusion. Instead of siloing information, turn it around. Knowledge sharing results in stronger organizations that have a broader knowledge base about its online stakeholders, and a wide net of useful information to meet organizational goals.
There are six essential pieces of information that should be shared throughout the organization:
- Social media metrics
- Social media roles and activities
- Online mentions of the organization
- Online mentions of a specific keyword, phrase, competitor, or conversation topic that is of interest to the organization
- Digital campaign activities and results
- Online identities, apps, channels, tools, and platforms: what you use to make social media magic
What is essential is that the information is accessible by all, shared routinely, and acted upon.
Ideas for establishing a knowledge sharing culture:
- Establish an online space where all social media metrics are kept and accessible. Consider an online Google doc or spreadsheet, or a Dropbox for social media.
- Create a weekly knowledge sharing internal newsletter or email: keep to high-level information gathered from online activities, and demonstrate the value of social media engagement.
- A daily or weekly online mentions report. Summarize important online mentions so that every member of the organization may act upon the information.
- Create an internal Delicious or Evernote account to bookmark articles, and mentions. The National Wildlife Federation pulls important and relevant mentions into the social bookmarking site Delicious. They copy any exact quote/mention within an article into the “notes” section of Delicious, and then tag it with a predetermined private tag for other NWF staff to read.
- Integrate social media reports into weekly or regular organizational staff meetings.
It’s also important to establish an knowledge sharing feedback loop to determine what team members want to know, if the information useful, and how it can best add value to the work of the organization. Invite others to contribute to the online mentions report, or the internal reporting. Ask for feedback by email, or establish a short survey to find out the value of the knowledge sharing activities. Ask for feedback and questions in every report; encourage a knowledge sharing culture!
Knowledge sharing adds another layer of social media value to the organization, a feedback loop for your social media efforts, an integrated approach to being social. The more knowledge is shared, the stronger your social media return!
Debra Askanase has 20 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations, from Community Organizer to Executive Director. She is the founder and lead consultant at Community Organizer 2.0, a social media strategy firm for non-profit organizations and businesses. She blogs about the intersection of social media, nonprofits, and technology at communityorganizer20.com and regularly provides advice and commentary to our eJewish Philanthropy community.