It’s been freestyle week in #CMGRclass. There haven’t been assigned readings, and students were asked to provide questions for our February 12 hangout with Olivier Blanchard, author of Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. #CMGRclass students came through, asking questions that addressed the execution and monitoring of social media activities within corporate, not-for-profit, higher education, and small business settings, and Olivier spoke to the class for nearly an hour on those questions and more.
Find the puzzle pieces and put them together
One #CMGRclass student, Katie Hudson, asked how a person without formal influence should communicate upward that social media is important and go about selecting the metrics that will demonstrate its success.
Olivier admitted that it can be disconcerting to see progress from an organization’s social media efforts, thinking that things are going well but lacking confirmation from management. Olivier suggested that consulting with a company’s decision makers and asking key questions can go a long way toward identifying an organizations’ goals and how social media can help meet those objectives:
“What can I help you with? What can I help you do?”
This is truly a win-win situation: the social media manager will have a better understanding of the business and its managers’ motivations; the business leaders will in turn understand how social channels can help them meet their needs within the business. Olivier said, “It’s like finding all the puzzle pieces and putting them together.”
24 hours later…
The night after our Google+ hangout, I had a Junior League of Syracuse meeting. The organization’s usual monthly membership meetings are executed slightly differently during the month of February, where the membership breaks into smaller groups – “sectionals” – that provide training and education on specific topics of interest. I was excited to see social media on the docket, but just imagine how I felt to learn that the JLS was welcoming Kelly Lux as the featured speaker!
— Kelly Lux (@KellyLux) February 13, 2013
In the space of an hour and a half, Kelly covered a lot of ground with the dozen or so members in attendance: from the importance and ramifications of having a presence on social media (“If you don’t exist online, you don’t exist.”) to suggestions for platforms that might be useful in different business or personal situations.
This year within the JLS, I hold the title of Online Engagement Chair. I manage the organization’s social media accounts, work with other JLS leaders to understand their activities and goals, and identify content and suggest new opportunities. I like to think I have a good idea of the platforms on which members are present and, even to some extent, their relative level of activity. On Wednesday night, though, I must say that I was inspired by the breadth of my fellow members’ questions, their engagement in the discussion, and their tangible level of excitement.
On my way home after the meeting, I thought about something that Olivier had said on Tuesday night.
It’s really about value.
Another classmate, Alaetra Combs, had asked how a community manager can establish an internal community that strengthens an offline community.
Olivier advised the use of a scarcity model. By starting with a small number of highly engaged community members, the community would provide tremendous value to those within it and be seen as desirable by those outside of it. (Think Pinterest, when it was still operating in its invitation-only model.) I wondered if the JLS members in attendance at the sectional would be a good incubator for starting a community of Junior League members. I considered the potential scope of the community: perhaps the personal growth that comes from civic leadership, or maybe the challenges of balancing personal, professional, and volunteer commitments.
I’m getting ready to embark on a Caribbean cruise without ready access to the internet. (Seriously?) I have ample time to ponder these questions and more, but while asking whether the JLS and its members would benefit from an online community, I will keep one comment from our recent #CMGRclass hangout in the front of my mind:
It always pays to start small and grow big. – Jenn Pedde