So your organization has decided to embrace social media. Wonderful! Now the question becomes, who will manage social media outreach? The answer is not as obvious as it should be and the wrong choice could really stall your plans before they’ve gotten off the ground. Before are some of the individuals an organization might choose as its social media go-to person and the pros and cons of choosing any of those individuals:
College (or just out of college) intern
The intern is usually picked because as a younger person it is assumed that they are familiar with Facebook and other social networking tools. On a very basic level this is true, however, there is a difference between using social networking to let your friends know what you did last night and using social networking to promote a brand and/or mission. Not to mention, the intern might have limited institutional knowledge of the organization. Relying on your newest intern year after year could also mean having your organization’s voice on social media changing with every new hire which can affect your followers’ interaction with your organization.
While your Marketing/Communications Director should be involved in the development of your organization’s social media strategy, chances are they have too much on their plate to manage social networking on a daily basis. If your organization is large enough to have a Marketing and Communications team then there is a good chance that someone, or several someones, can manage execution.
Two words: “Too busy!” While the Executive Director/CEO usually serves as the spokesperson for organization at events or for press opportunities, social media requires much more time than most Executive Directors/CEOs have available. However, it is not a bad idea, in fact it’s a good idea, to have your Executive Director/CEO author a blog post or add a message to your Facebook fan page wall from time to time.
Social Media Consultant
If your organization can afford to hire a social media consultant it must be very careful who it chooses. Nowadays there are too many people marketing themselves as social media experts solely because they have a lot of “friends” and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of friends/followers on any social media platform does not equal influence or thought leadership. Be wary of someone who promises thousands of followers overnight. Social media is about a relationships, relationships take time to build and someone who is truly knowledgable about social media understands this. Any social media consultant your organization hires should also not operate from a one-size-fits-all approach and should be willing to learn what your organization and its mission are about and craft a social media strategy accordingly.
For nonprofits, social media is about building relationships in support of your mission. Who is chosen to be responsible for building those relationships on behalf of your organization is incredibly important so choose carefully and wisely.