Sunday, August 8, 2010

Face time on Facebook?

Just a short Blog from me before I leave for a week to take my daughter to the Ontario Summer Games. This one is on Facebook.

I once worked for a large public institution in a communications management role. Facebook was still relatively new (at least to me), but I knew it was a place I had to take our communications program. So, after a weekend thinking about it, I went to Facebook early one Monday morning at work and tried to start our corporate Facebook page.

I couldn't even get to Facebook. The IT guys at my institution had blocked it and all other social media. It all came under their "you can only use the institution's computers for work purposes" policy. Facebook access was taboo.

Undaunted, I called IT and explained what I was doing. I asked what it would take for me to get access to Facebook. It turns out I had to write a letter to the head of IT asking for permission to get on Facebook. The whole process took a week.

I finally got on and started working on the page only to find out that several links and buttons on the page didn't work. I called IT again and they told me that likely these were being blocked because they led to other social media sites that were taboo or because they led to different URLs within Facebook that I hadn't asked permission to visit.

I struggled back and forth with this for a while. For example, I could start a page, but I couldn't upload any images. After a while, I decided to make Facebook a low priority. I just didn't have time to work through all the glitches.

Social media shouldn't be this hard.

If you really want your non-profit to succeed at social media you need to embrace social media as an organization. If you can't Facebook, Tweet or do anything else at work, then your social media program is bound to fail.

Social media is like email or the photocopier once was. Business used to worry that employees would be doing personal stuff, like sending emails or making copies, at work. While it's still an issue, it isn't the problem that some thought it would be.

The bottom line is that the more your people use social media the more value it will give to your organization. Encourage them to Facebook and Tweet. Set some limits, but get them all online. Then when it comes time to create your social media program you'll be ready for  it, and your employees will be eager to help.

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