Sometime last week, Lindy Dreyer of SocialFish wrote a very interesting post about what should be in your association social media plan. I agree with everything Lindy wrote in her post. However, I felt that one item was missing from her social media plan. I believe that before jumping on the social media bandwagon, an organization should first determine that there would be some benefit in doing so. I inquired about this missing item to Lindy via comment. My inquiry inspired a subsequent post from her.
First, I am flattered that my comment would inspired Lindy to follow up blog post. I’m blushing… can you tell? In her follow up post, Lindy makes the argument that every organization should invest in social media. She argues that they may not necessarily want to break the bank on social media outreach but every organization should at least invest some time into social media.
While I’m flattered about inspiring a blog post, I remain skeptical that every organization should invest in social media. I contend that while an organization may not foresee all the benefits of jumping on the social media bandwagon, the organization should at least insure that there is something tangible to be gained by investing their time into social media. For example, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is an organization focused on serving local health officials. At this point their membership consists of the vast majority, if not all, of the local health officials around the country. Their funding comes from the CDC and their programs are geared towards their current membership. To continue to be successful, an organization like NACCHO has to continue serving its members by answering to identified needs/wishes. If their membership has not identified social media as need or has not identified problems that could be solved using social media, it would be a waste of time and resources for the organization to invest in social media.
On the other hand, an organization like Be The Change, Inc. whose core mission is “building a broad-based, web-fueled, citizens’ movement that will campaign for better public policies, promote active citizenship and citizen democracy” has no choice but to jump on social media band wagon. To be successful on the web, the BTC has to follow current trends and eventually become one of the leaders when it comes to social media outreach.
To re-iterate my point, Lindy is right that your organization should have a social media plan and if you don’t have one, hire her to help you come up with one (Lindy, I want 10% referral fee…joking). However before you that, your organization should first establish that it fits within its mission and it stands to gain something by jump on the bandwagon. Once you jump on, it’s really hard to get off.