Setting up a personal Twitter account or a Facebook page and begin posting is one of the simplest ways to get started in the brave new world of social media. But when an organization such as IASA wants to do something similar the issue becomes more complicated.
For one thing, who is going to do the posting? And for another, does the organization have complete trust that the person with his finger on the send button is the right person to communicate the beliefs of an organization?
Through its marketing committee, IASA has set up a social media committee to come up with a model on how best to communicate through the social media, particularly at the annual conference and business show.
“We’ve leveraged some of the structure other groups have employed as a model,” says Justin Silver, senior vice president of business development for Yodil and a volunteer for IASA.
One of the key roles is management oversight of the Twitter and Facebook accounts. For now that falls to Silver, fellow volunteers Tricia Stillman and Forest Mills, and IASA staffer Margaret McKeon.
The social media committee also created liaison roles, who are key members from the other relevant committees within IASA, which allows those committees to have a voice within the IASA social media channel, according to Silver.
“Getting content [for the social media platforms] can be challenging at times,” he says. “There is never enough. We are trying to figure out a way to ensure we have content.”
The committee took a holistic approach to the issue, points out Silver, and then stepped back to examine IASA’s goals and objectives for social media.
“We wanted to take it slow and look at things that are tangible,” says Silver. “We anted to get a structure in place for the committee that would provide a foundation to allow the committee to move forward in an effective manner. I wouldn’t say the amount of content that is being pushed out is significant, but it has been better than what it had been.”
One thing the committee looked at first is the IASA Facebook page that was initially established as a communication tool for the annual conference, which is the busiest time for the organization.
“We asked if we want to continue utilizing it only for the conference or on a more ongoing basis,” says Silver. “Because the page was initially set up for the conference, we didn’t take on creating an additional Facebook page.”
The main goal right now is to increase followers within each of the mediums used for IASA’s social media initiative. That means Facebook and Twitter will be more heavily utilized going into the conference.
“We want to provide timely information about the organization, the conference, and other industry highlights through the liaisons for the other committees,” says Silver. “We designated not only the liaisons from each of the groups, but we also created administrators for each of the platforms. Their responsibility is to understand the type of dialog that is going on within the platform and to bring back insight and guidance as to how—going forward—we might better utilize those social media platforms. We’re still early on that. We don’t have enough traction yet.”
IASA also utilizes LinkedIn, but Silver believes LinkedIn serves a different purpose than that of Twitter or Facebook.
“We determined LinkedIn is the least beneficial for us with respect to the conference,” says Silver. “The Twitter-type posts can also be pushed to Facebook status.”
Before the conference even began, the social media group went to each of the liaisons and had them create a list of posts that they wanted to go out leading up to, during, and even following the conference.
“We got some good responses back,” says Silver. “That provided additional content above and beyond what was being crafted internally. We need to be able to continue that momentum.”
The committee created an Excel spreadsheet to track the posts and plans to put together a calendar for key events, such as the new the Industry Pulse polls.
“When those types of thing are going on we want to make people aware of them,” says Silver.
Silver is satisfied with the size and the talents of the committee members, but notes the volunteer base is relatively small.
“Folks sit on multiple committees or sub-committees so there is a lot of work that falls on people’s plates,” he says. “It can be too much to put on one person’s shoulders.”
The thought process behind the social media committee is someone represents the committee and it is their responsibility to get the information that the committee wants to put out in the hands of the people in charge of the platforms.
“It’s up to the individual committee to determine if it is approved content. If it needs approval from the leadership they are supposed to run it up the flagpole,” says Silver. “Trying to manage not only appropriate content but approved content too is not something we wanted to put in the hands of someone in the social media committee. We want to be a service arm to the committees within IASA. Our goal is to support their strategy and needs to make them more successful.”
It took probably four or five months to get the structure in place—the liaisons, administrators, management, according to Silver
The social media group now has a process defined as to how the committees can request a post be sent.
“We’re going to continue to support that concept,” says Silver. “We know it works, we just need more content. The management team is supportive, but they are busy as well. We need to get them involved and make sure the people on various committees understand what this can do for them and help them drive it in the next go-around.”
Personally, Silver explains he was looking to get involved with IASA and thought social media would be a good way to step up that involvement.
“I thought that because it was new it would offer a great role for me since there wasn’t a lot of legacy or historical precedent set there,” he says. “It was pretty much greenfield. There is so much to take advantage of and we’ve only scratched the surface.”
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