The November issue of Associations Now will be landing on ASAE members’ doorsteps shortly, containing my interview of three new association Community/Social Media Managers â€“ Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager for the National Association of Realtors, Mike Templeton, Director of Social Media and Web Strategies for the Iowa Hospital Association, and Maggie McGary, Social Media and Community Specialist at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. I picked their brains all about their first six months on the job; full interview is here. Please comment on the article; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The insights shared by these three awesome people are really fantastic, in my opinion, and I want to share a question and answer that did not make it into the final interview to whet your appetite.
What were your initial implementation / internal process steps when you started? Did you do any internal or external requirements gathering, for example? Were you starting from scratch, or building on pre-existing efforts?
MM: My â€œfirst stepsâ€ were a little different than the average new social media hire’s because my job was less of a new thing and more of a metamorphosis from an existing position. I did, however, have to do a lot of work convincing them that social media was something we should be doing and something worthy of a staff person. I did a ton of reading, fact-gathering and networking with people doing social media for other organizations—both for-profit and non-profit—all of which were extensions of what I was doing as a social media blogger in my personal life. I did—and continue to do—a lot of â€œlisteningâ€ —monitoring what’s being said about both the association and the professions we represent. It’s like searching for needles in a haystack sometimes, but there are definitely needles in there to be found! I used Forrester’s Technographics profile tool to make a case for why we needed to be actively moving forward with social media, and what we should be doing.
MT: Part of our staff had been previously educated on social media and the ways it could help move them towards their objectives, but I came into the office on the first day with a blank slate. I spent the first few weeks doing lots of research: investigating how other associations were using social media (state hospital associations and others), listening to our key audiences, watching for potential engagement points, etc. After completing my research I spent time going through the organization’s strategic plan, then drew up my own web strategy plan for IHA that outlined how we could match up social media initiatives with the organization’s larger goals.
TC: We’re starting from scratch from an official standpoint, but also building on pre-existing efforts. I was surprised to find how many departments throughout our association were using these tools already. Rather than immediately trying to regulate what they were doing, I thought it would be better to find out what was working, and what wasn’t. Now we’re building out a set of best practices, but like the Pirate’s Code, these are more like suggestions than rules.
Sweet, or what? Read the full interview here.
BONUS LINKS OF INTEREST ON THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY MANAGER: