In case you missed a couple of posts from our series of interviews of association social media managers, here’s a handy round-up for you. This is the full series so far; if anyone else wants to be interviewed just let me know, it would be great if this was an ongoing series and we could see how this evolves over time.
Here are the fabulous interviewees…
- Alzheimer’s Association (Georgia Chapter) – local chapter supported by a national association, 35 staff. Socmed role is part of a development role.
- Drake & Co – Association Management Company managing 10 associations. No single manager – multiple AMC staff working cross-functionally with multiple association staff.
- Association of University Programs in Health Administration – new full-time position in a small staff association.
- Association Headquarters – large AMC with in-house social media team dedicated to helping the company and its association clients develop socmed strategies.
- National Association of Home Builders – soc med work is a portion of one full-time position that communicates across departments within a large association with 420 staff.
- National Association of County and City Health Officials – interdepartmental team in 100+ staff organization which serves 2800 local governmental public health departments.
- Memberclicks – part of a marketing position in a company (AMS vendor) with 30 staff working with small associations
- Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute – full time position in the member services department but interacting with other departments, within a large trade association.
- American Academy of Physician Assistants – full time position in the Membership/Marketing/Strategic Development department, within a professional membership association with 80+ staff.
1) It doesn’t matter what type or size of organization it is, all of these different groups have deliberately and proactively put someone in charge of managing the work of social media for the organization. Whether it’s part of a position, a full-time position, or an interdepartmental team, the organization is supporting it.
2) It also does not matter what department the social media manager position lives in. We’ve found this with the clients we work with too – several are setting up interdepartmental teams; others who have a person in place are leading the social media efforts from a variety of different departments – web/IT, publications, marketing, membership, PR/communications, advocacy, you name it.
So what does this mean? To me, it means that there is no right way or wrong way. In fact, it doesn’t matter who owns it – you just need someone eager and willing to run with it. BUT – no matter where the social media management efforts originate, you will need to think about how the role will interact internally with all the other departments.
- Will it be a funnel, with some authority, through which social media projects can be channeled? Even then, any staff member needs to have some level of responding power if a member wants to connect with them.
- Will it be more of an administrative function that organizes social media workflow? In which case everyone needs to know who does what and who oversees the process.
- Will it be a team who meet on a regular basis? How often and how will they share information?
- Will it be one person that everyone can go to for help and questions?
None of this stuff is set in stone. We SocialFish believe that eventually, over the long term, everyone in an organization needs to be empowered to use social media to communicate and build relationships with the community around them – once social tools are as much “like air” as email – but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, we just need to get started. We just need to figure out how best to manage this process internally in a way that makes sense for us.
I can guarantee that everyone I interviewed for this series – Lindsay Reene, Steve Drake, Kristi Donovan, Brian Riggs, Nick Barron, Sara Elisabeth Burson, Shannon Otto, Michael Hess, and Lynn Morton, (not to mention Maggie McGary at (ASHA), Todd Carpenter (NAR), and Mike Templeton whom I originally interviewed for Associations Now (True Tales of Association Social Media Managers, October 2009) – would be more than happy to share their advice and stories if you want to know more. Those links are to their Twitter profiles, please follow them! Thank you so much to all these great folks for giving us a glimpse into how they do it!
And finally I encourage all of my interviewees and anyone who does social media for your own organization to join the brand spanking new social media mavens group in YAP. The best way to learn about this stuff is to learn from each other and to have a friendly crowd with whom to share stories and work out issues.
Go forth and be social!