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Non-Profits and the Social Networking Mindset

Dec 03

Why is it important for non-profit organizations to develop a social networking mindset? First off, what is a social networking mindset? Beth Kanter posted a blog on Hubspot which stated that the social media mindset is “a new style of leadership that works through active participation, openness, decentralized decision-making, and collective action. It requires that nonprofit leaders have an awareness of the organization’s networks and are listening to and cultivating these networks in order to achieve impact.” The social networking mindset emphasizes two-way networking communication over one-way broadcast communication.

Kanter describes the four phases of the social networking mindset and how they apply to the various stages of social networking complexity within non-profit groups.

The Crawling Phase. Non-profits in the crawling phase do not use social media or social media marketing on a consistent basis and they do not subscribe to analytics to measure their progress. Their overall social media communications strategy requires more time, greater detail, and further development. Some organizations will find it challenging to adapt from a broadcasting mindset to a networking mindset.

The Walking Phase. Organizations in this phase employ the power of social media more willingly than do non-profits in the Crawling Phase. These non-profits have better knowledge concerning social media in general but need to develop a more direct strategy to support short-term and long-term goals. Walking Phase organizations use the information obtained through analytics and metrics to advance interaction with their audience and to formulate content and best practice policies.

The Running Phase. Non-profits in the Running Phase incorporate several social media platforms into their integrated marketing strategy and apply metrics to everything that they do. Kanter notes that Running Phase organizations, “have a formal ladder of engagement that illustrates how supporters move from just hearing about your organization to actively engaging, volunteering, or donating to your organization. This is used to guide strategy and measurement. They visualize their networks and measure relationships. These organizations practice basic measurement religiously and use data to make decisions about social media best practices.” Everyone in the organization is involved in the social media strategy. Runners invest in community managers whose job it is to engage people across a variety of social and media platforms. They use an publishing calendar to keep their content publishing on the right pace and are constantly evaluating their content and strategy to look for ways to improve.

The Flying Phase. Flying Phase organizations have learned from each of the previous phases and understand how to utilize everything from the Running Phase with a few additions. Flyers learn to take failure with success and realize that there is value and understanding to be taken from both. Flyers are intertwined into a growing network of organizations and people with a mind for social change and growth. They use all of the available tools on hand to continue to reach out, connect, and improve.

Benjamin W. Luffkin is an online marketing enthusiast. If you are interested in learning more about atlanta web design, then he invites you to visit www.interactivemarketing.net . Also published at Non-Profits and the Social Networking Mindset.

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