Network Effectiveness and Social Media Strategy Map
Interactive Working Sessions for Packard Foundation Grantees
May 28, 2009
Small Group Simulation Game:
- Who are we targeting?
o High school and college students—a group that’s “issue active” and active online
- What’s our high-level objective?
- What do we want our target members to do?
- Consider what tools are appropriate for the people we’re targeting: examine people’s social
technographics by age; think about audience we’re targeting and the objectives and tools
o Would we need other types of research? Other information about them?
- How do we differentiate between awareness, engagement, and support?
o Engagement is the higher standard
- Must consider the audience’s attention span and the time-limit of the campaign
o Can we presume people who are more active now will be more active later?
- How do we want people to become involved?
- Is there listening we need to do?
- What does engagement mean?
o Possibilities: Selling an earthworm kit, page views, submitting name to email list, joining
a Facebook cause, people posting videos to our site as a way of monitoring engagement
(i.e. “ a video of you doing the worm”)
o How to get people engaged: reach out to gardeners; create a worm avatar; set up worm
dating service; create worm t-shirts (“I bought the worm”); encourage people to buy
worm kits for kids; go to heifer organization and start selling worm kits; sell / donate
worm kits to farmers in developing countries; target gardeners around using worms in
their gardens (target via interest/hobby focused websites)
- Key advice: “Build a network before you need it”
- When do we listen and when do we participate?
- How do we define our strategy until we know what our objective is?
- Listening: Google Alerts, Bloglines/Google Reader, Technorati, Twitter
- Participation: Go Comment, learning/listening journal, Twitter,
- Sharing: creative commons, organizational blog (WordPress), podcasting (iTunes), widgets (lets
fans share content), video sharing (blipTV, YouTube), photo sharing (flickr),
- Spreading: StumbleUpon internet community, Digg, FriendFeed, Twitter, Utterli (micromedia
tool for podcasting from cell phone), social networking (LinkedIn, Ning, Change.org, Facebook)
o “We want to do all of these things”
o “I could spend three hours doing a blog or three hours tweeting and retweeting. The
question is, am I creating educational content that has value to my audience or am I
feeding the froth? Can you get an audience without substance?”
o “You’re always listening”—Beth
o Google Reader is a source for listening on an ongoing basis and tracking articles
o Major flaw in social media strategy, but a common one, is to start at the “generating
buzz” piece—and skip all the first steps. You must develop an audience first
o Organizational blog coalition blog: Ensure partner networks contributing to the blog,
so if each network blogging then we’ll start to amass more content and gain more
o Must have content that you’re promoting, at least at the beginning: basic facts, i.e. on
o Have own blog on organizational website that links back to relevant blogs, drives people
to them, generates content for own site
- Blog important: tweeting and sending people back to your blog with your own content
Group Report Out: Strategy, Tradeoffs, Challenges
- Focus on outreach and retention of young members; must know the demographic. 1) Listen: Use
Technorati (track what’s happening with worms, gardening, composting). 2) Participate via
Twitter. 3) Sharing story through organizational blog (important to create content and cross post
on blogs about gardening, composting) 4) Join social networking site (age cohort very focused
on social networking, so will create page on worms, ensure blog posts updated on Facebook
- Focus on college students with a passion for gardening: listen to people online in garden groups,
sustainability through a few avenues: Google Alerts, RSS, Twitter (search different keywords, use
tools to look at twitter profiles and search potential followers, use tools that rate listener
- Grow and engage membership: 50,000 Gen X and Y. Blended approach: 1) partner with concert
to have an earthworm event. 2) Gear up for event through social media: have people design t-
shirts that we then sell at concert. 3) Listen: use alerts, technorati, Twitter (use as key leverage
point by retweeting). 3) Participation (social networking, pitching our info to other bloggers).
- We decided on an ideal number of tools, then narrowed down: 1)Google and technorati. 2) Start
commenting on blogs and develop relationships with bloggers (they could help spread the
word3) Employ Twitter and social networking, as they go well together.
- Had to carefully consider audience, and what would be appropriate for the cause
- Breadth vs depth: are we trying to go too deep? Is it about growing membership than getting
information out? (We decided our goal was to get people together, grow membership. Chose
mass marketing over a deeper education)
- Trying not to lead with the tools: Difficult figuring out communications message: Why are we
putting tools ahead of the message?
- Clarifying depth of involvement with each tool: were coming to the understanding that there
are different levels of involvement for each tool: Twitter vs blog requires different efforts: how
involved do you want to be?
- Defining membership and engagement: what does membership mean? How do we gauge
- How to measure engagement: is it subscriptions to blog, followers on Twitter, reTweets, links
back to blog, or something else?
- Experimented: Started each strategy block with a small experiment that could provide feedback
- Identified one element that was our main objective was difficult: will it be selling? Decide to
focus on growing membership base
- Sequenced: Did it for a set period of time (one year) with built in reflection / listening
- Employed Tools: Analytics: analytics.wikispaces.com
- Employed Tools: Twitter: Twitfluence (measures influence of Twitter members)
- Thought about measurement and results
- Prioritized order of strategy: Stopped self from setting up profiles on social networking sites
first—generating content without an audience/followers
- Thought carefully about strategy redevelopment: Social media requires experimenting: but need
to “reiterate strategically.”
- Employed human resources: used experts and strong group knowledge of social media tools to
develop an effective strategy
- Developed a strategy that fits the message best: a tactic appropriate for the subject and the
- Considered the audience: how they use social media, what they use
- Understood the audience: research, surveys, demographics, technographics
- Considered strategy for organization AND network
- Combined content creation with listening: act of creating t-shirt a great way of understanding
how people are thinking about worms
- Combined connecting with content creators with connecting with influencers/ bloggers: Content
creators have less influence (and will respond in fewer numbers)—you need the spreaders too
- Listened: Listening is key part of strategy
- Built relationship with bloggers first: As a blogger, Beth helps those that comment and
participate on her blog (reciprocity: will it drive people to her site?)
- Combined online and offline: Used social media to broadcast an event, drive people to the event,
and could even leverage that event to have people meet up (Tweet Up) before event to show
off the t-shirt contest, build buzz, etc.
- Used process of elimination: it’s okay put off, stall, say no to some of the tools—you cant do
everything at once
- Used people’s wide range of expertise: combined tech people, marketers, experts, etc
- Combined functions of tools to reap more from each: you can use content creation tools for
listening (i.e., can find target groups through YouTube)
- Connected people: you thought in terms of providing a platform for people to find each other
and connect (vs. getting them to you, getting message to them and keeping yourself at the
- Thought about social networking presence as an outpost AND also think about home base: how
are the two connected?
Working with Team Members: Challenges of Implementing a Social Media Strategy?
- Limited capacity (small staff)
- Coordination: recommend regular meetings with staff about message, strategy, progress
- How do we form an ongoing strategy that incorporates both listening and participation?
- We’re involved in a bounded network without social media: people in our network are on email
but are offline because they’re overwhelmed with information, so it’s hard to implement a
social media strategy or promote with networks. Should we just keep going the way we are with
emails and phone calls?
Working with Team Members: Steps to Implement?
- Must use different strategies for different groups: May need two strategies because our
targeted groups are so different
- People who ought to be involved in social media are not necessarily managers; it should be
those who are excited about it and already engaged with it
- May be appropriate NOT to pursue social media strategy, i.e. for bounded network
- Importance of creating a specific, tailored approach based on each audience: organization is
trying to do many different things (fundraising, connecting with alumni, etc.)
Steps and Lessons
- Importance of listening: different from traditional media, which about broadcasting, pushing
information. Start the conversation by listening
- How organize internally around social media: embed it throughout or marketing dept (silo)
- Bridging gap in technological knowledge: how structure conversation with people with different
levels of tech savvy
- Concerns that social media may be inappropriate for certain projects/orgs/audiences
- Importance of focus and customization in reaching particular audience—often working with
several audiences. Is it separate or integrated?
- Coming to grips with reality: cant to it all
- Social media in bounded networks: how support inward facing work with social media tools?
- Game: social-media-game.Wikispace.com