Monday, May 16, 2011

Managing Your Organization's Social Media Effectively!

Social Media Model for Communities & Enterprises

After interviewing a number of successful communities and enterprises of various sizes, I found similarities in the effective Social Media Model being followed. This Social Media Model which could be embraced to position your organization for a successful implementation and, more importantly, a way to effectively sustain and continuously improve your social media efforts.

Explore the Bruce, of Bruce County Ontario, grew their followers the first year, on Facebook, from 0 to 6,000 using this model.  They have since doubled on both Facebok & Twitter.

The Social Media Model consists of three elements: the Strategy, the Roles and the Schedule:


The Social Media Strategy has two levels: First, for the entire organization, which is driven by the organization’s communications department, helping to support the overall marketing plan. Second, which complements and supports the overall marketing plan are the appropriate individual departments within the organization. First the overall organizational Strategy, Goals and Measures are outlined, then, then appropriate individual departments can create their supporting strategies and goals.

If your organization is small, then one level for your entire organization is needed. Keep it simple. An example of a small organization that is doing it right is The Market Hall in Peterborough, Ontario. Their goal is to increase “butts in seats”, therefore, everything they Post and measure is aimed to support that effort.

A larger organization, such as with a regional county structure, would have an overall Marketing Strategy driven by Communications, each department with individual strategies − departments like Economic Development, Tourism, Emergency Services, Transportation and Recycling & Waste Management. Each having their individual Marketing and Social Media Strategies, and goals supporting the County’s overall goals.

Example of Tourism goals within a county are often increasing reservations, overnight stays, and increasing awareness of their specific targeted tourism segments. These Tourism goals are measured by increasing reservations, and the download of materials on specific targeted tourism visitors guides.

Examples of Economic Development goals within a county structure are often direct measures tied to increasing investment and prosperity of the local area. Examples of goals could be decreasing the number of trade shows attended while increasing investment enquiries which were initiated through the website.

Recycling & Waste Management goals often are in the area of increasing the efficiencies of communications to the residents. These goals have direct measures like, the number of times a resident downloads or clicks on the recycling schedule increasing, while the number of calls into the call center about the recycling schedule decreasing.

Information technology plays a key roll in the strategy, as they help these departments put tools in place to measure the impact of their efforts, and therefore enabling the departments to continually improve their efforts to meet their goals.


In smaller organizations, the first two roles are the same person. In larger organizations, there is a structure which has evolved with multiple people helping sustain the social media effort. The first role is a Contributor; they write the content. The second role is the Social Media Coordinator; they coordinate the Social Media Schedule. In some organizations, there is an overall Social Media Coordinator for the entire organization as well as individual Social Media Coordinators in individual departments.

The successful organizations, small and large, have also learned how to leverage Ambassadors through their community and sometimes globally. Ambassadors are Social Media ‘Giants’ who act as your organizations’ trusted distribution channel. The Ambassador is key to success. As these Ambassadors are trusted, it’s wise that you use their influence to “Share” or “Re-tweet” your message.

Role Summary

Your Organization’s Staff Contributors

• Subject matter experts; able to write; familiar with the social networking platforms.

• Departments assign one or more employees with specific mandates or passions to be contributors

Social Media Coordinator – Your Organization’s staff or you can outsource this position

• Shares the strategy and protocols with the contributors,

• Creates the annual social media schedule

• Keeps everyone on track to the monthly schedule

Community Ambassador − Social Media ‘Giants’

• Distributors of the information throughout their social networking community.

• Social Media ‘giants’ in the community or in communities you want visitors from.

• Not generally your employees

• Some communities where engaging youth groups as their Ambassadors

• Subject-matter experts; able to write; familiar with the social networking platforms

• Associations

IT plays an important role here as well as they often must ‘open’ access to these Social Media Co-ordinators and Contributors to external programs that other employees might not have access to. There is training, hardware and software requirements that are likely needed. The Social Media Coordinator or Contributor who is expected to take videos and photos out and about at events will need data plans and appropriate mobile devices to accomplish their tasks. The Information Technology departments of larger organizations need to be a part of the planning and implementation of this effort.


Each department with a reason to expand their Marketing Efforts through social media should appoint one or more appropriate Contributors. Contributors are typically subject-matter experts; employees with specific mandates or passions. Individual organizations need to determine if their Contributors are going to give their materials to the Social Media Co-ordinator to post for them, or post it themselves. This will determine the amount of access and effort needed on the Contributor’s side.

Who: Hand-chosen Staff Contributors within each appropriate Department, and extension of their current role

What are they contributing: Promote their current goals and to meet their departmental strategies

Why are they contributing: To deliver on their departmental overall mandate

Criteria: Excellent communication skills and trained on what and how to say

Measures of Success of their departmental mandate. Examples of measures:

• Increasing quality followers

• Bookings – online reservations

• Measuring engagement of sectors

• Clicking on the links back to sections of website

• Downloading PDFs

• Increasing number of visitors and overnight stays

• Decreasing calls to call center while increase website views

Amount of effort required by contributors varies based upon if they are posting or routing it to the Social Media Co-ordinator.

• Attending events, posting live from the events (text, photo, interviews, videos)

• Editing photos

• Editing videos

• Uploading photos

• Uploading videos

• Posting, Tweeting


Organizational Social Media Co-ordinator:

The organizational overall Social Media Co-ordinator shares the strategy and protocols with each of the departmental Social Media Co-ordinators. They create the annual social media schedule. They also train the departmental social media co-ordinators as needed to manage their department’s schedule and contributors.

Departmental Social Media Co-ordinator:

The departmental Social Media Co-ordinator shares the strategy and protocols with each of their departmental Contributors. They create their department’s annual social media schedule and keep their department’s contributors on track to the monthly schedule.

Who: Your Organizational Staff

What are they contributing: Ensuring the implementation of the Social Media Strategy & Action Plan.

Why are they contributing: To deliver on the mandate

Criteria: Expert on all social media platforms; training contributors and others on what to say and how to say it. Creating, sharing & monitoring the protocols

Measure of Success of Mandate

• Successful implementing and keeping contributors and ambassadors on track

• Amount of effort required

• Attending events, posting live from events (text, photo, interviews, videos)

• Editing photos

• Editing videos

• Uploading photos

• Uploading videos

• Posting, Tweeting

• Recruiting followers and managing the Incentive Program

• Ongoing self training

• Ongoing training of others internal contributors & external ambassadors

• Facebook Ads & Google Ads

• Tracking efforts to success

• Monitoring of Posts via live alerts

• Listening online & replying


The Social Media Co-ordinator searches online for these Giants. Each department might have their own set of Ambassadors. Some might overlap. The Ambassador takes the message and often just Shares it or Retweets it to their own network.

The Social Media Ambassador is the most important element when focusing on growing your followers.  Without the effective use of relevant Ambassadors, your growth is slow.  Relevant Ambassadors are those with LARGE followers of people who are also your target market. People trust those they already follow, therefore asking your Ambassadors to retweet or share is KEY! Invite them to your events, given them excuses to talk about you.

Who: Social Media ‘Giants’ have many quality followers. They can be individuals with large followers, Business Associations, Media, Local Celebrities, Sports Groups, Vacations spots.

What are they contributing: Share or Retweet & using consistent Keywords if there are commenting on your behalf.

Why are they contributing: Passion & Sense of Pride, drive our mandate, driving their own business


Measures of Success of mandate

• Increasing numbers of retweets & sharing

• Increasing use of your selected keywords by Ambassadors

• Increasing number of quality visitors to your website from the Ambassadors’ efforts

Amount of effort requires

• Retweeting and Sharing

• Uploading posts, photos, videos from events

• High School, going to events, tourism, i.e. posting things around town


The final step, after the above roles are identified, is to create a Social Media Schedule which highlights the efforts and measures to be tracked. This becomes your Social Media Strategy Plan and Schedule. This can be developed initially for one department and then rolled out for the entire organization, or better yet, for the Organization as a whole, and then for individual appropriate Departments.

It can be modified for various departments depending on the level of social media engagement. A dedicated social media coordinator can oversee efforts of implementing this for entire organization, with mini social media coordinators in various departments if needed.

The Social Media Plan and Goals needs to be automated so alerts and reminders are sent to the contributors and coordinators. So, using the calendar system your organizations is already using is often the best approach, therefore avoiding a stand alone system.

The Plan, before being entered into your organization’s calendar has the following fields. This is an example of an organization who uses their Facebook Business Page as the main distribution channel, and it automatically updates Twitter.

To download the white paper, on this topic, click on

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