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Why Your Group Should be on a Social Networking Site

The New Organizing Institute and the Center for American Progress Action Fund had a great panel discussion yesterday on the merits of social networks. Many progressive groups have already noticed the success of social networking sites and have started to use these sites to connect with one and other and their supporters. It may feel silly to create a profile for your organization on sites like MySpace and Friendster, since the media makes it seem like these sites are overrun by teenagers, but they are actually a great way to raise your profile and make connections.

These sites are an effective way to promote your issues and campaigns and build a stronger network. Take some time to check out Facebook, YouTube and others to get a feel for them and then put your organization's profile up on the site. Start adding friends by searching for other groups with similar issues and letting users know about your campaigns and giving them actions to take. Ask them to spread the word to their friends and have their friends add you.

Scott Goodstein, who founded Catalyst Campaigns, explained that the key to social networking sites is that you will get out of them what you put into them. Keep your site active and up-to-date; add fresh content every week to keep people enaged. Look at it as another way of communicating with your supporters and other groups.

The co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, also said that social networking is another medium of communication for progressive groups. As Scott said, he explained that you need to take good care of your organization's profile. Make sure to keep it current with the most important issues facing your group: Is there a bif event coming up? Is your group launching a new campaign? Also ask your friends to do something. Have them take an action, whether you want them to spread the word or attend a rally.

Lauren Miller, who is a strategist at Blue State Digital, added her imput by explaing that social networking sites are about creating an identity - non profits need to stand out amongst the millions of users on these sites. Remember that your purpose is to reach out to new people and increase your network of supporters.

Ivan Boothe, Communications Director for the Genocide Intervention Network, which has had success online, explained that the most successful campaigns are those that give people the tools to spread the word. That's why you need to push your supporters to action on your sites. Give them a message to pass along or an event to attend. They want to feel that ownership over participation. Social networking sites are all about connecting people and getting them to talk about the issues to one and other. Your end goal has to be to get your current friends interested so that they want to spread the word and move the message.

More on this in another post...

March 9, 2007 in Network Advocacy | Permalink

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Comments

Hi,

we’ve just set up a charity social network site called Helpalot. It helps you find a charity you can trust, using your social network and feedback from the community.

From the perspective of the charity; it helps you find supporters and quality feedback.

http://www.helpalot.org

It’s brand new, and I love to hear your feedback.

Julius

Posted by: Julius at May 22, 2007 2:05:57 PM

I agree with all the comments made in this post. But, though a company may create a profile on one of the social networks it is hard to keep the attention of your, "friends."

Some may get annoyed with your organizations constant postings and just delete your friendship. So the key is to find people on these sites that are truly interested in what it is you are offering and at times this can be hard because there is a sort of anonymity with sites such as these and you never can truly pinpoint exactly what the peoples interests are.

But never the less creating a profile on such a site can be nothing but beneficial. I mean isn’t that how sites like myspace got so big? People told people who told people to check out a crazy profile they saw and it snowballed into a crazy phenomenon that is everywhere you look today.

Posted by: Justin Newson at Apr 2, 2007 5:15:25 PM


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