Unless you have lived in the remote outskirts of the Alaskan plains, everyone is aware of the widespread popularity of social networking. The popularity of public social networking platforms like LinkedIn has certainly inspired nonprofits to begin using Social Networking Software . However, a recent blog entry on Associations Now, IN DEFENSE OF THE INSULAR SOCIAL NETWORK, challenged us to contemplate the distinct advantages for an association in taking the time to build your very own private social network.
5 Reasons for Community Management Software
First, what is our working definition of private social media software? We believe that Private Social Media is a community website created by companies (Ex. Associations) to allow individuals or groups to leverage the knowledge and experience of people in a network. Having said that, this brief blog will describe 5 main advantages we hear from our clients associated with using private social networking software.
1. Community Content and Control
The association can control all aspects of the content, features, layout and rollout. New program announcements, upcoming classes, & brand awareness can all be administered internally and pushed to the community of users based on your desire and segmentation. With content control, you can have direct feedback opportunities and focused information to build brand trust and recognition.
2. Build Private Communities For Security
Privacy is an important issue today and people are less likely to share information in the public domain. Therefore, with a private social networking software it allows organizations the capability to set up your own private community of users. Ex. The Finance Committee is able to have the outlet to share minutes and budgets with each other without fear of the information being available to others. These communities offer a safe, controlled, and moderated environment with backup and restoration of your data.
3. Store Front Value for Engagement
Let’s face it. As an association, your website is your store front. And, a Private Social Network on your website will only promote more engagement. If you are using Private Social Networking software which has been implemented for your organization it’s a great marketing opportunity and will be conducive to keeping members coming back and attracting more members to your site. As a result of being your own, your community site can be branded to your color scheme and themes which reflect your company’s ethos and products. Public Sites don’t often allow you the option of having your own graphics for your site. This can leave your site looking a little homogeneous, and not in the mood you want it to be in.
4. A Direct Ear to the Interests of the Members
Private Social Networks allow you to be in control of the community and benefit from the community chatter. In other words, your organization can stay in tune with the content and comments which will allow your organization to be more in step with the hot topics of the organization and members you serve.
5. Integration with Other Systems
With an integrated Private Social Network, you have the opportunity to leverage the integration with your Association and Donor Management Systems. For Example, if your organization sells training courses online or books, you can automatically have the system pull those like-minded individuals into a special collaboration group based on the insight derived from transactions by members online. With these integrated tools, you are able to provide another “touch point” besides direct mail which are focused due to the integration with your main constituent management system.
In my mind, there are many benefits to Private Social Networks. But, to be certain, there is no doubt a need for both Public and Private outlets to be a part of your social media plan.
Certainly, the scale of participation likely pales in comparison to the number involved on Public options, however, there is a compelling case to be made to launch your own.
If you have more ideas on the value of social networking solutions or would like help reviewing software options, please make a comment below or contact us.