May 21, 2015 Joe Newlin


This series provides ideas you can implement immediately to add to your organization’s bag of digital tricks.

IMAGE: GIF 60-second digital media hack

You read the title, you know what to do. And now you’re emailing your union’s membership department to instruct them to make the change. Hold up! You still have some decisions to make.

  1. Do you leave it open for your members to list any channels they use and their handles, or do you help them out with spaces for a few defined networks?
    You might want to include prompts for Instagram handles, Pinterest profiles, and Twitter handles, but leave a blank space for “Other.” You could be surprised. Maybe your members are Snapchatting more than you would have guessed. In any case, it basically costs you nothing to add a few lines and see what you can learn about your members.
  2. Define a clear path from the point of collection to whomever is handling your social media accounts.
    Collecting the information is one thing, using it is another. It’s somebody’s job to make sure your members’ contact information ends up in the right hands.
  3. Create a plan for integrating your members into the digital life of the organization.
    This is where your digital strategy comes in. You may already have a “ladder of engagement” organizing your members step-by-step to be digital media advocates for your organization. In that case, you might want to considering upgrading your ladder to a matrix. The Matrix of Engagement doesn’t assume that the path from passive membership to active online advocacy is a straight line. Just like in any kind of community organizing, online organizing depends on meeting your members where they are. Where they are influences where you can go with them next. And you can only go there with your members if you avoid a rigid, one-size-fits-all digital strategy, and build in some flexibility.

Whatever the state of your digital strategy, at a minimum do this: collect members’ social media handles, and do something  – anything – with them. You’re already ahead of where you were.

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