Start small, work with enthusiasts
A friend from the UK writes to ask me how she might help her somewhat traditional trade association see the value of using a social networking application to facilitate communications between association members, and maybe also as a way to encourage new members to participate. Trade associations are a perfect type of organization to employ social networking tools to encourage conversations and build digital relationships. Here are some potential next steps.
He suggests using a platform like Ning, and taking gradual steps:
Starting with a big empty platform is scary. I recommend building out a few user accounts for some members, and maybe finding a few “friendlies” to build a profile and start messaging back and forth. It always feels easier to understand when you can see real world examples of members using the system. Round up about a half dozen people who might be more inclined to “get it,” help them build an account, add a user pic, etc, and then send a few messages back and forth. Then, when you display and/or demonstrate to the member base, they will see “themselves” in it.
Chris's post has prompted some equally helpful comments from people emphasing the importance of top-level commitment, and noting that bottom-up approaches may meet with resistance in traditional hierarchical organisations.
I'll be looking out for more useful posts on Chris's blog after reading this footnote:
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
Maybe a model for developing content on this blog?
Hat tip for Dave Briggs