Any business can use the tools they are given, but not every business can take those tools and use them to their full capacity. This is the difference between a toolset and a mindset.
What is a networking mindset? It’s a new type of leadership. It means using open participation and collective action. The leaders of the organization need to operate with an awareness of the networks the organization is involved in and listen to these networks to develop a stronger impact. With this mindset, organizations communicate in active conversations and take part themselves. They give their organization a voice, and with social media this can be done through multiple platforms.
When it comes to nonprofits and their utilization of social media platforms, they need to adopt a social networking mindset. Every business benefits from utilizing different platforms, but nonprofits are the true beneficiaries.
According to Beth Kanter, co-author of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, there are four different stages a nonprofit goes through when trying to adopt a social networking mindset. They are: crawling, walking, running and flying.
Crawlers have set up their social media accounts but are not interacting with their community through them and are inconsistently posting. They need to work on developing a social media strategy within their communication plan for the organization.
Walkers are using the different social media channels but are not focusing on a specific strategy. They may be posting the same thing every week, or posting irrelevant information. According to Kantar, “Walkers should focus on one or two social media tools, going deep into tactics and generating tangible results and lessons.”
Runners have developed a detailed and centralized social media strategy for their organization. In this stage all employees within the organization are comfortable with their social media efforts. More than one department is able to focus on the social media strategy and participate in it.
Flyers are the innovators of social media within their industry. They are focused on changing and developing new strategies to further their impact on their communities. Flyers have fully developed a communications plan with social media platforms intact.
No matter what stage a nonprofit organization is in, the most important point to remember is to actively engage within their social media networks by first determining a strategy, then goals and objectives. They need to evaluate and adjust their efforts as needed and keep repeating the process until they hit their goals.
Without consistent engagement, a nonprofit can lose their following and reputation amongst their different channels. Remember, there’s a difference between a toolset and a mindset.