If this is your first go-round with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or really any social media community – this podcast is for you. Coach and “Master Connector,” Heidi Massey, teaches us how to get started with social media and why it is vital to your organization. As a matter of fact, Heidi’s explainations of social media and how to use them are the simplest I have ever heard! If you don’t have an “Ah-ha Moment” on this call and find yourself Tweeting like a pro, I will… uh, well – I’ll be surprised. (Kinda felt like there was a “dare” coming in somewhere.)
As usual, the conversation below is not a full transcript. It’s just some of the good stuff. It is extremely abridged so I would highly recommend you listen to the podcast if you own or work with a non-profit and are looking for ways to improve your organization. This is a great call for non-profits, businesses, and careerists.
The two major topics covered on this call:
- An introduction to social media and how to use it effectively – starting today!
- Ways to improve your organization using connections and skills from Heidi Massey.
- BONUS: Heidi fills us in on how you can get one-on-one help directly from her if you are in need.
MH: NonProfit Connection is just what I call my blog. I’m creating this non-profit consulting business and I’m playing with a lot of different names.
Essentially, I do a couple different things. I help non-profits expand their network, whether they want to have a more diverse board or engage more volunteers or they just want to learn more about how to learn social media. And then I also help organizations create innovative programs. Not fund raising so much as educational, or volunteer based, or leadership development, or team building types of programs that are not really about raising money.
MH: I always tell people I’m a “casualty of the economy” in the non-profit world. when the lousy economy hit, most of the jobs at the non-profit I worked at were eliminated. I looked and looked and did a lot of interviewing and found that I was sort of in the middle range where I was too old for some of the jobs being offered and wasn’t really looking to be an executive director. There wasn’t really a place for me in the non-profit world.
But as I was doing all this interviewing I was doing a lot of networking and I kept hearing about Twitter being this great tool. I kept getting on [Twitter] like everybody else and playing around and thinking, “this is really stupid.” And people do that for a while. Then one day I spent about 2 and a hlaf hours just on Twitter. Looking at it, playing around, and trying to understand how it was used. Then suddenly a light went off and I was thinking, “Now I get it!”
I’ve been on Facebook for a long time and for a while it was just a nuisance. But as I become more engaged on Twitter, a lot of the people I’ve engaged with on Twitter have become connections on Facebook. And I have different kinds of connections on Facebook, a different kind of conversation. As I’ve gotten to network more and more, more people are reaching out to me on LinkedIn. So, everything is kind of woven together but they all serve different purposes. I find that each one of them is really important to what I do.
MH: I think one of the things to know is that Twitter is NOT a young person’s game. Most of the people that I know on Twitter are 35, 40, 45, 50. There are very few kids on Twitter, thankfully, because they wouldn’t know how to use it. Most people are well engaged into their careers, well engaged into their lives, have children. And there are different communities on Twitter. Not every social media tool is right for every person or right for every organization but it’s worth getting on and looking around.
I think people are afraid and I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if they think they’re going to break Twitter or break their computer or say something stupid. Because everyone says stupid things and everyone does stupid things. Everybody learns over time and everybody makes mistakes. The Twitter audience is very forgiving.
The bottom line is the conversation is taking place. If you’re a non-profit organization, people are going to talk about your organization and you might as well be there to contribute to what the message is as opposed to letting the message be there without you.
And Facebook is just really easy to navigate. There are some really great people that are writing some great guides on how to use it. I like what Mashable does about social media. It’s just a really easy resource to access to learn more.
The other thing about these things is that if you get on there and say, “Help! How do I do this?” Chances are, if you find the right people to ask, and that’s not a hard thing to do, you can ask people. Twitter is a really easy, searchable tool. Just search for people that are in your field and follow them and ask them questions. Most people are going to be pretty friendly and responsive.
If I could make a list of the opportunities that have come my way in the past year and a half just because of Twitter….
I just spoke to a New York Times reporter on Saturday and that was all because I connected with someone who told me about something a couple weeks ago. That was a really great experience with a cool organization. And afterward they wanted one of the adults who was there for this kid’s program to talk to the New York Times and they decided that I was the person.
There are so many things that have happened. I feel like I have this whole incredibly supportive, warm, nurturing community, all over the world that I would not have every met or known. I’m exposed to the best thinkers in my field. I can connect with people that, first of all, I wouldn’t ever have known but second of all, if I did know, it would be so cumbersome to send them an email and hope that they respond. And there would be no wealth of data for them to go after to see if they wanted to respond to me. And for me to see if I want to respond to them.
Twitter is so easy! You can get on there, see what people are saying. See if you like what they’re saying. If you like what they are saying, you can connect with them and start talking to them. But it’s really easy to think that it’s a broadcast medium. The analogy is you envision yourself going into a big room filled with people. The people that just stand on a chair and just shout and don’t engage with anybody – those people are ignored. The people that go in, walk around the room and listen, then walk up to somebody and make a comment. Or listen to one conversation then go to the other side of the room and say, “I just heard over there that…” Those are what make Twitter so meaningful. Establishing relationships with people and engaging with people. It’s not a broadcast medium. You can’t just get in there and start shouting about what you’re doing because no one cares. They care once they have relationships with you.
BJB: If you are a non-profit or involved with a non-profit and listening to this call, contact or at least follow Heidi on Twitter. Pay attention to what she’s doing because there is a lot that she can offer that can help you tremendously.
Heidi has done a lot of connecting with companies and non-profits and if she can’t do what you need, she probably knows the people who can.
What are some of the services you provide to non-profits?
HM: I’m happy to teach people how to utilize social media.
A lot of organizations are community organizations but when you go to the board meetings, you just see a bunch of middle aged white people. And a lot of organizations don’t know how to change that. That’s something that I’ve really put a lot of time and energy into is networking with diverse communities. And not just racial diversity but politically, and religiously diverse and really, just any kind of diversity. So, I could help organizations do that.
I also have a lot of experience planning innovative programs. I don’t like to do things the same way everyone else does them. I really like to push the envelope. If you’re going to do an event, make sure people are jumping up and down with enthusiasm and just desperate to come back again because what you did was so spectacular. I have a lot of years of creating things like that, particularly for youth and families that can be educational or services based that will encourage people to not only to have a good time and find meaning in what they did that day but to want to continue to stay engaged.
What tips do you have for newbies to social media?
Did you learn anything new on this call?