Organizations Can’t Have Conversations, Only People Can

The idea for this post came from a comment on one of Jeremiah Owyang’s posts by Peter Kim:

Let’s take this a step further – companies CAN’T join a conversation – only people can. Unless you decide to have your mascot come to life.

This is a concept that a lot of organizations miss when coming up with a social media strategy. Even if you have a Twitter account for your organization, or a Facebook group, or anything else for that matter, a person needs to be engaging in the conversation.

I would like to make the suggestion that even if you are tweeting as your organization, it is clear who the person is that is actually updating the account. People have a much harder time engaging with a faceless organizational entity as opposed to a person that is speaking for your organization.

Better yet, get people that are a part of your organization to create their own social media presences and use their relationships to advocate for you.

The point Jeremiah makes in his post is that maybe your organization does not need to have conversation as a part of their strategy. Jeremiah, however, is writing to an audience of businesses and company social media strategies. Since my audience (you) tends to come from youth political organizations, I think that the conversation aspect of a social media strategy is important.

The first take-away of this post is to make your online conversations personal: have someone that is responsible for it whose identity is known. The second take-away is to have your members and even your leaders use social networking on their own to promote the work of your organization.

What are your thoughts?