5 Social Media Tips for Your Employee Volunteer Program

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Social Media Platforms

Which social media platform is right for your program?

1. If You Find Them, They Probably Still Won’t Come

When initially exploring the possibility of using social media, the first step is to find your audience (in this case your employees). Then go to them – don’t expect them to come to you. If they’re on Facebook, put up a Page. If they’re Tweeters, learn to speak in 140 characters. If they’re on LinkedIn, get a group together. If they only use email, make your newsletter really stand out. If they love watching funny YouTube videos, better start practicing in front of a mirror.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

2. There Are Other Social Media Platforms in the Sea

Don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to Facebook and Twitter. They might be two of the most popular social networks, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for your employees and your volunteer program. Don’t forget about the wonderful and unique options available on YouTube, Flickr, and niche networks like Epernicus, BlogHer, or Second Life. There is also always the option of creating your own internal social network for your employees. This is a “safer” option, although it will require time, tech resources and money. Some good places to begin if you’re interested in building your own network are Yammer and Jive.

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Great Examples of Social Media and Employee Volunteering

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Examples of social media and employee volunteeringIt’s unfortunately pretty hard to find examples of companies using social media as part of their employee volunteer programs, and even harder to find any that empower their employees to do so.

I managed to unearth a few for you that provide a look at how you can take advantage of this powerful tool and the difference it could make for your EVP.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

Discovery Communications

The team at Discovery realized earlier than most that people are going to tweet about them, anyway. So they figured they might as well join in. They formed a team that deals with inappropriate employee tweets, but other than that, they’re able to just have fun with it.

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How to Get Employee Volunteers to Follow You On Social Media

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

VM_Solutions followers

Some of VolunteerMatch's Twitter followers. (Get your Twitter mosaic at http://sxoop.com/twitter)

Whether you’re urging your employee volunteers to use major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or setting up your own internal network like Yammer or Jive, getting people to actually use these tools can often be a challenge. How do you get Twitter followers? Why isn’t anyone commenting on your last Facebook post?

In my experience as a social media manager, there are two golden rules for building a following and getting participation in your social media channels:

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

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Fitting Social Media into the Workflow of Your Employee Volunteer Program

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

To Do ListYou are, most likely, a very busy person. Managing an employee volunteer program may be all of your job, or it may be just part of a larger corporate social responsibility or human resources role. Either way, no matter how beneficial social media may be for the success of your EVP, how on Earth will you efficiently integrate it into everything else you’re juggling?

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

So it’s not uncommon for people to get panicky when social media is put on the table. That’s why it’s important to remember that social media is not an end in itself – it is just another communications and marketing channel that you will use to achieve your goals for your EVP.

I repeat: social media is just a channel.

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Social Media Policies for Your Employees and Your Employee Volunteer Program

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Social Media Policies for Your EVPA social media policy is the answer to a very important (and convoluted) question: How do you ‘guide’ employees to say the things you want them to say on social media… and not say the things you don’t… while also enabling them to remain true to their own personal voices?

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

According to a recent study by Manpower, just one in five businesses has a social media policy in place for their employees. That means the vast majority of businesses either wing it or else restrict social media duties to specialized personnel.

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Making the Case to Execs for Social Media in your Employee Volunteer Program

From Facebook fundraising to Tweeting for change, social media and volunteer engagement go perfectly together – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series culled from discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Making the case for social media to execs

Most companies, no matter how progressive, won’t be able to jump head first into the world of social media – especially when it comes to employee use. The biggest obstacle faced by volunteer programs is getting executives and other decision-makers to agree to open social media up to employees in the first place. Many companies block social media sites on work computers for confidentiality and/or productivity reasons.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

Your CEO, COO, head of HR and other executives have many additional concerns that may not be addressed by the points above in the “Why?” section. The first step in convincing them is recognizing what their goals are for the company and for the volunteer program. Many employee volunteer programs strive to achieve certain levels of employee participation and activity, and to build stronger relationships with and among employees. As David J. Neff and Randall C. Moss suggest for nonprofits in their new book “The Future of Nonprofits,” you should tailor your proposal for social media use to the concerns of your executives.

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Who’s Using Social Media, and Why Should Your Employee Volunteer Program Join In?

Your employees, social media, and your volunteer program

If they're using it, you should be using it.

This post is part of a special series on Volunteering is CSR entitled “Social Media and Employee Volunteering.”

Who?

Social media is not just a buzz word – it is a major part of life for a large portion of the world’s population.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

 According to a study released in 2010 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, tools like Twitter are especially ubiquitous among Millennials, minorities and city-dwellers, who most likely make up a healthy portion of any company’s employees.

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