website innovation

The Social Media Map

3 Comments 06 January 2009

I’ve been thinking about two things this week:  further contemplation of  the Personal Branding post and learning about Lifestreaming, a tool which compiles social media usage into real time streams in one place. Together, they inspired me to reconsider the Site Map.

Why not update the standard website site map? Site maps are useful, of course, both for SEO optimization with Google and for your visitors who want to navigate your site, buy items, etc.  But where is your organization’s “social media map?” How do you communicate how your corporation/organization interfaces socially on web? The Employee Bio might elaborate how your employees interface with the web while at work, but what about the corporate interface? Here are some thoughts:

The Old Way

You work at a non-profit (or a for-profit corporation, for that matter) and you’ve decided on a communications strategy that includes social media.  Great! How might you inform your customers that you are engaged in social media? You can:

  • Link to your blog, feature recent blog posts on your site’s home page, or create a page on your website for the blog.
  • Place icons on the home page indicating that staff can be found on Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., or place the icons on the staff pages.
  • Post interesting articles or video onto your website.
  • Link to online communities under a “resources” header, or just as a “link” on the website.

I have to admit that I checked out the websites of several corporations and non-profit organizations whose CEOs and Executive Directors use Twitter. I found no Twitter links or promotions of this valuable social media tool. I have seen social media affiliations featured prominently on a number of consultants’ blogs, however, which makes sense given their profession. But why aren’t corporate staff’s social media activities more visible?

The New Way: Create a Social Media Map on Your Website

You work at a non-profit (or a for-profit corporation, for that matter) and you’ve decided on a communications strategy that includes social media.  Great! What about creating a Social Media Map on your website? There are many ways to set up the page, but I envision it similar to the “Press/News” page on many websites. In that spirit, you could create a website page entitled “Our Social Media Map.” The Map would list the interactive communications activities of the staff and organization, by social media application. Here are a few examples of how one might word it on the page:

  • FLICKR: go the the our organization’s Flickr photos for photos of recent events. Photos include…
  • TWITTER: correspond with and follow our CEO on Twitter, username@our organization. Also, these other staff tweet… We look forward to the conversation!
  • SLIDESHARE: look through our slide show presentations on Slideshare. We just posted a slide show presenting our 5-year strategic plan. Our username is “TBA for Good” — feel free to mark your favorites, share, and invite us to connect with you.
  • YOU TUBE: here  will find clips from our annual meeting; feel free to tag, share and comment. Were you there? What did you think?
  • LINKEDIN: links to every staff member’s LinkedIn profile and relevant LinkedIn groups.
  • BLOGS: Organizational blog (link) and blogs of other staff as well. Also, here are links to blogs of note in the industry.

Additionally, with the advent of Lifestreaming, you could add a Lifestreaming-type page. For those new to Lifestreaming (like me), it’s a place where all your social media activities are streamed in real time and added to the site as they occur. You could combine all the social media usage of your employees and corporation into one STREAM page that readers can view. This is a totally new concept for a corporate site, but the streaming page might create some visual confusion for those website visitors unfamiliar with Lifestreaming. But…it could also add real excitement to a website. In any case, this concept could be adapted and utilized to give your customers a real-time view of your organization’s social media activity. (There is also a blog about Lifestreaming that appears to cover all the related technology, as well as an interesting new post on new Lifestreaming developments here.)

The goal of the Social Media Map is, of course, to further your communications strategy. Consider your goals, of course, such as: do you want to recruit more volunteers or deepen relationships through your social media activities? I’d love to hear how/if visitors to the Social Media Map page are converted to subscribers/followers/contacts in the various media streams listed on the page.

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Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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