Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Staffing the Effort

I recently tuned into a "twebinar" hosted by Chris Brogan, Radian6 and Cross Tech Media. The discussion was essentially about the importance of listening to the conversation, but quickly turned to the barriers that businesses face to actually having the ability to listen... Listening to that many conversations sometimes takes more than one set of ears... and ears cost money.

The issue of staffing the social media effort has been recently very top of mind for me as we step into the beginning of our fiscal year. If you were curious as to how many people we are doing this with? The answer is 1.5... me and my assistant who works part time. Recently I have had the pleasure of discussing this very issue with other social media /communications professionals within other health organizations.

I am most likely not going to get any more staff to continue our efforts, so like all of my counterparts I will have to train more team members, more communicators, more faculty and members of other departments to listen to the conversations happening in their areas of interest and respond and participate appropriately. We have already made a good start to this effort. The web 2.o discussion group that I started has resulted in about 30+ people representing at least 8 different departments that have some level of social media knowledge. Many of these people have taken what they know back to their departments and are responsible for some of the new Facebook, and Twitter pages that you have seen come out of the institution.

One of my counterparts at another hospital gave me a great idea! When we start blogging I will have to expect that my bloggers, and hopefully others in my department to support me in monitoring and responding to comments made within the blog.

I believe that we will be able to continue to grow our social media communications program however it is going to take the support of our community to do it. During the "twebinar" someone mentioned the Sun Microsystems example. I am not so sure that I want the burden of monitoring 4,000 internal bloggers, but the idea is spectacular! If I could get 500 people that had a good enough grasp of social media that they could develop and manage their own institutional presence, we would be a powerhouse of support and answers for our audience.


Zena said...

Great post, Jennifer. You have the mantra down...keep educating, keep showing the value, keep plowing through. It takes a village to keep the engaged conversation brewing. You are doing your part fantastically!

Anonymous said...

You're going at it the right way. A small team like you have educating the rank and file is what it takes. That's the whole idea of social media, is that it's not just for the professional communicators. But if you engage people who have passion, that volunteer force will be amazing.