Friday, May 27, 2011

#WordPower for Social Media - DFW Nonprofit Communicators Conference (#dfwnpcc)

Last week I had the pleasure of joining some area and regional professionals as a speaker for the DFW Nonprofit Communicators Conference held at TCU.

Below is the slide deck for those that may have missed something because of the seating fun in the crowded room. (Special thanks to those who came and sat on the floor.)
Nonprofit Marketers and Communicators Collaborative
I really dig the idea and purpose behind this conference: to provide convenient one-day training and support for nonprofit communication professionals through interactive workshops at an affordable cost. (Simple and smart.)

Some of the quality presentation topics this year included:
  • Communicating your Mission
  • Legal Policies for Social Media Communicators (review post coming soon)
  • Crisis Communication & Putting the Public First
  • Social Media and Advocacy
  • Reaching out to Diverse Publics
  • Campus Connections for Nonprofits
  • Social Innovation and Nonprofits
The conference is put on by the Nonprofit Marketers and Communicators Collaborative. Established in 2010, this group hopes "to bring together nonprofit marketing and communication professionals to discuss industry specific trends, tips, and helpful advice."

I'd encourage Dallas/Ft. Worth and area nonprofits to pay attention to this collaborative effort and take advantage of future professional development and networking sessions.

If you attended this conference (and maybe even my session), I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

James Lukaszewski on Negative Language and PR

The following video interview with James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA was taken after a recent area Communications and Public Relations workshop. The day-long professional development opportunity was provided by the Texas School Public Relations Association.
(Note: apologies for the slight shakiness of the video. Lesson-learned: Use a tripod.)

Lukaszewski's workshop focused on three man areas:
  1. Crisis-proofing your organization
  2. Building Community Relationships
  3. Being a Strategic Advisor
Jim Lukaszewski - SPRF/PRCA PowerPR Conference...Image by hyku via FlickrThis was the second time for me to hear Lukaszewski and he didn't disappoint. Here's the PR gold that was mined from his presentations:
  • We need to change the language we use; Readiness vs. Crisis Management
  • Readiness means being ready for adverse things.
  • Old-fashioned definition of PR - Do good; take credit
  • New definition of PR - Do good and let it speak for itself
  • Strategic Communicators need to ask/answer, "What do we contribute to the mix?"
  • Candor in a crisis - "If you want to be trusted, get the truth out there."
  • Truth = Absence of fear
  • In a crisis, communications becomes an operating function
  • Crises happen explosively but are resolved incrementally

On Victims and Critics during a PR crisis (and other challenging times):
  • Victimization is a totally irrational and voluntary state; it is self-maintaining and self-terminating
  • Victims use language like betrayed, loneliness, personal/personnel failure, grief, why me/us, why now, etc.
  • Victims require validation, visibility, vindication, and apology (This is part of why our media friends like to talk to the victims)
  • The strategy for negotiations need to start with what is possible instead of what organization is not going to do.
  • "Create as few critics everyday."
  • Keep your base supporters and avoid making new angry people.
  • Silence is a toxic strategy
  • You must manage the victims dimension 
  • Don't forget the obvious - Stop the activity that is creating more victims
  • The art of crisis management is to know what the mistakes are going to be
  • "When there's a crisis that needs management, management is in crisis."
  • Take in big picture without taking it personal; go to 50,000 feet and stay at 50,000 feet

This is just some of the great material Lukaszewski shared along with some fantastic information on strategically advising leadership during a crisis. He gave valuable tactics on providing operational advice and how to provide the next useful thing to management.

As a communications professional, if you ever have the opportunity to hear from Lukaszewski at a conference or other speaking engagement, I would highly recommend carving out some time and sharpen your skills.
    Enhanced by Zemanta

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Closing a School District's Facebook Page

    Facebook logoImage via WikipediaAfter approximately 20 months of building a (mostly) positive online community, my school district has shut down its Facebook page.

    In an explanatory blog post, we shared the following in part:
    "Mansfield ISD will no longer host district or campus-level Facebook pages. The open nature of the Facebook commenting feature continues to cause regular disruption and place the district as a liable participant in issues related to sharing of private student information, defamation of employees and other abusive online behavior. In addition, MISD is not able to commit the administrative or campus staff time necessary to adequately moderate user content posted to these pages."
    Those of you that know me know that I am huge advocate for integrating social media tools into communication and public relations work flow. Facebook page management was/is among those tools I recommend.

    Be careful what you wish for...
    With the District page open for community commenting, of course we created and posted the rules of engagement to back up our removal of inappropriate material. We wanted feedback. We got feedback. Not all of it positive. Which was, and is fine. Getting useful feedback from the community on news and information was an objective since it helped us determine if messages were being received. The human element of the social web will always bring out critics and critiques. The problems came when those were aimed at students, parents, community and individual staff members.

    So what changed?
    In essence the liabilities were outweighing the benefits of the district's Facebook page. We became keenly aware of just how much time it was taking to adequately monitor the page in order to remove postings that were abusive and/or offensive.The page audience grew to a respectable 6,900 fans ('Likes') connected to it. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way it reached a point where detractors (passionate and occasional) decided to use the commenting features to share negative information and feedback about individual students and staff members. There were also instances of bickering and arguing with each other including back and forth between kids and adults that sometimes left the realm of civil and intelligent discourse. I know that is shocking to anyone who has a personal Facebook profile. (sarcasm)

    Perhaps there was a magic number of fans or tipping point for the community that marked this shift. It's hard to tell.

    Why not just turn off the comments for the page?
    In the current Facebook Page editing capabilities, Admins can toggle on/off the Posting Ability to adjust the setting "Users can write or post content on the wall." But, that only stopped new comments going to the wall, not on previous or new posts shared by the Page. That setting simply doesn't seem to exist right now. Admins still have to watch and delete inappropriate replies and ban users if necessary. So it's still a moderation/time issue.

    Moving forward
    If school PR people want to start/continue to use Facebook pages, I would recommend you make sure you (1.) have a policy that includes a response protocol for negative comments and inappropriate posts and (2.) set aside time, resources and money to listen to and moderate the conversation about your school district. This time resource is a sticky one. We could no longer sustain a level of moderation with the current Facebook Page administration capabilities to meet the growing demand for nearly constant oversight.

    Does this mean we are backing away from social media? Hardly. Consider this:
    Facebook ≠ Social Strategy

    I do not consider adopting any one single social media tool, even the current front-runner, Facebook, as being equal to having a social strategy. The underlying reasons or objectives behind why you use these communication tools and how you evaluate and measure their effectiveness are what ultimately propel an organization's success.

    What do you think? Have you run across these commenting management issue on pages you run for your school district or clients? I'm curious to know what others think. As always, the comments are yours.

    Related articles
    Enhanced by Zemanta