Much greater than the sum of our parts

Guest blog post from Lesley Pinder, Supporter Engagement Manager for Missing People. You can find her on twitter @Skipinder and tweeting for Missing People @missingpeople. Lesley will be presenting and hosting a workshop at Be Good Be Social Edinburgh – 3rd Nov 2011.

I can’t tell you how delighted I was to be asked to speak at Be Good Be Social on behalf of Missing People and about what we’ve been up to on Twitter. Before the event, I thought I’d share with you a little more about how we ‘do’ Social Media!

missing people logo

Missing People is a small charity (with big ambitions) and as such have no dedicated person whose role is purely about Digital Communications. We are, and I’m sure this will sound familiar to many of you, time and resources short and have little budget for investing in Social Media.

However we don’t let such things hold us back! We knew that Social Media could have a huge impact on our work. So, rather than assume that it is something for the big boys and not for us, a group of us decided that we would do it anyway by working together and sharing the load.

Our core Social Media group at Missing People consists of four people – myself, our Marketing Officer Pete Richardson, our Communications Manager Clare Cook and our PR Officer Amalia McGibbon. Together we coordinate and plan our social media activities and we each have responsibility for certain platforms. It was natural that as the resident Twitter geek, I would look after our Twitter account. Pete took on Facebook and YouTube and Clare and Amalia launched The Missing Blog with contributions from a whole range of people affected by or working within the issue of missing.

So how has this approach worked? As the months have gone by, each of us has become more and more knowledgeable about the platform that we are working on which means we are building a great base of expertise in-house. We are learning more every day about what people are interested in and becoming more adept at dealing with some of the issues that we face by opening up to the world of social media. Every few weeks we have a review and planning meeting and are always chatting, sharing ideas and insights and supporting each other on a day to day basis. By communicating regularly we respond to issues quickly and we can identify opportunities that otherwise might have remained hidden or ‘silo-ed’ in a more territorial culture. An example of this is the Big Tweet for Missing Children. A brainwave of Clare, The Big Tweet ultimately combined the expertise and knowledge of each member of our Social Media team with input from colleagues across the organisation and became more successful than we could have ever imagined. More on that at the next Be Good Be Social on 3rd November.

The moral of the story….

If you’re new to social media, as we were, and if you’re low on resources then put together a group of likeminded people who see the value in social media and work together to make it happen. Within Missing People, these people were initially all members of the Supporters and Communications team, which I guess is probably typical but it doesn’t necessarily have to be! Our Policy and Research team has started using Facebook and Twitter to engage with politicians and to get the public involved in ourcampaigning and research work and our CEO is spearheading Yammer within the organisation. You never know where the Social Media geeks are hiding! Working together is so much more fun than battling along alone. It is the social way after all!

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