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There’s Something About McHenry…

There’s something about McHenry County which keeps drawing me back to conduct training. Maybe its the sprawling landscape or the mom and pop shops that still keep their doors open, but most definitely its the people.

At my last training at the Shaw Center for Corporate Training, I was once again delighted to work with about 30 nonprofit staff working from Seniors Centers to Emergency Preparedness to issues of homelessness and affordable housing.

Many may think that there may not be much of a social presence online from coming from McHenry County but you may be surprised that there is a good handful of people looking towards the web and social tools to extend their reach and participate in online conversations.

Once again, much of the concern regarding the use of online communications and the social web was all about capacity, strategy, tactics and knowing the tools.

In the training I handed out worksheets for the participants to help them develop their Online Communications Plan and Social Media Policy which can be downloaded here.

My main emphasis was focusing on goals, audience and the message. We talked in depth about how our targeted audiences can be reached by also identifying the needs of our current audience (continually keeping them informed), peripheral audiences (which can be informed by educational reach of our brand) and potential audiences (those folks who can use support our cause but still do not know we exist – social media monitoring is a great way to extend our reach to them).

One of the biggest concerns was identifying the guidelines in a social media policy. A helpful tool to we used in the training was the social media policy generator, which automatically creates a formatted policy one can use as a sample while developing their policy. I still encouraged them to use the Social Media Policy worksheet to refine and draft something to share with the rest of their staff.

We also looked at Facebook and Twitter – particularly Facebook pages including Fan pages, Groups and Ad pages. An invaluable resources for them to review some of these concepts was using the Guidebooks to these tools on Mashable provides a pretty good beginner’s guide to both Facebook and Twitter along with some great bloggers keeping us all afresh with all things Social Media.

After introducing some concepts around the anatomy of a tweet, I suggested participants to use twitter client tools to help manage their monitoring, searches, and twitter communications such as Seesmic, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. We all got a kick searching the McHenry County keywords.

We also looked at some other monitoring tools to help identify trends and blogs partial to our causes including technorati and twittorati.

I expect to see more of my new friends from McHenry County online and looking forward to new conversations and contributions from them as well. Until next time….. Ciao!

~ Demetrio Maguigad, New Media Manager

P.S. you can also download the Social Media Game cards (originally developed by David Wilcox and Beth Kanter, remixed by yours truly)

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Category: Nonprofit Communications (aka Navelgazing), social media, Trainings, Web Stuff

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