by Stuart Barnes Jamieson & Nathan Lee Jones, MBA

Note: This event recap was originally posted on Become’s website, March 16th, 2015 at http://www.be-come.org/#!Social-Media-for-Social-Impact/c1mj9/55072a910cf2458597d236da

It was a very cold Friday morning and the bagels and coffee were late. Still, less than twenty minutes after our first participant arrived, we already knew that this was going to be a great workshop! After weeks of planning and collaborating, the first of five workshops in the 2015 “Taking It to the Next Level” series co-sponsored by Become, NetSquared Chicago and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology took place on Friday, February 27th. This first workshop in the series was entitled “Social Media for Social Impact: Building Your Brand and Engaging the Community.” As the organizers, we had been looking forward to not only learning a few new techniques ourselves, but also to meeting and connecting with more individuals dedicated to the social impact sector.

Even before the first slide was presented, the workshop participants were already connecting with each other, exchanging contact information and sharing best practices and challenges. While the participants represented a wide range of causes, there were many common frustrations with developing a social media strategy. “How can I launch a campaign with my limited budget?” “We have tried Facebook but simply are not getting ‘likes.’ What do we do?”

Networking to make meaningful and useful connections, and utilizing and supporting the resources that are already “in the room” are basic values of both Become and NetSquared, so we felt proud and successful even before the refreshments arrived and the content began!

To our way of thinking, the camaraderie that forms, the connections that are made, and the collaborations that begin are just as important as the actual workshop content, and the hallmark of a good workshop or seminar is when everyone comes away equally inspired and enlightened by the content as by the contacts made.

And fortunately for us, the bagels and coffee did arrive in time, and the content of the workshop also turned out to be great! Kudos to Nathan Jones and NetSquared Chicago for securing the expertise of Mana Ionescu from Lightspan Digital. Mana gave a great presentation on “The Ten Commandments of Social Media” which according to our count actually had at least fourteen specific great ideas for creating and executing a content marketing strategy via social media. While an expert across many fields, she shared best practices geared towards nonprofits that are equally applicable to all organizations.

In the midst of all of the technical focus on Twitter, Reddit, Hootsuite, and SocialBro, the thing she most emphasized was the age-old chestnut of being able to tell a compelling story. It took a workshop on the very modern phenomena of online social media to be reminded that “everything old is new again” and that social impact organizations in particular have a wealth of powerful narratives waiting to be shared.

After the presentation, we divided into two groups for our workshop/breakout session. As participants shared their specific challenges, the groups quickly chimed in with questions, feedback, and a new perspective on solving our common challenges. Again, with more in common than not, solving for one was solving for all.

Clearly, “social media” is an expansive topic that extends beyond one workshop. We invite you to view the event recap and photos.

Our next workshop is entitled “Social Media for Social Impact: Fundraising and Customer Relationship Management “. We encourage you to attend! In fact, why not plan to attend all four of the remaining ones? Here is a link to the flyer and registration: Social Media for Social Impact: Fundraising and Customer Relationship Management

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Stuart Barnes Jamieson is the Leadership Development Specialist for Become, Inc. and available for leadership coaching and faith community consulting. He has worked for 14 years with Habitat for Humanity International as Affiliate Support Manager for Illinois, and as Organizational Development Consultant with the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity program. Stuart is an ordained Presbyterian pastor with a Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University in Chicago.

Nathan Lee Jones, MBA is a social entrepreneur and business strategist. Working across a variety of industries, Nathan specializes in technology, education, digital marketing, and arts. He recently relocated to Chicago and is now the Community Organizer for NetSquared Chicago, an international organization that unites the technology and social impact communities. Please visit www.nathanleejones.com for additional details and contact information.

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