Media Trust Twitter for Charities Event (July 2009)

Yesterday Jacqui and I pootled over to Millbank for a Twitter for Charities event organised by Media Trust and chaired by the voice of common sense, Rachel Beer. If you’re on Twitter and want to follow Media Trust events, search the hashtag #mtevents. It serves for all.

This was an exceptionally good conference for a number of reasons:

  • It was short, sweet and to the point
  • It was focussed on one tool, which made it easier to keep on topic
  • The speakers, Rachel Beer and Daren Forsythe (formerly of the BBC & Media Trust) were excellent
  • Fellow members of the panel, Carly from Elephant Friends and Fliss from Media Trust had great case studies to mention
  • The questions were intelligent and prompted good discussion
  • A member of senior management was there! Joy!

I honestly believe that the next stage is holding conferences not just for the people who are using the tools – surely those should be practical workshops, really – but for those who need to be convinced that their team should be using them. We need to be talking metrics, successes, importance and, yes, pitfalls with the people who have ultimate responsibility for communications, fundraising and marketing.

Anyway, here were some things that came out of the day that I thought were worth mentioning as they are critical to understanding the role of social media and using social tools effectively:

  • You don’t necessarily need a social media policy (though some comms guidelines are fine). You do need an integrated, comprehensive and positive policy for communications, fundraising and marketing.
  • Twitter is not an objective. You use Twitter as a tool among many to meet your objectives.
  • If you’re unclear about your objectives, wait until you know what they are before using the tools.
  • Having a positive statement of what you can do online (perhaps an ‘our voice’ statement instead of a ‘policy’) is much better for all concerned than a negative policy. Rachel here sited Intel’s example of rules of engagement.

All of this, once again, proves that my conviction that social media is another avenue for responsive customer service is well-founded. And I’ll continue to believe that until I have any sort of compelling reason not to.