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January 11, 2011 
 
 
Social Media Mavens

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Social media manager is the newest position to pop up across organizations. We spoke to two such association and non-profit professionals about their roles.
 
American Speech-Lanugage-Hearing-Association's Maggie McGary
Maggie McGary is the online community and social media manager at the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA). She tells us people are finally starting to realize social media is not a fad, and the skepticism and fear is fading. At ASHA, she's noticed staff across departments starting to see it as a natural part of their communications strategy. In developing her role as a social media manager, she's learned to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is as into it as she is: "Don't shove it down people throats because I dont think that helps anybody." Instead, Maggie will pass on bits of online conversations related to the work of other staff members, so they can understand how social media actually relates to them.
American Speech-Lanugage-Hearing-Association's Maggie McGary
Here's Maggie with ASHA member Barbara Fernandes, whom she met through Twitter. Maggie believes associations are finally getting beyond the "What is Twitter?" phase that they have been stalled in for so long. In the past six months to a year, Maggie has seen an uptick in associations that are getting ready to hire for a social media manager. She regularly receives inquiries about her job description. Another trend she foresees in the coming year is an increase in private social networks. ASHA is looking into one itself, but either way, Maggie says that doesn't mean it will stop using tools like Facebook and Twitter.
GlobalGiving's Alison McQuade
Alison McQuade originally worked in a traditional marketing role when she first joined GlobalGiving, a non-profit that connects donors with community-based projects across the globe. But over the past three years, she has taken over social media full-time to connect people and projects online. With her help, GlobalGiving raised $447K through social media last year. Though that's a small fraction of total giving, Alison tells us the amount is up almost 300% since the previous year. Social media traffic is particularly high when GlobalGiving does one of its "Open Challenges," in which groups compete for a permanent spot on the site by raising at least $4K from 50 unique donors. GlobalGiving also gives a monetary prize to the group with the most Facebook shares to reward those who are super viral but not necessarily the biggest fundraiser.
GlobalGiving's Alison McQuade Alison with National Multicultural Institute's Kelly Reid and City First Homes' Jyothi Ramakrishnan
Here's Alison with National Multicultural Institute's Kelly Reid and City First Homes' Jyothi Ramakrishnan at a Young Nonprofit Professionals happy hour. Alison tells us one of the most important lessons she's learned in developing her social media role is the importance of scalability. "We only work in as many networks as we can be successful in," she says. For organizations that are interested in hiring a full-time social media manager or integrating social media into an existing position, her advice is to get in touch with peers in the social media world. While there's sometimes the impulse to be protective or competitive about their ideas, sharing successful practices provides case studies for others to use.

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Shorty Awards
 
Shorty Awards
And while we're on the topic of social media, we hear nominations are now being accepted for the 3rd annual Shorty Awards (the Oscars of Twitter). People vote via Twitter for their their favorite tweeters in 30 official categories (plus numerous crowd-sourced categories) including charities and cultural institutions. Six finalists will be announced in February, and the winners will be honored in March in NYC. Of course, acceptance speeches can be no longer than 140-characters.
 
Send story ideas to reporter Jessica Sidman, jessica@bisnow.com.
 
 
 
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