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Social networking at work

By Mike Klockenbrink

One question that I seem to be asked on a regular basis is: Do you allow your staff to use some type of social networking at work? Yes I do. But how can you manage it, aren’t you afraid they won’t get their work done, what if they say something wrong?

Do I really need to manage it or do I need to have good guidelines in place?

Should I be the one worried that they might not get their work done or should they?

Have I ever said the wrong thing, yes. Sorry.

So what’s the big deal? Most if not all of your staff is doing some type of social networking anyway. They are having conversations all the time. It may be on the phone, in the office with a colleague or on the computer. The key is how we define social networking.

I had an employee place their status update on their network. “I’m tired, don’t want to be at work today.” It just so happens I keep my network on all the time and intercepted this update. Ahhh! A learning opportunity. So I met this individual at their desk and asked them if they’re so tired, would they like to go home.

On the other hand, there was a status update on how excited the senior pastor was about his message the coming weekend and it created a lot of buzz.

These conversations are not controlled or organized; they are much more organic, complex and relational. Social networking is not a strategy; it’s simply a vessel to communicate.

Have you really looked at who’s doing all the talking? If you haven’t, you should. I’ll bet you find your employees, fans, critics, contributors, members and anyone with an opinion is speaking up. The reality is social networking is not going away.

So how can you use it to your advantage? Here are a few ways I believe that you can make the most of it with your team.

  • Have a written policy in place. The do’s, the don’ts and your expectations
  • Be a leader and not just a follower
  • Listen to what people are saying about your church
  • Create excitement for events, campaigns or message series
  • Identify and recruit influencers to spread your message
  • Get your message out fast.
  • Establish a personal relationship between you and those who call your church home.
  • Whatever you do, don’t shout and don’t brag.
  • Be yourself and not some machine.
  • Personalize your brand, give people something they can relate to
  • Be transparent and honest
  • Share your content
  • Be personal and act like a real person
  • Contribute in a positive way
  • See criticism as an opportunity
  • Word of mouth peer-to-peer discussions are more influential than any mass media

Whatever you do, don’t create a network profile, invite all your friends and then never do anything with it. Remember that God wants us to be in relationships. So, would you like to be my friend?

Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA.
[ www.lakesidechurch.com]

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