Social media evangelist here.

#9 in my series of Lessons Learned blog posts
People don’t understand the power of social media but it’s our job to (patiently) help them see why.

Without miracles, evangelizing about the power and benefits of social media within your organization is a long-term obligation that requires patience. (Although possession of a burning bush to influence the skeptics and non-believers is an appealing daydream.)

At the risk of taking the evangelist analogy too far, I respectfully suggest that 1) A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house and 2) parables increased understanding.

Do I have your attention now?

I have offered presentations about social media at three national conferences and I’ve been interviewed by writers for CASE Currents about the William & Mary Mascot Search. It’s easy to make the case: I set up the business problem, talk about the strategy, mention integration of channels, and ultimately lead the audience or interviewer through a case study that includes results tied to the use of social media channels.  At meetings on campus (…in my “own country”), it’s not so easy. I’m not operating as an outside expert speaking to an intentional audience and I’m often attempting to convince individuals who have never used any social media tools. Regardless, my shtick continues with patience and a measure of passion.

You’ve probably guessed that the parables are the stories I can tell as concrete examples. Just charts and graphics about interactions and impressions during homecoming weekend aren’t enough. To support the stats, I speak about the early decision student who posts, “I’ll be in the parade next time!” on the William & Mary Facebook page, or the alumna who retweets our link adding her own endorsement of a great game photo.

Evangelism is a lot like repetitive communication of messages, right?

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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