social media engagement relationshipsYesterday we spent a couple of hours consulting with a local non-profit client, Sylvia Thomas Center.  They support adoptive and foster families. Simply put their mission is to keep families together.  Many think adoption and foster placement is “happy go lucky”.   Integrating families is not easy.  It is particularly hard for the children as being placed in a different home with people they don't know can cause much stress. Often times Foster kids can end up being left alone, sold for human trafficking and worse. Therefore, proactive care to keep them safe is of most importance.

From the minute we walked in their front office door I could feel the postive intensity.  It was a calm energy.  Their Executive Director, Denise Jamieson greeted us with a warm smile and firm handshake.  Their team of six was ready and waiting for us with creative and technical brains ready to rock out with our team in an intense two hour social media planning workshop.   There was no time wasted. Our seats were ready. We sat down took out our note pad and we kicked off within seconds almost.

Wow, what we were able to accomplish with this team in two hours was more than what I've seen some large clients accomplish in months.  By the end of two hours we had key audiences nailed, objectives set and a game plan for phase I. They had pages of notes and their ring leader Mindy even had her head around what Twitter could do for their efforts.

As we said our goodbyes we all were hugging not shaking hands. Almost all had tears in their eyes. We knew it was not by chance we had been put together. There were synergies of our lives with theirs, other non-profits we are working with streamed throughout each and every person, our churches and our lives.  What a blessing that we can help such amazing people and organization as our day job.  We left feeling blessed, simply blessed.

So what was the difference? Were they more technical savvy? Did they have more resources? Were they smarter? Were they younger? Older? Faster? Shorter? Tall?

No, no and no!

The only difference was mindset.  There were ready to engage! They were ready to get in the game.  They knew they had much to learn.  However, they were putting full body, hands, head and heart into the game.  They didn't hardly know how to spell Twitter (joking) before we walked in but that didn't stop them.

They knew the power of social media and what it could do for their business. They knew if they didn't jump in they would be left behind. To them, this was the Plan A with no Plan B of quitting.

They were ready to engage in a big way.  Not just in social media. Not just in business. They were ready to engage in LIFE!

As we talked thru the strategy we discussed several of their personal approaches to social media thus far. We discussed their communities they are involved in, what influence they have offline that they can leverage immediately to bring online.  It was obvious they are already engaged in life. Bringing their communities online will be easy for them.  Why? Because they are authentic. They are real. They are engaged.  They are ready to give!

They had originally wanted to discuss fundraising strategies.  However, as we walked them thru the development of a turbo speed social media plan they quickly understood the power of community.  They knew why we must first focus on building the community (quickly). It is a lot easier to ask for help from a community in regard to fundraising after they are already part of your community.  They saw the value and agreed the fundraising tactics would come second as they will be more successful built on a strong base of community, communications and a social networking foundation built on best practices.

So I want to ask you… are you putting your entire self into life? Are you leveraging social media to only grow dollar trees? Or are you integrating social media into the DNA of who you are and your life? Engaging in life makes it much easier to engage online.  The thing I think most forget is you are who you are.  If you are engaged in life off of Facebook and Twitter chances are you have more to tweet about. You probably have more friends who will be happy to join your online community.  Most importantly you probably have authentic, real relationships that you can now take online.

I encourage you not to look at social media as a band-aid to fix your business.  Instead look at social media as an extension of you. A medium for you to share life with others.  Social media is what you make it. You get out what you put in.  What are you giving? How are you living it?

Check out Sylvia Thomas Center on Facebook.  We'll be helping them over the coming weeks spice up their online social presence. They are already socially savvy inside and out as people.  Now we just need to help them let the social platforms shine as beautifully as they do on the inside.

Sylvia Thomas Center, thank you for engaging with us yesterday. Thank you for blessing our day with the passion for what you can do for others. Truly a gift that our skills and experience can help you do what you do best! Hugs to you all!

Your Turn

Are you putting yourself into your business and social media? Or are you only focusing on the tools, the numbers? Is your team ready to get in the game? If not, what is stopping them? What advice can those of you already rockin' it offer people who need help?