June 26, 2012

How to Encourage a Knowledge Sharing Culture

Social media cannot thrive in silos. What is happening online affects the entire organization, not just the marketing department, or the development team, or top management. And while social media use has penetrated the nonprofit sector in a meaningful way, reports and activities are usually not shared throughout the organization. The result is a lack of organizational buy-in, misunderstanding of the benefit of digital engagement, missed opportunities, and role confusion.

Instead of siloing information, turn it around. Knowledge sharing results in stronger organizations that have a broader knowledge base about its online stakeholders and a wide net of useful information to meet organizational goals.

There are six essential pieces of information that should be shared throughout the organization:

  1. Social media metrics
  2. Social media roles and activities
  3. Online mentions of the organization
  4. Online mentions of a specific keyword, phrase, competitor, or conversation topic that is of interest to the organization
  5. Digital campaign activities and results
  6. Online identities, apps, channels, tools, and platforms: what you use to make social media magic.

Make information accessible to all — and acted upon

What is essential is that the information is accessible to all, shared routinely, and acted upon.

Ideas for establishing a knowledge sharing culture:

  1. Establish an online space where all social media metrics are kept and accessible. Consider an online Google doc or spreadsheet, or a Dropbox for social media.
  2. Create a weekly knowledge sharing internal newsletter or email: Keep to high-level information gathered from online activities, and demonstrate the value of social media engagement.
  3. A daily or weekly online mentions report. Summarize important online mentions so that every member of the organization may act upon the information.
  4. Create an internal Delicious or Evernote account to bookmark articles, and mentions. The National Wildlife Federation pulls important and relevant mentions into the social bookmarking site Delicious. They copy any exact quote/mention within an article into the “notes” section of Delicious, and then tag it with a predetermined private tag for other National Wildlife Federation staff to read.
  5. Integrate social media reports into weekly or regular organizational staff meetings.

It’s also important to establish an knowledge sharing feedback loop to determine what team members want to know, if the information is useful, and how it can best add value to the work of the organization. Invite others to contribute to the online mentions report, or the internal reporting. Ask for feedback by email, or establish a short survey to find out the value of the knowledge sharing activities. Ask for feedback and questions in every report. Encourage a knowledge sharing culture!

Knowledge sharing adds another layer of social media value to the organization, a feedback loop for your social media efforts, an integrated approach to being social. The more knowledge is shared, the stronger your social media return!

This article was originally published at http://www.socialbrite.org/2012/06/11/how-to-encourage-a-knowledge-sharing-culture/ and is reprinted with permission.

Debra Askanase
Debra Askanase is a Social Impact Program Manager at Oracle NetSuite, where she is focused on designing and managing capacity-building initiatives for NetSuite's nonprofit and social enterprise customers. Debra worked in nonprofits in and around the Boston area for over 18 years, and also ran her own digital strategy consulting firm, Community Organizer 2.0. She has a passion for creating a better world through community engagement. When not spending time with her family, she can often be found online @askdebra or throwing clay at her local pottery studio.