Facebook Engagement – A Lesson from Detroit Symphony Orchestra

17/03/2011 at 09:34 Leave a comment


In negotiations with their orchestra members, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Facebook page has taken on a life of its own. Fans are leaving their opinions and comments about the administration and the negotiations. A “Save our Symphony” campaign has started.  What can we learn from this?

  • Facebook is a tool for engagement.
  • Facebook offers your fans a voice – decide AHEAD of time how you are going to engage with your fans. This is why we always recommend Social Media Guidelines!
  • Calling your fans out is not useful to the conversation. At some point DSO asked if those leaving comments support the DSO financially, which only fueled more anger.
  • Ignoring posts for a while and continuing on with your normal Facebook postings also tends to ignite more not less passion.
  • Facebook and all social media run 24/7. If you have a burning issue, sitting around a table trying to decide how to or if you will respond takes too long. See Social Media Guidelines above.

The DSO Facebook challenge has gone more than viral, it has been reported by NPR and other media channels, picked up on Twitter and obviously on Facebook. This could be any nonprofit ‘s challenge.

At any conference where they are talking about social media, we talk about preparation, strategy, goals, and establishing guidelines for the use of social media. Even without a DSO type issue, you can find your nonprofit in the cross-hairs of some issue, real or manufactured. BE PREPARED. And for those who still have their heads in the sand saying, “We don’t need to be worried about social media.” I am worried for you.

Many an expert has left their suggestions for the DSO. From ignoring a small group of Facebook commenters to wait till it all blows over. As I said in the beginning – Facebook is an engagement tool. We cannot decide to ENGAGE when it suits US or only when we control the message – because with social media you don’t have control – you have ENGAGEMENT. Reach out, personally and online – continue the dialogue, invite the commentary, be clear you are listening and hearing their comments and be even clearer about what you will do with them and what your position is. Sometimes, when a appropriate, a mea culpa goes a long way.

What are your thoughts?

Entry filed under: A Better You, nonprofit social media, Resources You Can Use!, Social Media. Tags: , , , , .

AFP International Fundraising Conference 2011-Tuesday Picks Visiting Chicago for the AFP International Fundraising Conference?

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