Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) is a professional community whose mission is to provide information and guidance about the organizational implications of social media. Going beyond marketing, sales, public relations and customer service, we focus on how social media will impact employees and organizational functioning, as well as general social and economic trends. Our focus also extends beyond the business-to-consumer orientation that dominates discussions in other forums.
A multi-disciplinary group, SMinOrgs functions as a global, virtual community complemented by a local/regional focus. Membership in SMinOrgs is currently free, and people can join on a variety of platforms.
SMinOrgs was founded by Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD, in May 2009. It began as a LinkedIn group called “Social Media in HR” and its original intent was to address the impact of social media on the HR function. The focus quickly evolved to the role HR would play in an organization’s social media initiatives, and the name changed accordingly, to “Social Media and HR.” By the end of 2009, after expanding to multiple platforms and recognizing the importance of addressing social media’s impact beyond human capital management, the name was changed to “Social Media in Organizations.” In addition to HR issues, the group focuses on topics such as internal communication, knowledge management (i.e., enterprise 2.0), legal/policy concerns, leadership and strategy.
Through most of its early history, SMinOrgs emphasized the INTRA-organizational implications and applications of social media, primarily to differentiate itself from the multitude of individuals and groups focusing on the EXTERNAL applications of social media (e.g., marketing, branding, sales, PR, customer service). As discussed in Part 2 of the Social Media Primer, these external applications are just the tip of the iceberg, and will ultimately be dwarfed by internally-focused issues. SMinOrgs is the only venue, to our knowledge, that emphasizes these aspects.
Over time, distinguishing between the internal and external applications and implications of social media will be irrelevant because the tools and technologies will be so interwoven into organizational operations. Therefore, although SMinOrgs still focuses primarily on topics not being covered in other venues (e.g., Mashable.com, Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner), we no longer emphasize the intra-organizational aspects exclusively.
WHERE TO FIND AND JOIN SMINORGS
Because the SMinOrgs Community began as a LinkedIn group, that is the most well developed platform with the highest membership. But we are growing and expanding daily. You can find and join SMinOrgs on:
You can also stay current with the SMinOrgs Community by:
- Joining our mailing list (see sign-up box in the right-hand column)
- Subscribing to the S.M.A.R.T. Blog
- Following the SMinOrgs LinkedIn company page
- Connecting with and/or following Courtney Hunt on LinkedIn
People connect and engage with digital communities on different platforms, depending on their goals and personal preferences. In the SMinOrgs Community, for example, many folks only follow us on Twitter or are only members of the LinkedIn group. To reach everyone, we share many of the same items through multiple channels; however, we use different schedules for the platforms to minimize the feeling of repetition and increase the chances folks will find items of interest in one of the flows. For example, someone may miss an item in Twitter but notice it in their Facebook news feed.
Being sure you don't miss relevant news and resources is one of three good reasons to engage with the SMinOrgs Community on multiple platforms. Although it may seem overwhelming from time and information management perspectives, doing so can be beneficial because each platform has:
- A unique combination of members and offers unique opportunities to meet like-minded folks and expand your networks
- Its own dialogue, with comments shared by other members often as informative as the news item itself
In true 2.0 spirit, we encourage everyone to actively engage in discussions on the various platforms - but it's okay to be a "lurker" too. If there's a platform not currently listed that you think the Community should have a presence on, or if you have any other suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACT
There are now over 16,000 people engaged with SMinOrgs via its email list and social media sites. As of late December 2012, the numbers break down roughly as follows (note: many people are engaged across multiple platforms):
Although SMinOrgs has not gone "viral," its organic growth over the past year has been steady, and the Community continues to grow daily. When factoring in visitors who have not yet become members of the SMinOrgs Community, SMinOrgs’s reach is even greater than the numbers above indicate. Visits to the website average over 3000/month, primarily driven by traffic flows following the publication and dissemination of original content.
As of February 2013, SMinOrgs has received a grade of 86 using Hubspot’s marketing grader tool.
We are currently compiling demographic data from members of the LinkedIn group. Though this group may not be perfectly representative of the entire Community, it does reflect the diversity of the Community on a number of dimensions (e.g., functional area, geographic region, organization type, position). We will share those demographics when they are ready.