Starting a chapter of Social Media Club is no small task. You do not say one day, “I would like a Social Media Club chapter in my city,” and—POOF–have an established, working group with 50 paying members. It takes hard work, dedication and heavy publicity—much like any other endeavor.
It also takes teamwork; something that may be the opposite of the social media stereotype for the general public. The public may see social media users as “tech geeks” sitting behind a computer screen in a dark room eating microwave burritos and engaging in “chat rooms” via 1994.
Social Media professionals are anything but introverted, solitary individuals. Sure, we can now communicate more quickly with a text from a smartphone rather than a phone call, but these connections create social responsibilities and opportunities. If anything, social media pros are planners and engagers — making the Social Media Club brand that much more dynamic.
One or two people may found a regional chapter, but it is a team effort that creates truly successful groups. We all have special talents. We are all aware of and engaged in social media, and while that connects us, it is our members’ varied personal interests that make us great. In our Buffalo group, while one person is an expert in computer programming, another person may be better at design. We have great writers and great event planners. We have people that are just good at making connections and encouraging memberships.
As an organizer, one cannot handle all of these tasks on their own. They are just too much. I’m more than happy to have someone else in the group take on the planning of a dynamic event and do it up right, rather than having someone who is overburdened throw something together. As presidents, founders and organizers, we should strive to allow our members to shine and take on leadership roles through the strength of their talents.
A good friend in college taught me a useful lesson as a sophomore, where I was trying to balance being an editor at our school newspaper and a news director at the school’s radio station. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. He said, rather simply, “You can do a half-assed job at a lot of things, or be really great and carry through on one thing.” I made my decision to excel at one thing. This is not to say you shouldn’t have a myriad of interests, but as an organizer, you should be willing to step back and let others handle the reigns as well. Put your focus in one area at a time, while spreading the team tasks around. This makes people feel as they are invested in the organization and important to the group. They begin to see the importance of what they are doing for the Club and find true value in their membership.
For 2011, try your best to help others be their best. You are only as good as the people around you and the people that make up your chapter. Good luck!