Clearly, everyone on HUG has already made an excellent choice already!
So, for your peers at other associations who are looking into social networking, here is an article from our COO and Social Strategist, Andy Steggles.
Reposted from MemberPoint
10 Tips For Choosing A Social Networking Platform
In an ever-deepening sea of networking platforms, picking the best one for your association isn’t always easy.
According to Andy Steggles begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, the former chief information officer of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, a recent onslaught of social networking platforms have emerged targeting the nonprofit market.
“Every association is different,” Steggles said. “There’s no one right answer. But there are some key issues you should study before making a decision.”
Here’s a quick wrap-up of few things Steggles says are important to consider when picking a platform.
1. Security. If you intend to have any kind of “members only” content on your website, you’ll want to look at how well a platform can handle permissions and groups.
2. AMS exclusivity. Some vendors are creating exclusive deals with AMS vendors, which means you won’t be able to take the platform with you if and when you ever move away from that AMS.
3. Know your vendor. Two critical questions for any social platform vendor: What is your experience in the nonprofit space? And what percentage of your business deals with associations and the social web?
4. Pricing. “Per user” and “per community” pricing models can be risky for associations. Steggles prefers the “size of organization” model, which attaches the platform cost to membership size or annual revenue. Just be clear about how the vendor is measuring size.
5. CMS issues. Your platform should provide web services (tools that connect the social platform to your main website) for the most common requests you’ll make.
6. Component and chapter strategy. Many components will want their own social network, so why not give it to them?
7.Cloud computing. It’s a common misconception that buying software means installing and running it locally. If the vendor offers “Software as a Service,” that’s an indication that their product uses a decentralized or “cloud” system, which can offer significant cost savings.
8. Internationalization. Internationalizing your website isn’t just a matter of handling multiple languages.
9. Event management. A key consideration for RIMS’s platform was enabling chapters to create and manage events in a common calendar and allowing for online registration and event management. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll only want a monthly meeting registration.
10. Advanced functionality. Friending and group creation are old hat after a while. Ask your providers to tell you the most creative things their customers have done with their software—it will give you an idea of the software’s flexibility and extensibility.
Source: ASAE Center, February 2010