With no advance notice, Encore.org recently announced it had closed its LinkedIn group and moved to Facebook. From a social media management standpoint, this plan seemed very odd to me – Encore.org is about, as its website says, “Purpose and passion in your second career” and “A nonprofit organization that promotes second acts for the greater good.” So why wouldn’t stay it on the social media channel for professional interests?
Here’s another reason this move made no sense from a management standpoint. I am interested in the topic but not active or engaged in the group. Under Facebook’s latest algorithms someone may “Like” something on Facebook, but if they don’t engage with the topic the info which the group provides may not land in their timeline – not a problem on LinkedIn. Ironically for me as a lurker, if Encore.org had been on Facebook and made an announcement that they were leaving it for another social media channel, that announcement would probably not have reached me. A social media manager should be well aware of the ever-changing algorithms, particularly on Facebook.
This is speculation on my part, but Aanchal Dhar, the Marketing and Communications Associate at Encore.org who announced the LinkedIn closure, looks from her photograph like a Millennial, although the group is aimed at Boomers. Perhaps this is a case of, as HR folks say, a bad fit. Speculating further about Ms. Dhar, she may have wanted to use the channel she was most familiar with rather than the channel that made the most sense considering the purpose of the group.
The LinkedIn group members who commented on the closure announcement were not happy, since they consider Facebook a group to stay in touch with friends and family, not for professional or work-related matters. Some clearly stated they weren’t on Facebook and wouldn’t be any time soon.
Group members were willing to start a new group on LinkedIn with a similar purpose. Clearly these members were engaged with the content offered by Encore.org and with other members of the group.
Members of the LinkedIn group quickly printed the email addresses of Marci Alboher , Vice President at Encore.org, and Jim Emerman, Executive Vice President at Civic Ventures, Encore’s parent organization, so that everyone in the group could contact them to express dissatisfaction with the plan, and it was reported that Encore was rethinking its plan.
A later announcement from Ms. Alboher included an odd paragraph:
Your feedback has helped us to recognize that LinkedIn is the appropriate social media venue for what we set out to do and that Encore.org is the natural entity to lead this group. Our reference to Facebook was not meant to suggest it as a substitute for LinkedIn but rather as a way to keep up with news related to the encore movement.
Except the original announcement stated that the LinkedIn group was closed, and Facebook would be the substitute.
Ms. Alboher got down to the real problem:
We created this group as a place for connection around the idea of encore careers – later-life work solving social problems. We think LinkedIn is the appropriate venue for people working in encore careers or considering encore careers – as well as people who are interested in the encore movement (e.g., human-resources professionals, journalists, foundations, academics, etc.) and the broad potential of encore talent to be a force for positive change. While those conversations do take place in the LinkedIn group, over time the discussion shifted focus to general issues around mid-and late- career job-searching and career transitions, including a large amount of off-topic sharing and self-promotion that’s been challenging to moderate. (my italics).
Alboher promised that “[g]oing forward, we will be moderating this group more energetically to keep it aligned with our mission.”
Thanks to the engaged members of the LinkedIn group for showing Encore.org the error or its ways and saving the group.