Does your club make effective use of social media?
Social media has revolutionized the way we connect with our friends, family and acquaintances in our network. Through their pictures and online posts, we can tap into their likes and dislikes, which effectively can have an impact on you. It has become a portal of advocacy – a way to get the word out, and often, we even see viral trends.
It isn’t as simple as just having a presence however. So, how can you effectively use social media for your club? First of all, it’s important to understand that platforms like Facebook and Twitter cannot replace your website, they exist to support it. Secondly, you have to take it seriously, define your strategy, and break it down into executable steps.
Define your goal
Before anything else, we need to define the goal for having a social media presence. What are you trying to accomplish through it? Who will your audience be? What captures their attention? It’s important to figure out the purpose of having a social account (example: attracting younger members) so that you can create a plan.
Put a team together
Companies today have social media teams that look after their online presence, so why wouldn’t your club? Sometimes, posting the stories from your website only won’t yield the results you’re looking for and a team can help curate the content. Have each member own their responsibilities.
For example, one member can be in charge of just taking photos of club meetings and activities, while another can be in charge of coming up with appealing headlines to post online which intrigues readers to click on the link. Other responsibilities can include growing your audience by liking other similar pages on Facebook and following other clubs on Twitter encouraging them to follow you back.
Now, that you have a team and a goal, how do you make sure your posts are seen by the most number of people?
Hashtags and mentions
Use hashtags to categorize your post to make it easier to find by people interested in the topic you’ve written about. Examples of popular hashtags in the Rotary world include #Rotary, #EndPolioNow, #Fundraising, etc. Hashtags turn into a link which when clicked on show you all the other posts associated with it. It becomes a way to build excitement and momentum.
Listen and share
Social media platforms are portals of advocacy. There are conversations that you can tap into about virtually any topic. In fact, just clicking on a hashtag lets you dive into conversations. Knowing what others are saying and are interested in is a great way to to piggy back on the impact these conversations have.
You can have a member in charge of simply scouring the internet for interesting and relevant stories to share with your audience that support your end goal. For example, lets say your club is holding a membership drive. A social committee member could look for and share a post from Rotary International about the top reasons why you should consider joining Rotary and link that back to your website. By sharing relevant and interesting data from multiple trustworthy sources, you encourage people to learn more about your initiatives.
Pictures & Videos
When you’re scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, how often do you stop to view videos and pictures? People react to engaging content and pictures and videos give insight into how active your organization is. So share pictures of your members, club meetings and more. Link back to your website so people can read the story behind the photos and learn more about how they can be part of it too.
Frequency of posts
Make it a habit to post regularly. Share your club success stories, what your club is working on next, Rotary related content and more, and make sure you post frequently. At a minimum, we recommend at least once a week so that your social platforms look current. Because there are so many posts on our newsfeeds, don’t be afraid to repost the same posts (worded slightly differently every time) and encourage people to like, share or retweet them to have your message reach a wider audience. Seeing the message several times as opposed to once results in a higher probability that your audience will engage with your content.
Pin and promote your posts
Think about setting a small budget aside for social media promotions; it could be as little as $5. The truth about social platforms is that your updates are bound to get lost in the sea of posts in everyone’s newsfeeds. Additionally, the more you post, the less likely people will be able to find older updates you had added.
Imagine your club is holding a membership drive which you tweeted about or added as a post on Facebook. Later that week, you added some other updates about your recent fundraising campaign, a few pictures of your meetings or shared some interesting content from other sources. Needless to say, your message about your membership drive has been buried making it difficult to find now, which means if a potential member can’t find this information anymore, they’ll simply lose interest.
Pin your most important posts right on top of your newsfeed, so it’s the first thing visitors see when they land on your social feed. But, to reach a wider network of people that are not necessarily going to your fan page, consider promoting your posts. In other words, go to where your audience is. With the sponsored feature, you can create a targeted custom audience who will frequently see your post in their newsfeed until your budget has depleted. The advantage? Prime real estate space on the newsfeed of those that you want to target, such as prospective members.
Social media is a powerful tool but it’s not something that can replace your website. But it can help spread your messages to a larger audience in a limited amount of characters, driving traffic back to your website. That’s why we always say the two should work together. If you’re promoting a story on social media, make sure that story is front and center on your website too. When your social and website team work together, you are bound to see a boost in your public relations efforts.
How to cultivate a powerful social media presence
Social media is a powerful tool in telling Rotary’s very positive message.
Social media has become increasingly important for Rotarians and the organization because it allows us to interact and learn from one another. Social media also has been a great way for Rotarians to be made aware of the work of other Rotarians around the world.
What are three important things to maintaining engagement with followers?
The most important thing for engagement is to listen and respond. I understand that sometimes people don’t like every policy about Rotary, and they say so. That’s OK. We listen to what they say and respect how they feel and think. And it’s important to always, always be honest with people. On social media, it’s better to be authentic and not quite perfect than smoothly polished around the edges but not really saying anything of value. Your integrity and the care and concern you have for your members/customers is critical.
Social media helps us to tell great Rotary Story’s and share them around the world!
Rotary International: www.facebook.com/rotary
Super District 6400: www.facebook.com/groups/4920043910/
Rotary International: twitter.com/rotary
Rotary International: www.linkedin.com/groups/858557/profile