About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Friday, 20 March 2015

Is it Time for Your Rotary Club to Launch a Social Media Program?

Social media unlocks new opportunities for Rotary
Written by Robyn T. Braley

Are you ready? It's not "if" but "when.." This post answers "why!" 

I am often asked the question, “What should our club do about social media? How do we get started? Is it worth the effort?” 
The answer is a resounding YES! 

Social Media has brought about the greatest revolution in gathering human knowledge since the “Gutenberg Press.” In the coming months I will post articles about “how-to” launch and grow particular platforms. But this post answers the question, “Why?”

Three questions must be answered. The assumption is that if you embark on a social media program, you will have some level of success that may result in visitors dropping into your club. Are you ready?

  1. Are your members ready to make internal changes in preparation for growth?
  2. If new members come, will they have a positive first impression?
  3. Does your club accommodate visitors who drop in without a specific invitation? 

Social media provides platforms for achieving a number of goals like;

  • Connecting with a variety of individuals and groups
  • Sharing ideas with potential for wide distribution  
  • Raising awareness of the club, it's mission, and the ideal of Rotary
  • Promoting club activities and special initiatives 

Preparing for Success

I've written three blog posts which provide tips and suggestions for making your club visitor friendly which will lead to growing your club.  
Social media connects Rotary with the world. 

Start with a Healthy Brand

If your club has a healthy brand and your members are marketing focused – meaning outward looking - then it is time to implement a program. Building a successful social media program requires;
A plan to achieve them
Before launching your program, let’s consider the basics. Why should your club bother? There are four key @rotary reasons.

1. The future of Rotary depends on attracting millennials. Their lives are driven by social media.
2. Rotary functions through building relationships. Social media functions through building relationships
3. Social media instantly connects Rotarians with Rotarians located throughout the world   
4. Social media provides a way to mobilize people who care and want to make a difference at home or around the world.

What Platform is Best

Here is the bad news. There are hundreds of social media sites. What may work for one club may not for another. Social media takes hard work and dedication. It is best to have one person writing or editing content in order to develop a voice. 

Having said that, I suggest starting with FaceBook. It provides the most options for content development. 

YouTube is an option if you have someone in the club that likes to shoot and edit video. It ranks highly with search engines. Quality is key here.

Blogs are labor intensive. However, if you have a member who is a dedicated writer, blogging is an option. The caution is that posts should not be overly promotional or opinionated. If they are, readership will drop. 

Flickr or Pintrest are great options for sharing photos. However, for them to
attract a following, photographers must know how to visually tell stories. 100 photos of smiling Rotarians standing in front of a clean water or micro-credit project get old. Real people doing real things are best. 

LinkedIn profiles can be set up for companies or organizations, not just
individuals. This connects your club with a growing network of professionals. Check out;

Twitter is perhaps the least labor intensive. It is a must if you operate other sites as tweets can drive people to those accounts which increases traffic. Users must learn twitter skills and protocols.  

Key principles for a positive social media experience. 

Set goals
Chose a platform that will achieve those goals. 
Create a social media policy
Determine your voice, your persona 
Create quality content that’s relevant and adds value
Much more

Media Convergence - International

When I launched ‘Building the Rotary Brand’ blogsite in 2014, some expected the focus to be on social media. However, as a marketing professional, I have found that media convergence – the intersection of traditional and new media - adds strength and energy to the process of building a strong club brand which drives growth. 

There are all kinds of people using social media who “say” they are experts, but have never actually done what they are promoting. Here are some personal stories.

 (LR) Greg Weadick, Betty Screpnek Pat Killoran, Dr. Bob Scott
In 2014 I led two initiatives that demonstrated the power of media convergence for Rotary. The first was the global campaign profiling the news story ‘Alberta Rotarians Trigger $2.1 million for Polio Eradication.’

The campaign attracted TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine coverage. It was tweeted, facebooked and pinned by individual Rotarians, clubs, districts, parallel organizations and the general public all around the world.

Rotary International got behind the story in  significant way and promoted it through Rotary social media platforms I didn’t know existed. We distributed the story using a news service. YAHOO New(s picked it up adding even more circulation 

Media Convergence – Club Specific

The second event was a political forum staged by my club, Calgary West Rotary. Our goal was to raise awareness after a venue move and to connect with potential members. We also wanted to make a great first impression for visitors.    

We sold out with approximately 45 tickets being sold in the last two days using twitter.  A total of 200 attended including a huge media gallery. We could have attracted many others by moving to a bigger room. 

We tightly produced the event for the purpose of making a great impression. A brochure was produced along with a slick powerpoint designed and programed to provide an overview of our club. We hired a sound production company to manage 7 wireless mics and media feeds.

We dominated mainstream and social media for two days. A TV station, two news radio stations and a newspaper live streamed the event. As we say in Canada, it was a great day for Rotary, eh? 

Two blogs paint a picture of what media convergence can look like for Rotary. There are links to various social media sites the showcase examples.   

Creating a Rotary Media Event: It’s All in the Details

Media is All About Stories and Rotary Has them

Personal stories

Now, let me tell you two personal stories. I am active on a Rotary twitter account along with an account for my company. Both focus on leadership and branding. 

A young women from Los Angeles retweeted one of my Rotary tweets and then followed the Rotary account. On visiting her twitter profile, I discovered she is an actress and media professional. In thanking her for following, I asked if she was a Rotarian thinking that following my marketing tweet would make more sense. It went like this;

Thnx 4 retweeting my tweet. RU a #Rotarian? May want to follow @RobynTBraley Branding & leadership.

Below is what she tweeted. I was humbled and reminded never to assume. It was retweeted about 30 times by Rotarians and others   .

Hi! @rtbraley_rotary my dad & gpa are long time Rotary members & I have volunteered w/ them in the past. #Rotarian by proxy if you will. :)

The previous week the Rotary Club of Parys, South Africa, tweeted a link to one of my blog posts; 

Amazing article about how to produce a #Rotary meeting that attracts younger members buildingtherotarybrand.blogspot.ca/2014/10/11-pro… @rtbraley_rotary @RotaryD9370

Harvard Business Review Says it’s O.K.

The Harvard Business Review surveyed a sample of 2100 businesses and other organizations. They found that 79% currently use at least one social media channel. (Click here for report)  I have condensed list of benefits to 9 that might apply to yourclub.. 

1. Increase awareness of the organisation
2. Increase traffic to your website
3. Create favorable perceptions of the brand
4. Monitor conversations about the organisation
7. Improve insight into what customers care about. 
8. Engage in meaningful conversations with existing and potential customers
9. Introduce new opportunities for growth or service

Robyn Braley is a marketing specialist, keynote speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. Robyn has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. 

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   LinkedIn Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary  Sound Cloud  Flickr

Other Blogs in the Series 

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