At the District 57’s Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI), Sean Adams gave an excellent training session “Social Media for VP-PR”. Contact Sean Adams via his website Financial Freedom Funnel, if you’re interested in his marketing expertise. Check out his step-by-step social media training videos (for folks outside District 57, it costs a few dollars), or you can simply go over my notes from his talk ;)
Why promote? If you want to get more new members, you need to get your clubs in front of people’s eyeballs. This is a basic principle in marketing: have seven “touches” between someone and business, and then s/he may be ready to act upon your call to action.
There are two types of PR tools: online and offline.
- Online: MeetUp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Hootsuite (automation tool)
- Offline: word of mouth, local newspapers/radio stations, posters, flyers, local sites (patch.com)
You don’t have to use all these social networks, use what suits you the best. To get started, give Google+ and YouTube a try.
Meetup.com is where the 20s and 30s find social lives now. Once your club meetings are up and running on Meetup, there’s a great chance that young people will find your clubs. The best part is that paying for one Meetup account, you can run up to 3 Meetup Groups at a time. It means you can set up an account for an area, and thus covers 3 clubs. Meetup does charge a fee, see details.
Facebook: set up a club page, invite members and others to “like” the club page, so that they can see new activities from your club. The downside is your club news can get easily buried by all kinds of other info (remember, people post lots of things on Facebook).
Google+ as a social network is a joke, nowhere to compete with Facebook. But, it’s owned by Google. The chance of your club Google+ page showing up in someone’s Google search is bigger.
YouTube, also owned by Google, is a perfect place for Toastmasters clubs. Create a club account on YouTube, record and post member speeches or interesting table topics. It’s a great way to pique people’s interest. Think about it, if you have no idea about Toastmasters, would you be curious about some speech videos? (Yes?) Also, the average speech time is 5-7 minutes, perfect length for keeping people’s attentions.
LinkedIn Groups: creating a LinkedIn group for your club is very helpful if you have a corporate club.
Twitter: If you decide to go with Twitter, then you need to make commitment to consistently update it, so that there’s a higher chance that someone notices it.
Pinterest is like a bulletin board, which takes people to where they can learn more about the events. Post your flyers of events, speakers to get people’s attention.
Ok, before you freak out and get scared by updating so many social network accounts, give Hootstuite a try. It automates the process by bringing social network accounts to one screen, and you can update from there.
Word of mouth is still the single best way of promoting your club offline. Nothing is more effective than that your members talk to others about how Toastmasters help them grow, and invite others to your meetings.
Local newspapers, radio station, etc. are looking for local news all the time. Celebrate your members’ successes by writing/talking about winning a club speech contest, complete speech manuals, or finish an icebreaker.
Press release is another good way to promote what has happened, or what is happening about your club.
Local sites (Patch.com) allows you to post events onto local calendars, and spread it over the Internet.
Quality Promotion Content
Use quality content to promote your club, instead of straight marketing like “Come join us on Wednesdays, our Toastmasters club is great!” For people who have never heard of Toastmasters, they may wonder for a second, what is Toastmasters? Why is it great? And they will be distracted.
Take pictures of your club meeting, or capture a good member speech in video. When you post content to your social networks, upload a good picture or video, write good descriptions that people can digest, for example: “James gave a wonderful speech on how to take care of you dog at our club today. Like this video? We have weekly meetings and we always have great speeches like this! ”
There are all kinds of things to write about, such as celebration successes. Most of us do not celebrate our successes enough. From now on, think about something you can celebrate in your clubs: someone gives his/her first speech (or s/he completes anything for the first time), wins the best table topics, gives a super funny joke, achieves a Toastmasters award.
Publish meaningful content for people to enjoy, sometimes people will just enjoy it, and some of them may come and check out your club!
Once seen, then what?
After people see your online posts, or news from a local newspaper. Then what?
Do not leave people wondering “Looks interesting! I want to check it out, but how?”
Ultimately, you want all your efforts on these online/offline promotions lead to a destination — your club website, your club email or visiting your club.
* For Toastmasters in District 57, check out Sean’s video training at http://tmipr.com/tli.