Love it our hate it, and I happen to love it, Social Media is a reality of life.
Madam Toastmaster, Mr President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests, as the Clubs present PR person, it is my job to try to get our message out to both Members and the Community at large. Trying to connect to non Toastmasters is a balancing act, as you don’t want to be too pushy, but, you also want and need to look interested. Thankfully, in these socially distanced times we have Social Media platforms available to bring us together, so I used this project as an excuse to enhance our Clubs Social Media presence.
Dublin 18 already had wonderful Facebook, Linkedin and MeetUp pages, I added YouTube and Twitter accounts to enhance our visibility in these spaces. The goal of all of these accounts, together with our main website is to promote our Club and to encourage new members to join.
Some of the benefits of Social Media, for our club, is that it can assist with us gaining new members, as people can follow the clubs accounts and see what we are about and then hopefully, one day, they may decide to join. Social Media is inexpensive which is a real benefit when you are trying to deliver content to an unknown number of potentially interested people and you have a limited budget to do so. It is also instant and goes directly to the people you are interested in, meaning your message should not become out of date or irrelevant by the time it gets to your audience.
The image of a person or organisation on Social Media is created by building a brand, developing your ideals, messaging and increasing your followers. Due to the fact that Toastmasters is a large international organisation that is very particular about the use of its branding assets, like fonts, colours, logos etc, it puts member clubs at a slight disadvantage in a way, as you need to be creative in finding a way of distinguishing your particular club from all other member clubs. This can be achieved by having a well defined voice or personality for your club. In our case, all our online club profiles try to foster the friendly, welcoming, fun approach of all of our members. Our message is, yes, we want to improve our public speaking and leadership skills, but, we want it to enjoy doing it. You are advised to post different things to different accounts, as you don’t want your audience to see the same thing multiple times. For example, you may want to post something a little more professional on LinkedIn and maybe something snappier and more casual on Twitter.
A brand’s social media account’s success or failure can be measured by the number of followers that account may or may not have. Sometimes, it is a practical thing, for example, if our YouTube account reaches 100 Subscribers, we can apply for a personal URL rather than the alphabetti spaghetti one you are initially given. Mostly though, it comes down to the fact that the higher the number of active followers you have, the more likely you are that the sites algorithms will show your account to a wider audience, thereby giving you more exposure, which might translate into more followers and therefor more possible members. If you can share an interest and your expertise, or unique or exclusive content this could also help you to increase your number of followers.
I mentioned active followers earlier, and this is because if a Social Media account has lets say 5000 followers, but, only 5 interact with the account, the algorithm treats that account almost as if it only has 5 followers. Whereas, if another account has 5000 followers of which 3000 interact with that account, that account will be promoted more than the first account I mentioned. This is why Social media accounts need both followers and for those followers to like, share and comment on posts, as it helps boost the account and might get the account in front of new eyes. Another way of boosting an account is for the account to post relevant information on a consistent and regular basis, this is something that I need to improve upon, and I will, but, if anyone has any ideas, or wants to write a post for any of the accounts, just let me know, and I will post it for you with full credit.
This may be hard to believe when you see some of the toxic nonsense that some people engage with on the net, but, you are meant to try and keep things positive and civil, even if you are having a robust debate with someone, it can be done in a mannerly and respectful fashion.
One of the main security considerations of any online profile, is the safety of private information, this is why when you see some screenshots of our Zoom meetings, you will see faces either blurred out, or with images over them, it is also why you will not see all the speeches on our YouTube channel, as I will not share information without the express consent of the person involved.
I will end with an anonymous quote that I think fits this project. “Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.”
Thank you for your time Madam Toastmaster, Mr President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests.