Chapter One: Introduction
A few years back my Toastmasters club stopped meeting and took the summer months off. Summer in our part of the world is July and August. We ended June with a healthy twenty members, however when September rolled around and we started up again, we only had six members return.
As the club President this caught me by surprize. I had to quickly put measures in place to bring us up to charter strength of twenty members. One of those measures was to look at our club as a business and what we would have to do to make our club a successful “business.”
I hate not knowing how to do something. Even more … I hate knowing that somebody else can do something that I can’t do.
In over 21 years with Toastmasters, presenting and listening to countless number of speeches, I have become an expert in many subjects that I knew absolutely nothing about. A funny thing happens when you research subjects that you are interested in but don’t know that much about, you very quickly begin to know more about the subject than others do.
William Feathers back in the 1790s is often quoted as saying “knowledge is power!” I often state publicly that I don’t agree with him. Knowledge is only power when you do something with it.
Social media is here to stay. At least until the next “big thing” comes along and replaces it. It has added a new dimension to social interaction. Whether it is for the better or worse would be the subject of an interesting debate. While many people use it to stay in touch with the daily activities of their family members whether they be local or afar, it has been embraced by the business world. Promotion and marketing is essential to the success of a business.
I believe that Toastmasters clubs should be run like businesses and social media platforms provide promotional and marketing opportunities that can help spread the word about one of the world’s best kept secrets.
This manual passes the power of knowledge on to you that I have collected over the past few years on the subject of marketing and promotion using social media. I have multiple profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Slideshare, Meetup and Google+ that I use for promotional purposes. Sometimes it has worked … sometimes not.
Besides my own personal profile on Facebook where I am somewhat conservative, I have five or more Facebook (fan) pages that I have created for marketing purposes. Each is based upon a specific theme and the content posted is related to the topic. I have also posted to hundreds of Facebook pages across North America. In addition, I have 10 or so Twitter profiles that I utilize for promotional purposes, once again, each with a specific purpose.
In case you are wondering … yes, it does take up a lot of my time.
Over my two decades in Toastmasters I have seen the evolution of how Toastmasters clubs promote themselves for the purpose of growing their clubs i.e. enticing new members to join.
During those years in my own leadership journey I’ve had the opportunity to organize and provide club officer training for all of the roles both at a local level as well as on-line as part of District 21’s remote club officer training.
When conducting the training for the Club Vice President of Public Relations I divided promotional methods into categories of Traditional and New Strategies.
The club VP Public Relations should be the main person tasked with overseeing the club’s social media initiatives and on-line presence. Promoting the club and increasing its membership falls into their duties as a club officer supporting the mission of the club, however …
You can’t do it alone, recruit some assistance.
- Utilize the talent in your club. Create a Public Relations team.
- If you aren’t experienced with using Facebook, recruit someone who is. (you will learn a new skill)
- Recruit another member as an Administrator for the Facebook page (you can have several)
Consider completing a project in the Competent Leader manual project or perhaps a High Performance Leadership project (HPL) while serving as VP Public Relations.
For a “big picture” view of how Toastmasters International is embracing the marketing of the Toastmasters brand I would suggest reading Strategic Plan 2015 Future Envisioned, by Toastmasters International.
View the Table of Contents to see what other content is covered.