Many clubs rely on face-to-face interactions with their members to keep them engaged and interested. In between these, or where they're not possible, online communication via social media and email is vital to remind your members what you do and who you are, and prove that you're worth being a part of. Here are some golden rules to keep in mind when using any online communication channels.
Plan your timing carefully.
The timing of any online communication is crucial to how effective it will be for your audience. Posting promotional communications around prime time (4-6PM on weekends, and 6-8PM on weekdays, when most people are on their phones) will ensure the maximum amount of people see your posts or email.
If you're posting a follow-up to an event, don't wait until it was 3 weeks ago - post that same day. After an event, people should get a follow up post on their way home - thanking them for attending, summarising the event and sharing any early photographs.
Everyone runs on different schedules, and with many student leaders balancing study, part-time work or internships AND the commitment of a student society, that schedule can get a little messed up. Society things often get left until late at night or at the weekend, as they're volunteer and seem the lowest priority. Forward planning is important where your schedule may not allow you to post at those prime times (Facebook and most mailing platforms let you set a time for a post to go live, or at the very least draft it and have it ready to go). Utilise these tools to maximise the effectiveness of your communication!
Know who you're talking to.
A key part of crafting great messages is knowing who will read them, and what they want to see. As student leaders, you have an inherent advantage - you ARE a student, and probably a member of several other clubs. Think about what you would want to see in a social media post or a club email. Are you bothered about heaps of detail? Do you want to see the same post a million times? Do you want to see pages simply sharing content without adding captions of their own? Probably not. Apply these rules to your own communication plans. You can also get creative! Can you think of a relevant, funny joke or meme to use as a medium to communicate a message? Use it! If you find it entertaining, your peers probably will too.
Always have a purpose in mind.
Every piece of communication that your club or society sends out needs to have a specific purpose. We live in an attention economy, where a simple scroll through social media has hundreds of people and brands alike vying for your attention. Your members don't want to see the same event shared to your wall repeatedly, without anything new that makes it worth engaging with - especially when there are so many other things they could be looking at. Instead of just sharing the event, add something relevant - something as simple as creating a meme about the event or the organisers, running a giveaway (they can be cheap, or even free if you involve a sponsor) or announcing that you are two-thirds sold out. Whatever you post, it must have a unique purpose - otherwise people will have already seen it, and may not engage with that post or future content.
A great way to achieve this is to set a goal, and a way of measuring it - whether it's to encourage people to like and share the post, to click 'Going' on an event, to buy merchandise, or anything else. Facebook and Instagram account analytics, as well as email tracking, are very advanced and accessible these days - use them to measure each post's success. Then, you will be able to see the black and white numbers about which post achieved which outcome, and what you should improve on for next time.
There you have it! Keeping these three rules in mind will hopefully help you to have a stronger external front to your student organisation, attracting more people into your community and boosting your success.