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

Monday, 20 April 2015

8 'Ps' Your Service Club Needs to Know for Social Media Success!

Social Media can take your Rotary Club to the world.

"Forget Social Media. It’s just a passing fad!"

The next time someone at your club says that, ask them to take an Aspirin, Tylenol or Advil (fairness to all). Then suggest that they lay down and rest until the feeling passes!

Social Media has brought about the greatest revolution in the gathering and sharing of human knowledge, opinions and observations since the invention of Gutenberg Press.

In my last post, I answered the basic question Is it Time to Launch a Social Media Program. The answer was a resounding YES! 

However, and you knew there would be one, Rotary Clubs must approach social media in the same way a business or public institution does. Develop a plan! While there is a huge upside, there are also risks. Think about this. 

If you don’t want to see it, read it or hear it in mainstream or social media, don’t say it, show it, refer to it, or upload a picture of it to Facebook or a video to YouTube." RT Braley, Media Coach

Whenever I give a keynote or a half day seminar about communicating through the media, an athlete, politician, or business leader will have said or done something that provides a fresh example of why the rule above is so important. That is why media performance coaching is key.   

8 “Ps” for Social Media Sucess

Social media success depends on providing quality content. Content must be; 
  • Authentic
  • Relevant
  • Meaningful
  • Provide value. 

You must find a voice and be authentic. I came up with a list that I call the 8 “Ps” for social media success that will guide you through the planning process.  

  • Purpose 
  • Policy 
  • Planning 
  • Photography
  • Platform 
  • Protocol 
  • Production
  • Perspective

It's Awesome When it Works

The Calgary West Rotary Club operates an annual fund raiser built around selling strawberry shortcakes for Valentine’s Day. The program has become an annual event as businesses purchase cakes to give to their staff and clients. The strawberry shortcakes are a great promotional product. 

Many plan staff breaks around the promised delivery time. The club makes, assembles, and delivers them free of charge to the designated recipients. 

In 2007 Calgary West won the Rotary International Public Relations top award due to a marketing campaign that helped sell 7,300 cakes. It took four years to develop logistics, management and marketing programs to accomplish that number of sales.

The Marketing Side

Brent Barootes, a fellow Rotarian, is a national sponsorship expert, keynote speaker and author. During those four years Brent and I worked together to develop a strategic marketing program. Each year we would add a new element. The integrated plan included:
  1. Online marketing
  2. Sponsorship
  3. Traditional media 
  4. Network marketing
As I was the marketing lead, an influential Rotarian approached me with the message that we weren't going to use emails for the coming campaign. He didn't believe in them and thought they were a nuisance.

We skated around that awkward directive. Emails played a key role in our strategy. Eliminating them wasn't going to happen. 
Email was a key social media platform. We built an event website and then designed a branded enews template that members could insert into their lists and blast them into their business or personal networks. Several links were embedded to take recipients back to the Strawberry Shortcakes website for more information.

Rotary touches People

One outcome was notable. Past District 5360 Governor Mike French was an investment manager. Many of his clients wintered in warm places like Florida, Mexico or Arizona. When Mike sent out his email, a client responded with a commitment to purchase 100+ cakes. The only proviso was that they had to be delivered to a subsidized senior’s care facility.

We not only made that happen, but the story was so unique that three TV stations sent reporters to cover the distribution. The seniors would not have had their lives brightened by a sweet treat were it not for emails – an early form of social media that is still very much present.

Launching an "outward bound" enews is an easy place for clubs to start a targeted social media platform. I provided tips in Harnessing The Power of eNews

Who Will it Be? 

Before launching the planning portion of your social media program, determine who your lead person will be. Assigning the task to the youngest member of the club or your exchange student isn't necessarily the way to go. Here is a typical social media job description.
  1. A creative - someone who is good at telling stories with text and photos
  2. Disciplined - someone who will to stick with it over the long haul. Discipline is the real secret of social media success. 
  3. Organized - a person who can put pieces together to make a whole; in other words, plan an editorial calendar.
  4. Content curator - in mainstream media, we call this person an assignment editor. As the program and number of platforms increase, the lead person will need to give writing and photo assignments to various club members. 
  5. Learner - the learning never stops. It's the nature of the beast! 

A Cautionary Tale

Social media success requires patience and time. While there are management systems like HootSuite, Buffer or other platorm, social media has a ravenous appetite for quality content. It is not a casual activity to be added to other club assignments.

Please don't think social media will only be a new place to promote your meetings or fund raising for your current project. To build an audience requires relevance, value and quality content. While forums like Twitter or Facebook can become an ideal promotion tool, that won't happen unless you have developed an authentic voice that will be listened to. 


Doing social media just because it seems to be the thing to do is not good enough. Write down your purpose. Describe the goals you want to achieve.
  • To raise awareness in our community
  • To promote club events
  • To connect with mellenials – future club members
  • To connect with Rotarians and others around the world


This is a big one. Policy brings accountability to your program. Rotarians who work in education, healthcare or government are guaranteed to have access to their organizations social media policy guides. They will provide a model. 

Businesses should but often don’t have a policy. Don't go overboard, but set some parameters that you can add to as the program grows. 
  • Who will be the social media manager?
  • What will the tone of your messaging be?
  • What will your voice be?  
  • What will be the process for submitting club content?
  • What content will be absolutely forbidden?
The last one shouldn't be necessary for Rotarians, but I have had bloggers follow me on my Building the Rotary Brand Twitter account that provide a reason why the last point must be included. 


Social media takes a lot of work. Building quality followers, friends and connections takes dedication and commitment. However, there are excellent ways to bring order to your program.

  • Google a social media editorial calendar to help you plan the year
  • Curate content. Identify key Rotarians  who can contribute quality content on a regular basis. Teach them about what you need.
  • Identify leadership, family, education, community or other content that would be relevant to prospective members and the community at large.    
  • Ask speakers for their slide shows if they are relevant and meet quality standards. Upload them to Slideshare and Tweet or Facebook the link. 
  • Tweet or Facebook one key slide with an impact image or statement.
  • Record  a 2 minute audio or video interview with speakers, project chairs, students, project recipients or others. More to come in future posts.


This is a big one with me. Rotary photographs often lack imagination and story. And we have such great stories to tell.

Fifteen smiling Rotarians lined up shoulder to shoulder in front of a school they have just built in a remote African jungle is only interesting to the people who know who and where they are. A shot of a teacher helping a child on the first day of school would bring tears.

Stories that move people are those about Rotarians interacting with local people whose lives have been changed forever because of what was done to and for them. 


What platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pintrest, A Blog, Flickr, Slideshare, Soundcloud – or hundreds of others will you choose? I recommend starting with one and then mastering it. It all starts with your goals. More to come in future posts. 


Each platform has protocols that need to be adhered to in order to be accepted in that community. Know what they are. Hint! Don't ask a grammar freak to do twitter. Learning how to shorten words like ''UR' for your or 'gr8' for great in order to stay under 140 characters will send cause them to crumble into a whimpering ball. 


Once you have developed an archive of quality content – text, photos, graphics and more, develop a production strategy. Using a management system like HooteSuite, Buffer, Sprout of various others will help you schedule and broadcast your content.


Remember, social media is worldwide. What story can you tell that will help a club in the UK, USA, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, India, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, France or anywhere else where Rotary has clubs. What difference can a leadership or inspirational tweet make in someone's life wherever they may live?

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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