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

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Reduce Management Time and Increase Social Media Communities Using Automation

You know your club should do it. But, you've been putting it off for many years. You have a personal Facebook page and know social media can be addictive. Yes Virginia, even a time waster. 

But here you are. You may be a Rotary club President or sit on your club’s board as the PR Director. Or, you may be the youngest member of your club who has been designated the social media person. You’ve been tasked to look into it.

As you think about the time required to launch and manage a social media program for your Club, chills may run down your spine! I'm here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like that.

What You Need to Know

Before going further, let’s ask this question. "Why does my club need social media as part of it's brand program?"  Let me explain it this way.

According to one source, 60% of the buying decision process is completed before a sales rep is ever contacted or a consumer goes into a business to make a purchase. The potential customer – new member, NFP partner, event sponsor – has checked out the product, company or new product online.

My kids never buy anything before thoroughly checking it out. I’ve been with them in stores when they’ve used their phone to compare what they are looking at with a competitor’s product. My son-in-law is a master at comparative shopping.  

"What you say and how you say it – with messaging, photos, videos, podcasts, design - matters. First impressions are everything. First encounters are the first step towards engagement. "

In April, 2015 I wrote, ‘Is Your Rotary Club About to Plunge into Social Media? 8 "Ps"for Success!’ It has become the third most read post in the BTRB series.

I encourage you to read it before continuing on with this story. It will bring perspective and put automation into context.

Using social media to build your club brand only makes sense. After all, it’s free, isn’t it? 

Not so fast! The engine that drives social media is content.
Creating quality content that is relevant and adds value to relationships with existing or potential Rotarians takes careful thought, planning and discipline.

That takes time. Your volunteer time. And your time is not cheap. If you want to do it right, it takes time.

Uber Benefits

It is easy to say that automation will dramatically change how you think about social media. 
  • Automation saves time by cutting management time by more than half
  • Brings consistency and predictability to messaging 
  • Eliminates the need for performing repetitive tasks over, and over, and over and over
  • Forces you to think through how you engage people as you build your community
  • Analytics helps measure audience growth and engagement

Content Creation

In later posts, I will provide tips for developing quality content. If you are new to social media, let me provide a simple example.

Posting content about your club, Rotary International or community partners is an excellent way to keep your social media accounts active. It also helps position your club as an excellent source for useful information.

However, effective social media content is not just a series of messages reminding members of meeting times or who the upcoming speaker will be. I challenge you to think outward. Create content that will provide value to a larger audience. Within that group, there may be potential new members.

Social Media Basics

  • Know
  • Like
  • Trust
  • Engage
Implementing this model is a way to nurture relationships with your social media visitors. They begin getting to know you through your branding and the content they see. 

Over time visitors will begin to like what they see and choose to friend, follow or connect with you. When they receive relevant content into their feeds they begin recognize you as a dependable source for value based content. Some form of engagement will follow.

"The goal is to convert visitors into lifetime members of your social media community. As the relationship develops, they may even consider becoming a Rotarian."

Automation speeds up this process! It takes time to make meaningful contacts and then to build relationships that translate into consistent growth of your social media community. 

How Social Media Automation Works

Automation enables you to strategically broadcast your content without hands-on management. Here is a model.
Imagine you have a fund raising event coming up for a cause that has broad community support. You’ve developed a page on your club’s website dedicated to the event which provides background and up-to-date information about it and why it’s important.

In 2014 I posted, ‘What is an Easy Way to Market Rotary? Harness The Power of eNews.’ It shows how easy it is to develop a meaningful distribution list from data you already have. 

You will find the list of potential enews recipients is very helpful. Be careful to comply with whatever spam law your country has. 

Now promote it using your club's outward focused enews program. By "outward" I mean it should not include “insider” information that your weekly member's only circular has unless it is relevant.  

Write an enews that provides updated on your event and links to your web page. Also link to the website of the organization who’s cause you are supporting.

Use a service like MailChimp or ConstantContact to schedule the circulation at an optimal time. I must confess, on more than one occasion, I have often published a company – and even a BRTB post - at 1:00 am and slept in the next morning while our enews was being circulated automatically early the next morning.

Using your automation service, auto-schedule a number of Club Twitter, Facebook, Pintrest and LinkedIn messages that will promote the event to different audiences. Links to your website will increase traffic.  

Inside Information

Most automation systems provide analytic features that allow you to track engagement and measure the impact of your efforts. If you are easily creeped out, skip the next paragraph.

Your analytics report shows which recipients opened it, who clicked through to what pages, and where they were geographically located when they opened it. You will find graphs and charts that compare previous releases to this one along with other data.

Why is this important? Simply put, a past speaker or visitor who repeatedly opens your circulars is showing obvious interest in Rotary.
If they forward or retweet your message into their private community, that could signal that they may be open to becoming a member.

Organized for Engagement

By organizing your content distribution and workflow, you will attract more people in a shorter time period. That brings a higher return on the investment of time. (or money for paid services).

One of my daughters handles the social media for her department in a large organization. She designates a half day per month to create content and schedule messages. 

Periodically she monitors the various channels in order to respond to direct messages or to engage with timely conversations.

Some platforms like Twitter or Facebook provide automation features for there channels only. Some also provide analytics information. 

If you operate just one channel, that may be the simplest way to automate your activity. 


If you only operate three social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest), Hootsuite is free. However, the Pro version allows you to manage many more from one dashboard. 

It is low-cost and provides many additional features and benefits. It is a great way to simplify the sometimes complex task of releasing great content to different audiences.

Hootsuite is my favorite management system because it can operate multiple channels. You can schedule releases for a specific day, time and frequency. Messages can be scheduled for next week or a few months down the line.

You can also target audiences in different time zones. For example, I live in Calgary, Alberta which is in the Mountain Standard Time zone.

If I want to engage people in Toronto or New York, I schedule my content for a 7:00 am MST release which catches easterners in their offices at 9:00 am EST. That is a prime time for people to check their SM feeds.

For Europeans, I schedule releases at 1:00 am MST. The beauty of Social media is that someone is always awake somewhere in the world ready to engage with your content. As we like to say, the sun never sets on Rotary.

The BTRB audience includes followers from all over the USA, Australia, South Africa, the U.K., India, Germany, Canada and other parts of the world.

Hootsuite analytics allow you to measure the effectiveness of your social media activity and easily share the results. It provides new insights, identifies social influencers, and allows you to determine what content resonates with your audience.

In researching information for this post, I found a great article written by Katie Wilson of Aspire Internet Design. These are four benefits taken from her post, 7 Benefits of Using Hootsuite to Manage Your Company’s Social Media. Check out the entire post.

1.            Monitor Multiple Social Media Streams in One Place
2.            Schedule Posts in Advance
3.            Easily View Analytics Data
4.            Social Media Listening


Buffer fans have called it their Social media assistant. Some refer to it as the Siri of social media. With my company, we have used it to automate client social media accounts that are not part of our Unimark brand family.
Buffer differs from Hootsuite in how posts are scheduled. When messages are added to your Buffer queue, they are released automatically but spaced out to be broadcast at optimal times.

Rather than having to pick the date and time for each post, they are pre-set. At any time you can adjust scheduling or add new content to your queue.

Affectionados say Buffer is like a magic box that you can use at anytime to fill with great Tweets, Facebook stories or LinkedIn updates. Drop them in and you don’t have to worry about when they will be posted.

Like Hootsuite, Buffer has a free service along with a low-cost professional version if you need more tools.

What do you think? Have you used one of these platforms? Do you use another system? I want to hear from you. Please comment below.  

Robyn Braley is a brand specialist, professional speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. He has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. He often speaks at Rotary clubs, conferences and leadership development assemblies.

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary 

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