7 Social Media Apps for Toastmaster Clubs
Today, clubs have the opportunity to expand their reach to new members, organize and promote meetings and connect members through the use of social media. Social media platforms’ main drivers are connecting with other people, storytelling, event announcements and invitations. The key benefit of social media is to increase the visibility of the clubs to both active and prospective members. With so many social media networks, it can be overwhelming to the club’s VP of PR to have a presence in every channel.
Toastmasters International and Toastmasters District 101 are taking advantage of many of the social media channels available out there. However, visibility and participation of the clubs in social media vary from club to club. Due to sponsor organization/company privacy concerns, some clubs are reluctant to advertise outside their walls. Unlike community clubs, many corporate clubs and private organizations are not “open” to the public. But even corporate clubs need to know how to advertise to their employees, for which the most common network is via Slack, in our list at number 5.
In order to better understand what networks are used in District 101 and the type of content and media that are shared, a survey regarding use of social media was sent to all the clubs, with 25 responses, representing a 16% response rate. 20 surveys were filled out by open community clubs, while the remaining 5 surveys came from corporate clubs. The responses to each of the questions posed on the survey are shown in the tables below.
The most popular social media networks used by the Toastmasters clubs that responded to the survey are Facebook (67%), followed by Meetup (57%) and Instagram (19%). These clubs used social media networks to advertise special events like open houses (77%) and current meeting times and dates (65%). Other uses included creating a fun post after meetings (35%) or sharing Toastmasters-related content (19%).
However, these clubs viewed Toastmasters.org club listing (48%) and Meetup (41%) as the most effective platform for their members. A club website, which can be highlighted by your Toastmasters.org club listing, is another key PR resource and can be seen as a central hub for your club’s social media activity. Surprisingly, only 19% of the responders viewed Faceebok as an effective social network. Many of our clubs followed our District 101 sites, mainly through the District’s Website, Facebook and Meetup.
Therefore, based on the survey responses, below are the top 7 channels we feel bring the most value to our District. To start, It is advised that club officers focus on up to three networks, as setting up a social network channel for the club takes a significant amount of time to take advantage of the benefits these networks provide.
It is the most widely used social media network, with over 2.5 billion active users. It increases word-of-mouth marketing through the community. The club’s Facebook page communicates past, current and future events through the use of digital media such as phone, videos and e-brochures. In order to grow your club’s visibility, the Facebook page should be discover-able. Below are some tips to maximize your club’s exposure within the Facebook community when you setup your club Facebook “page”:
- Thoroughly fill out the club information with clear information on when & where you meet
- Invite existing members and their families and friends to like the page
- Post club news often and Integrate Facebook into other online channels by using Facebook social plug-ins
- Share as much relevant content as possible
Pro- Tip: Toastmasters International offers a tool to add a ribbon on Zoom for Best Speaker, Best Evaluator and Best Table Topics. These ribbons can be easily downloaded from the link
- Consider taking advantage of Facebook advertising to increase club membership
- Use Facebook groups* to increase member engagement
* Please note that Facebook groups are community-based features that gather people with the same interests to discuss topics and share opinions, whereas a Facebook page is a public profile that allows companies to introduce their services and activities.
It is an online service used to create groups that host local in-person and virtual events. As of 2017, there are about 35 million Meetup users. It is the largest single facilitator of meetings and it is a very effective way to find new members since many users are looking for skills-building events. Think of Meetup as the digital equivalent of a library’s community events board. Toastmasters International and Toastmasters D101 use Meetup to describe the organization, schedule and advertise events, display a list of members, share media content and have a section for comments and questions.
Please take advantage of the District 101 Meetup Group, so your club does not have to pay to set up one. We tested and found that a localized search can find your club on the District Meetup Group just the same as having your own meetup. So save some monthly funds and use ours.
Your club’s meetup site can be optimized using the following tips:
- Create a Meetup event for your club using the District 101 Meetup Group making sure to have clear information on when & where you meet
- Ensure that your group contains interesting and useful information about the club
- Use keywords in the location or on the Meetup address
- Use other terms for members in your group like an acronym reflecting what the club is about
- Use a great headline
- Add an enticing photo or graphic for your club. Canva is a great free online tool for graphics
- Have at least 3 people “attend” your recurring meetings which will improve your club’s listing
- Join the District 101 Meetup Group so that the District can publish the event on the D101 Meetup site
Instagram is owned by Facebook with some built-in sharing between these channels. With over 1 billion monthly active users it is one of the most popular networks. Instagram can help promote your club’s culture without direct selling, which can be viewed by members and prospective members as being more friendly and authentic. Here are some tips on how to extract the most benefits out of an Instagram account:
- Create an Instagram account for your club with a recognizable username and profile picture. Optimize the club’s 150 character biography and be sure to include a link to your website. You can link this account to the club’s Facebook account by switching to a business account
- Invite existing contacts to follow you. Reach out to your friends, family, and existing members and clients and ask them to follow you
- Add an Instagram share icon into your club’s website.
- Share content that resonates with your club’s members and use hashtags that are meaningful to them
- Follow relevant accounts, popular hashtags, and interact with interesting content
A social channel for professionals, it can be utilized to engage with prospective members. Ideally LinkedIn can be used to share important information about club activities and share articles describing how Toastmasters can help professionals. Toastmasters International and Toastmasters D101 already have pages you can follow and that shares information about the organization, members, events, posts and job openings. Here are some ideas on how to optimize your Club’s LinkedIn page:
- Create your club listing as a “Company Page” on LinkedIn. Just like your own employer organization you’ll set it up as a company. Be thorough in describing the Club’s Specialties and Keywords
- Update the club’s page with a wide variety of content (blogs, videos, images and events), and make sure to reply to comments on the status
- Promote your Club’s LinkedIn page to members by encouraging them to share and comment on the page in their own stream so that their professional networks can see the personal growth progress Toastmasters are making
- Consider advertising on LinkedIn if you need to grow your club membership. Sponsored updates are a great way to promote your club
A channel-based messaging platform, used mainly by corporate Toastmasters clubs. A Slack workspace is made up of channels. If your company policy allows, a Slack channel within your organization can be created for your Toastmasters club, where members can communicate and share relevant club information. Slack allows up to 5 external guests for each paid membership in a given slack channel which could be used for guests if the club is open to outside members. Here are some ideas to promote your club within your organization:
- Advertise your club’s slack channel through HR intranet sites, email or by making a flyer that can be posted in common areas
- Post a photo from every meeting
- Take advantage of the private channel to provide educational info, congratulate team-members, and take-up meeting roles
Pro- Tip: Generate a 3D barcode (QR code) so people can take a photo of your slack channel QR code on their mobile device so they can join easily”. You can easily direct the company’s Toastmaster members to the slack channel by customizing this URL:https://<organization>.slack.com/messages/<channel>/
Twitter is a social network that allows for 280-character messages, and users can “follow” other user’s updates. Twitter has an audience of close to 70 million monthly active users, and hence it’s a great opportunity to get in front of new people. Toastmasters International and Toastmasters District 101 have twitter accounts that promote products, events, seminars and interesting short form articles showcased in the Toastmasters magazines. Here are some ideas to attract followers for the clubs:
- Create and optimize the Clubs Twitter profile. Be sure to provide clear info on your club meeting place and time.
- Optimize tweet visuals which pays off in engagement.
- Tweet content created by the Club frequently. To curate the content, use Feedly, Goodreads, Twitter (lists), Mix, LinkedIn Pulse, and Pinterest to select relevant content to use.
This social media network is considered to be a neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services. Given its local reach, Toastmasters Clubs can create listings which can be just for neighborhoods, nearby neighborhoods or a city-wide group.
Please note that NextDoor postings need to be placed in the appropriate categories, For instance, advertisement should not go into a standard stream, as it will be removed by community reviewers.
NextDoor is an excellent way to convert community members as visitors to your club. Here are some suggestions:
- Create a NextDoor free event listing for your club meetings. You’ll find that NextDoor doesn’t give you the ability to make them recurring but you can easily make a batch of them each month. Don’t forget to check to see if anybody commented so you can make them comfortable joining your meeting.
- Post to your NextDoor feed. Not everybody will see in events so it’s also good to post to your feed about meetings or special events like open houses. Be advised that you can only post to your larger community so you may need to enlist some other club members living in different areas.
- Make an open NextDoor group on Public Speaking and Leadership so you can showcase your club activities.
Officers in charge of Public Relations can be easily overwhelmed by the number of social media networks that can be used to promote local Toastmasters clubs, so it is important to understand how the different channels can benefit your club by engaging active members and promoting the club to attract new members. As each Toastmaster club is unique, we encourage each club to pick and focus on the channels and tactics that best serve the club’s needs.
Written by Juan González from Big Basin Toastmasters Club