Public Relations is an exciting role where you get to try different forms of communication to reach potential members and promote your club. Clubs across Toastmasters Districts are using various online platforms.
Which one is your club using?
Facebook- Most Widely Used Network
Canadians are the most active Facebook https://www.facebook.com users in the world with more than 19 million Facebook users and more than 14 million Canadians checking their Facebook news feeds daily (source https://www.algonquincollege.com/ac-social-media).
Facebook is word-of-mouth marketing across a community. If you want your club to have a presence on social media, Facebook is a strategic platform to be regularly posting on.
Your club’s Facebook page can be used to convey:
- a great time was had at a past event (wish you were here!),
- a great time currently being had at an event (wish you were here!),
- and to raise awareness for a future event (looking forward to seeing you!).
If you want viewers to find your club, the visibility needs to be there. Is your club’s Facebook page discoverable?
- Completely fill out the club information with clear details on when and where or how your meets. (Virtual? Hybrid? In person?), and directions to the meeting location or meeting link.
- Invite guests, past and current members, and their families/friends to like the page.
- Post club news often; integrate Facebook into other online channels by using Facebook plug-ins
- Share content that inspires, educations, entertains or informs.
- Use compelling photos that showcase your members or your club meeting in action.
Toastmasters International offers a digital ribbon for presentation of the virtual meeting Best Speaker, Best Evaluator and Best Table Topics. Ribbons are easily downloaded from https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/digital-ribbon-zoom-background. The background can be sent to the award recipient over the virtual chat panel for them to upload and display. Take a screen shot of your club member with their ribbon and post it on your club’s Facebook page – with their permission of course!
Facebook Page or Facebook Group?
If you’re looking to promote your club to a large number of people, a Facebook Page makes the most sense. A Facebook page is a public profile that allows you club to showcase the toastmasters program and club activities. Any member of the public can view, like, comment and share a post from a page.
Facebook group is a members-only community. It’s a great way for group members to interact with each other. To be part of the group, people have to request to join. Only the group’s members can post, like or comment. Posts cannot be shared.
Some clubs have both a group and public Facebook page. Facebook Group is a good option for a closed club as a tool to keep members up to date on the club’s activities.
Meetup – Help Your Club Be Seen!
People use Meetup https://www.meetup.com to find their community, meet people, learn new things, network, or follow common interests with others. Its like posting events or workshops flyers on a community bulletin board at your local library – a natural fit for Toastmasters Clubs looking for new members!
District 86 has a free meetup account available for clubs to promote club meetings, open houses, workshops, guest speakers and contests. Meetup calls each post an “event”. Many Meetup users are looking for skills-building events which makes Meetup a great place to have your club seen by non-Toastmasters.
To post a successful Meetup event:
- Have clear information on when and where you meet. If a virtual meeting, supply an email or instructions how to get the meeting link.
- Use keywords in the location or on the Meetup address.
- Have interesting and useful information about your club.
- Use a catchy title to attract attention.
- Add an inviting photo for your club.
- Have at least 4 or 5 of your members “attend” your recurring meetings. This will improve your club’s listing. If only 1 or 2 people are attending an event, it doesn’t look as exciting as when you have 5 or even 10 people attending. Having lots of activity will attract new people to attend as guests
When people looking for things to do on Meetup, they are asked about their interests. This is how guests will find your club. Keep that in mind when writing a description of your club or event.
Find more Meetup event tips on the Meetup blog at https://www.meetup.com/blog/
Instagram – Highly Visual Platform
Instagram https://www.instagram.com is a popular photo-sharing application that can help promote your club without direct selling, which can be viewed by guests that your club is friendly and authentic.
There are 17,700, 000 Instagram users in Canada, with the majority of users female making this a popular platform among Canadian women (Source NapoleonCat).
Younger Canadians have embraced Instagram. The three largest user groups in Canada broken down by age are 25 to 34 years at 33.3 percent, 18 to 24 years at 23.3 percent, and 35 to 44 years at 18.6 percent (Source NapoleonCat).
Platform adoption decreases with age.
Instagram and Facebook are owned by Facebook; if your club uses both platforms, take advantage of the built-in sharing features between these channels.
Here are some tips to get the most benefits out of your club’s Instagram account.
- Have a compelling club biography and include a link to your website. You can link this account to your club’s Facebook account by switching to a business account.
- Invite existing contacts to follow you. Reach out to friends, family, and past and current members and guests and ask them to follow your account.
- Add an Instagram share icon into your club’s website.
- Share content that inspires, educations, entertains or informs.
- Follow relevant accounts, popular hashtags, and interact.
- Post compelling photos of your members or your meetings in action.
LinkedIn – Networking for Professionals
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com is like a networking event for professionals. You show up in your business attire, with your business cards ready, and your elevator speech prepared. You are there to showcase what you and your club can do help professionals become better to advance their careers.
Canadians in the highest household income group ($80,000+) are more likely to use LinkedIn, than those who earn less (Source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”)
The higher the level of education, the more likely the user is on LinkedIn.
The majority of users have a professional degree (67 percent) or a doctorate degree (76 percent). Those with “some school” (24 percent) or high school (25 percent) are least likely to use LinkedIn (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
This platform remains popular with people who are employed full-time (55 percent) and self-employed (53 percent) (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
Use this platform to share important information about club activities and articles describing how Toastmasters can help. Toastmasters International and District 86 have LinkedIn accounts that your club can follow and share information to your page. Any information you share should be presented in a way that shows how you and your club can help someone with their pain points. Share information about the organization, your members and their achievements, and career related tips, such as how to interview virtually, how to provide feedback to an employee, or how to prepare for a presentation.
Here are tips to help attract new followers to your Club’s LinkedIn page:
- Create your club listing as a “Company Page”.
- Be thorough in describing your Club’s specialties and keywords.
- Update the club’s page with a wide variety of content (blogs, images, and events), and regularly reply to comments.
- Encourage club members to share and comment on the page in their own stream so that their professional networks can see the personal growth progress Toastmaster members are having with the Communication and Leadership program.
LinkedIn Company or LinkedIn Group?
LinkedIn Groups is a membership only community. It’s a place for professionals in the same industry or employees of the same company to share their insights and experiences and build connections. Groups is closed to the public (one must “join” the group).
A Company page is a public profile and a great place for others to get to know your organization better.
If your club is a corporate club, LinkedIn Group may be a better option to explore.
Twitter – A Microblogging Network
Twitter https://twitter.com is a microblogging and social network that allows up to 280-character messages called Tweets. Users can follow other user’s updates, like, comment and share.
There are approximately 6.45 million active Twitter users in Canada. The majority are male, with only 37.4 percent of users female. (Source: Statistica)
Twitter appeals to the younger crowd. The most frequent users on Twitter are people aged 18–24 (65 percent) and 25–34 (54 percent), while only 27 percent of those 55+ have a Twitter account. (Source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
This platform is a great for getting om front of new people, however Twitter is also very fast-moving. Its like having a daily newspaper arrive at your door. You scan the headlines and read an article that catches your attention. The next day, a new edition appears at your doorstep, and yesterday’s news is no longer relevant. That’s Twitter.
The advantage of the 280-character limit is that you can take content and break it down into multiple tweets over multiple days.
Here are some ideas to attract followers for your club:
- Don’t overlook the importance of your club’s Twitter profile. Provide clear info on your club meeting place and time, and if your club meets virtually, who to contact for the link.
- Use visuals to attract attention and increase engagement.
- Tweet club created content frequently.
- Engage with others; like comment and share relevant tweets. Conversations help keep your Twitter platform relevant.
Slack – Business Communication Connecting People
Slack https://slack.com/about is a business communication platform that connects people. While there is very little data about Canadian user breakdown, Worldwide, more than 65 percent of Fortune 100 companies use Slack for business communication (source https://www.websiterating.com/research/slack-statistics-trends)
Globally, many corporate Toastmasters clubs use Slack. A Slack workspace is made up of channels, where members can communicate and share relevant club information.
Here are some ideas to promote your club within your organization’s channel:
- Advertise your club’s slack channel through your intranet sites, email or by making a flyer that can be posted in a common area such as a lunchroom.
- Generate a QR code so people can take a photo on their mobile device and join easily.
- Post a photo from every meeting
- Take advantage of the private channel to provide educational info, congratulate team-members, and have members sign up for meeting roles.
Microsoft Teams – Meet, Chat, Call, Collaborate
While Microsoft Teams https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca is a direct competitor of Slack, this platform lends itself more for larger enterprises and organisations. There is little data about Canadian user breakdown, however worldwide, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams have almost doubled the past year, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million as of April 2021 (source: Statistica).
If your workplace allows it, to get the most out of Microsoft Teams:
- Customize notifications.
- Use SharePoint to store Toastmaster’s ‘how to’ resources and share with others.
- For meeting reminders, use the mobile apps for On-The-Go messaging.
- Be conscious of the character length of your channel names. When Teams is used on mobile or a minimized browser version, only the first few characters will be visible.
NextDoor – a Network for Neighbours
Billing itself as the world’s largest private network for neighbours, Nextdoor https://ca.nextdoor.com is a new arrival in Canada of hyperlocal (focused on a very small geographical community) neighbourhood-specific private groups. With a team of community reviewers, it is seen as a community hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.
Members can only see the posts and activities of users in their own neighbourhood and those immediately adjacent to them. Given its local reach, Toastmasters Clubs can create listings which can be just for neighborhoods, or nearby neighborhoods.
If NextDoor is in your community, here are some tips:
- Create a NextDoor free event listing for your club meetings.
- NextDoor doesn’t allow you to make them recurring, but according to the platform, you can easily make a set of events each month.
- Check often to see if anybody commented so you can reach out to them personally about joining your meeting.
- Not everybody will see posts in events so post to your feed about meetings or open houses.
- You can only post to your community so enlist club members who live in different areas to post in their communities.
- Make an open NextDoor group about public Speaking and leadership so you can showcase your club activities.
Messaging apps – Second Most Popular Form of Social Media
Messaging Apps are the second most popular form of social media among Canadians who are online. Over 80 percent of Canadians aged 18–34 report using a messaging app, with women more likely to use a messaging app than men (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”)
Two well known messaging aps are Facebook Messenger https://www.messenger.com and WhatsApp https://www.whatsapp.com. Both are freeware and used for instant messaging, sharing photos, videos, audio recordings and for group chat.
According to the most recent data, Facebook Messenger is the leading messaging app in Canada with a 70 percent usage rate among online users (source Statista).
To get the most use out of your Club’s Messaging Apps:
- Align with the tone and language of your brand; make it easier for your audience to get to know your club through your messaging and brand identity.
- Keep an eye on received messages. Ideally, waiting times should be limited to 2–3 hours.
- Information must be short and concise.
- Showcase your presence; by having your messaging apps appear on your contact page.
YouTube – Show, Don’t Tell
YouTube is the third most popular social media platform in Canada. Ninety percent of Canadians aged 18–24 report having a YouTube account with more men than women reported (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
Producing quality video should be top priority if you want people to view your channel. You are competing for the user’s time, so always consider their viewing experience when developing your video.
Keep your video title short. YouTube allows around 53 characters. The average user accesses YouTube on their mobile device. Your video title should be clear and enticing for your potential viewer.
Include your website address in the video description area to drive users to your website.
Only use tags that are relevant to your video and keep tags between three to eight keywords. If you use too many tags, your video will become less searchable to a search engine.
Other YouTube tips:
- Write engaging titles.
- Optimize your videos for visibility.
- Figure out what your audience wants, then give them what they want.
- Engage with your community.
- Customize your thumbnails.
- Put your most important keywords first in your list of tags.
Pinterest – Showing What Toastmasters Can Do
Pinterest https://business.pinterest.com is an image-sharing social media platform. Users visually share and discover new interests by posting (‘pinning’) images or videos to boards (a collection of ‘pins,’ with a common theme) and browsing what others have pinned. Think of Pinterest as your public bulletin board that you positioned at a busy intersection; you tack on items that caught your eye – magazine pages, recipes, photos, yarn or fabric samples – and your bulletin board is in full view for people to stop and look at.
You can set up an account, like other users’ posts, or start your own posts. This platform is more about showcasing a lifestyle, allowing you to share your tastes and interests with others and discovering those of like-minded pastimes.
Forty percent of online Canadian’s report having a Pinterest account. More women are on this platform than men, with 54 percent of young people aged 18–24 being the most frequent users. Canadian’s aged 55+ are less likely to be on Pinterest (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
The majority of Pinners use the platform for product discovery. Pinterest can be a great platform for clubs to promote Toastmasters programs and grow a club’s membership base. Seventy-seven percent of pinners said they discovered a new brand or product while browsing on Pinterest (source: Pinterest).
Since Pinterest is very visual, images must be fully optimized to ensure your club gets in front of your target audience. This means that your pins need to feature the benefits of what your club offers.
Images should be vertical, and dimensions kept to a 2:3 ratio – anything longer will get cut off by Pinterest’s algorithm.
Keep text to a minimum; use four to five attention-grabbing words.
Pinning pictures of current members helps future members identify with the Toastmasters who make up your club’s membership. It shows your club culture, enticing guests to reach out and attend a meeting.
Use colorful infographics and visual media to help drive traffic to your website. To make your club stand out and be memorable, space out your activity with consistent, daily pinning. Don’t publish a bunch of pins at once. It’s more effective to spread out your pins than fill up your board in one sitting. Your content will reach a wider audience with regular pinning.
To get the most of your platform:
- Aim to pin at least five times a day.
- Have high-quality, engaging visual content to share.
- Include keywords in your pins’ descriptions, boards, and hashtags.
- Optimize the Pinterest Lens feature to discover ideas inspired by anything you point your Pinterest camera at.
- Use Pinterest’s analytics to see what your most popular pins are.
Snapchat – Share the Moment
Snapchat https://www.snapchat.com is a fun, visual multimedia app where users can share momentary pictures and videos.
Twenty-seven percent of Canadians online report having a Snapchat account. The largest user group are Canadians aged 18–24 (78 percent) with the majority being women (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
Tips to help you stay on top of Snapchat:
- Posts will disappear after 24 hour so post content often.
- Don’t ignore comments; respond to messages
- Post fresh, relevant content; keep it fun.
- Drive traffic to your website where users can go to for more information.
Reddit – “Front Page of the Internet”
Reddit https://www.reddit.com is a social news website and a vast collection of forums where people share news and content or comment on other people’s posts. The name is a play on the words “I read it”.
Content is curated and promoted by site members through voting.
Reddit bills itself as the “front page of the internet”. There are multiple individual communities structured around topics or interests. The homepage (“front page”) shows trending site posts that have been pulled from subreddits. A subreddit is a specialized online community with its associated posts. Subreddits are dedicated to a specific topic.
Only 15 percent of online Canadians use Reddit. Of that number, 41 percent are between the ages of 18 to 24, and 30 percent are aged 25 to 34 years (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
If using Reddit:
- Be a member first.
- Give more then you get.
- Create content that helps people.
- Don’t try to market. Join the community, get to know the community, and engage with the community.
- Be consistently active; play the long game.
TikTok/Douyin – Express Yourself
This app is based around 15 seconds videos. You can combine your 15 second videos to a maximum of 60 seconds. Viewers can like, comment, or share liked videos with other users.
Only 15 percent of online Canadian adults’ report having a TikTok or Douyin account, but the majority of reported users visit the platform daily. The adoption rate is largest among younger age groups, with 55 percent aged 18–24 reporting having an TikTok or Douyin account (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
TikTok users people can follow and set up notifications, so they’re alerted whenever you post a video.
The tricky part is figuring out how to create the kind of content that resonates with users. The style of TikTok content is very different from the content consumed on other social media platforms.
If using Tiktok, here are some tips:
- Its all about the trends, and very fast. You need to be just as quick and just as on trend.
- Record and upload the same day.
- Prepare and practice. The smoother the video transitions, the likelier it will capture and keep viewer attention.
- Choose a niche. Be consistent when sharing niche content. By staying authentic to your niche and your brand, your desired audience will eventually find you.
- Immerse yourself on the app. Send time scrolling and researching on TikTok. Look at what others are doing. Find where there is a gap; this is where you can make your mark.
- Tell a story. Be creative; put your unique spin on it and have fun.
- Choose hashtags for their discoverability. Hashtags need to represent your video’s main idea.
- Content must be both high quality and high quantity.
- Post daily.
Newcomer Kuaishou https://www.kuaishou.com/en is direct competitor of TikTok.
Tumblr – Let’s Share!
Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com is a fast-paced microblogging and social networking website. Users can follow other users’ blogs. Only 9 percent of Canadians report having a Tumblr account. Of that,18–24-year old’s are the largest users at 27 percent. Adoption rate drops to 10 percent or below for ages 35 and older (source: Gruzd, Anatoliy; Mai, Philip, 2020, “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020”).
If your club has a Tumbler account:
- Keep blog short; post consistently and keep content fresh.
- Use photos.
- Engage other users. Re-blog other people’s posts and add your own comments to continue the conversation. Follow other people’s blogs and click the ‘like’ button.
- Choose relevant tags.
Other new Social Media platforms include Sina Weibo https://weibo.com/us which is comparable to Instagram and Twitter, Qzone https://qzone.qq.com, a social networking website used to write blogs, and Steemit https://steemit.com a blockchain app.
If you are in charge of public relations at your club, you can easily get overwhelmed by the number of social media networks that can be used to promote your Toastmaster club. Best advice: become comfortable with the platform your club already has before opening additional social media accounts. Its better to have fewer platforms and post often, then have too many platforms and not post consistently.
You want your volunteer role to be manageable.
Engage current members and promote your club to attract new members. As each Toastmaster club is unique, we encourage clubs to focus on the social media platforms and strategies that best serve the club’s needs.
Created by Nancy Movrin DTM Public Relations Manager 2021 – 2022