Engaging your audience via Facebook

At the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute, RPIC Charlie Thorp shared how he uses Facebook to interact with Rotarian and non-Rotarian audiences. The key to his success: audience differentiation.

To help target the information he shares with various audiences, Charlie created a private Facebook page for his zone. He uses this page to communicate with districts in his region; keeping the information there strictly dedicated to Rotary subjects in his region.  One recent example was a post about availability of the new Quick Start Guide for Club Websites, found on the Brand Center.Picture1

Charlie also set up a public Facebook page, which he uses to communicate with a wider audience about Rotary. He shares more general Rotary stories and images on this page to better advance Rotary’s public image.  One recent example was a shared video of a great “What is Rotary” elevator speech.

Some best practices that Charlie uses for Facebook are:

  • Make Rotary part of your everyday life – share personal stories as well as Rotary stories that are important to you.
  • If you find articles about Rotary, pass them on.  Also share stories from your connections.
  • Balance out the Rotary focused posts with stories that have nothing to do with Rotary and are personally focused.
  • Share content that you would like to see.
  • Include strong visuals such as photos or graphs with your posts.

Interested in learning more about how you can engage with your audience via social media? Learn how to better connect with your local community and the power of images through these short “how-to” vignettes produced by Rotary International. Share these with your networks and let us know if there any topics you would like to learn more about!


Building a Valuable Webinar

Written by Gayle Knepper, Rotary Coordinator, Zone 24 West

webinarsWebinars are an outstanding tool to reach district leaders. They give us the ability to offer new information and provide training much more frequently than trying to meet face to face. Webinars are especially ideal for connecting with Rotarians in districts that are spread over large geographic areas. In addition to sharing information with others, webinars accomplish more: stimulate conversations between leaders, foster requests for district-specific programs, and lead to invitations for in-person training.

There are a number of best practices to consider when planning a webinar. One of the first steps is to ask, “What is the objective of this webinar?”  This will include both the training goals to be achieved and, from our own perspective, “What do we want to happen as a result?”  An advanced training outline is also essential and the key factor to keep in mind is that the participants cannot see us. Our challenge: how can we keep them interested? A few tips:

  • Include four or five poll questions in your presentation. These polls can provide a lead in to upcoming content, “test” attendee knowledge on a certain subject, or assess current activity in the districts.
  • Use visuals as a dominant element. Although important in most presentations, visuals are especially important in a webinar. To capture and maintain interest, the majority of the slides should include interesting, action-oriented photos or other images that illustrate the point being discussed. (In other words, use text sparingly.)
  • Invite Rotarians as guest speakers. In addition to changing the voice and style of the presenter, it gives these Rotarians the opportunity to share a success story or best practice from their districts and illustrate a key learning point.
  • Encourage attendees to submit comments and questions at any time via the question and/or chat features. Discuss these comments at the first relevant opportunity, usually at the end of the current topic.  It helps participants to feel a part of the webinar.
  • Based on the number of attendees online, participants with questions or comments may also be unmuted for a discussion in his/her own words, creating a greater feeling of involvement.
  • Plan for at least 15 minutes at the end of the formal presentation for questions and discussion. This “open” time is often the liveliest segment of the webinar, with attendees sharing success stories and common issues, and making connections.

An effective webinar will motivate participants to immediately take action. To reinforce that action, it is important for us to follow up to ensure attendees have the resources they need to achieve success.

  • Review the key action points and share resources at the end of the session, along with the immediate “next steps” for participants.
  • Post the presentation and recording to a download website, such as DropBox, and send a link within 24 hours of the webinar. This gives attendees a useful reference to the information discussed in the webinar and to share it with others.
  • Post resources on the webinar topic in an easy-to-find location. These include best practices, specially-developed tools and information gathered to fit the needs of districts. My zone uses www.GreatIdeasToShare.com.

Webinars are a valuable tool for information, training and focused outreach. They complement the support and training provided by coordinators and advisers, and provide a flexible and lower-cost option that is highly effective in addressing the needs of districts. If webinars are not yet an active component of your team’s plan, it may be a tool to include during the upcoming year.