Get Connected Social Media and Web Tools Bring Members Together Does your club have its own website that you actively update? How about a Facebook page full of pictures of smiling Lions at service projects? Do you regularly “Tweet” club announcements? If you’re not on board with web and social media tools, Austin Founder Lion Vicki Flaugher in Texas thinks you need to act fast. “An online presence has become a must-have to remain relevant in today’s culture. I believe that Lions must come into the future, without fail and without delay. Lions have much work to do, and being online helps magnify our efforts,” she stresses. Selected by Forbes as one of 10 Women Social Media Influencers in 2011, Flaugher believes that online tools are key to building a more efficient, cost-effective, connected—and fun—club. In Ohio, Downtown Columbus Lions Club President Tyler Schleich agrees. When his club chartered in 2009, they formed a technology committee and created a website and blog (http://downtowncolumbuslions.org). “The blog is like an online newsletter, so we don’t need to do a formal paper newsletter,” says Schleich. They save time and money with this format and easily share the same information and photos on Facebook and Twitter for a broader reach. Through online avenues, the Downtown Columbus Lions are keeping members informed and making it easy for them to be active. The club uses web-based services for all meeting and event RSVPs, surveys and dues collection. “It’s a great way to keep members in the loop. Having the meeting minutes, officer contact information and an events calendar on our website goes a long way,” says Schleich. Carol Musser, who manages the Los Gatos Lions Club website (www.lglions.org), is amazed by the difference being online makes for coordinating events. “You can publicize your event, make donation contacts, obtain permits and Lions can communicate with each other more easily. Also, since we’ve offered tickets online sales have grown,” she says. Musser stresses the importance of providing training to members so they can join in with confidence and ease. “At a meeting we presented on the website and Facebook using a big screen. We demonstrated how to navigate the pages and where to find the information they need,” she explains. Lions can also find video trainings on Facebook and Twitter among other resources on the LCI website (search for “Lions on the web”). To those who are wary and don’t think they’ll be able to take the online plunge, Schleich, who has given presentations on social media at district and state conventions, says it’s easier than you think. “After I show people the tools, they realize how easy it is,” he says. It’s important to prioritize, take your time and choose the tools that are right for your club— and that you can keep up-to-date. And if you meet with resistance? Flaugher offers some insight: “Providing training and making it fun are big parts of being successful when there’s resistance. Be patient and keep plugging away. Some of the most resistant members end up being the strongest supporters.” –Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt Vicki Flaugher is happy to answer questions from Lions about social media. Find her at http://smartwomanguides.com. Lions featured in this article recommend these services: Wordpress.com – Create a free and user-friendly website/blog. Paypal.com – Process club dues, event fees and donations. Socializr.com – Announce events and meetings and receive RSVPs. Surveymonkey.com – Easily design and administer club surveys.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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