Rebekah Humphreys and I are both members of the TechTeam at our church. While I run the website, she is in charge of the social media campaign. I also knew that she had a major role in Kiwanis of Michigan, part of which was running social media. I conducted this interview through Google Docs.
First, tell me a little about your current position at Kiwanis and tell me a little about your term as governor.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. I held the position of “Governor of the Michigan District of Kiwanis International” for the 2014-2015 term. I was not only Michigan’s representative to the international council (50 seats total) I was also entrusted with the strategic direction and leadership of the Michigan District, overseeing 164 Clubs, approx. 5,500 members, 41 committee chairpeople and a governing board of 21 representatives from across the District. Once my term as Governor ended I became the finance chair of the Michigan District as the Immediate Past Governor and am currently the head of the Past Governor’s council.
For those who may not know, what type of work does Kiwanis do? How long have you been involved with this work?
Kiwanians around the globe work within their own individual communities to support the children in areas of need. Annual Kiwanians donate over $100 million USD and perform over 150,000 service projects with youth. Kiwanians unite worldwide to support children through our Child’s fund with specialty projects, most recently being “Project Eliminate” (http://sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject/home.aspx)
I have been involved in Kiwanis since 2006 and was elected to the position of Governor in 2013.
How did you get involved with social media at Kiwanis?
As governor, I was the youngest person to ever serve in the position in all of Kiwanis International. I was 27 at the time of my election. Being ‘less seasoned’ than other members of the organization I saw a gap in communication with our younger membership, including the members in our youth service leadership programs. (http://www.kiwanis.org/kiwanisone/youth-students-special-programs#.WDuUOfkrKCg)
When I worked on my platform before my election I knew this was a deficit we definitely needed to work on. Mailings and publications were still being distributed through only the USPS and we had an outdated website and no social media presence.
Kiwanis hit the milestone of 100 years of being an organization on January 21, 2015 (it was founded in Detroit, so we were extra proud) during my term as governor so I believed it was the perfect time to take on this task.
Tell me a little about what this responsibility requires. How much time do you put into managing social media? What platforms do you use?
I worked on developing a committee to take on the task of updating the website and initiating our Social Media campaign. I also developed an internship for one of our college students involved in our Youth Leadership Programs who was majoring in marketing, communication, web design or anything similar to help with the process.
Year one we developed a Facebook page and a Twitter account. We attempted Instagram but found it was not for our population. We also launched a large scale marketing campaign via social media to publicize the milestone anniversary since Michigan was the site of the anniversary event and international council meeting which had over 50 countries represented.
After Social Media was established on the two platforms we began to work on the District website (mikiwanis.org) The original website was completely outdated and had information that was nearly 10 years old. I personally rebuilt the website, which required over 100 hours, it has since been turned over to the Executive Director to maintain.
The marketing/social media committee also offers workshops for individual clubs on how to build their Facebook presence and offers support to clubs on other social media platforms. Trainings are down twice a year and on average we have 10-15 clubs represented at each training. Additional trainings are available on an as needed basis.
On average it takes about 10 hours a month to work on our Facebook page and Twitter page. This includes pushing articles, sharing information, scheduling posts and working on specialized campaigns. This is spread out throughout the committee depending on the topic. All Facebook posts are pushed to our Twitter account so that maintains itself.
We do also have LinkedIn and YouTube account but these do not seem to engage people so they are not utilized just kept up to date.
Has Kiwanis defined a purpose or set of goals (ie. types of posts, frequency, times, content, target engagement) for you in regards to the use of social media?
- If yes could you summarize? And do you think this is a good approach?
Our goal is to offer daily content, multiple times a day, for current membership as well as non-members. We have themes for the days of the week (eg: Membership Monday, Giving Tuesday) We also use this to push information from our digital publication and from Kiwanis International
We find that we have a lot of member engagement and engagement from our service partners (Children’s Miracle Network, I-hop etc.) We do not see a lot of engagement of non-members but we do see a lot of likes and follows of the page of non-members
What platforms do you find offer the most engagement with followers?
- Do you think there is a reason for this?
Facebook is most popular with our ‘more seasoned’ population and twitter is more engaged by our 25-35 crowd. I believe we have more of a membership base that uses Facebook as opposed to our other platforms.
Have you ever adjusted your strategies with social media at Kiwanis in order to get more engagement? Describe this a little. Was it successful?
It is always a balancing act with social media. We meet bi-monthly and as needed to discuss the progress and strategies and how they are working. We usually adjust anything that needs to be adjusted once a quarter like time of posts for best engagement or the topics/content of posts. This seems to work for our organization.
Do you think Kiwanis benefits from having a social media presence or would they exist just fine without it? Why?
I think Kiwanis could just exist without a social media presence but I believe it is essential to remind Kiwanians of the global network beyond their home communities and I believe social media drives this ideal. I also think it is an important tool for discussing ideas and ways to better individual communities by sharing stories and successes, on the other hand it also helps work out kinks that members could be experiencing without having to wait for our trainings or conferences to have the discussions.
This is also a valuable tool to spread information the Michigan District needs to get out to its clubs and membership. We are realistic in the fact that we know very few people read our digital publication cover to cover on a regular basis. Social media gives us a way to push small chunks of information to large groups of people.
What advice would you give to someone who has been hired or asked to run social media for an organization?
Define your focus first. Develop your short and long term goals, then create a timeline to achieve the goals. It is very easy to get caught going in too many directions all at one. Focus on one element, do it well, then expand into the next task. Do this for each platform you are using The internet/social media can be very overwhelming.
Thank you so much for your time! This has been very helpful.