Private Clubs: When a communication plan is essential to serve your members
This week in San Diego, it was hot, dry and a bit out of control. Fires started burning on Tuesday and by Wednesday there were nine separate fires burning throughout San Diego County. A shout out to San Diego and out-of-town firefighters. They have been doing an incredible job fighting multiple big fires in record heat and high Santa Ana winds, keeping life and structure loss to a minimum.
On Tuesday, the first few fires threatened a handful of golf resorts and country clubs. In San Diego’s North County, the area is sprinkled with beautiful and amazing resorts and clubs. When I saw a tweet from a local news channel that one of the country clubs was being evacuated, I thought I would check out the club’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to see what and how they were informing members. Much to my surprise, there were no announcements. The next day? One post of “a photo that someone took” from the club during the fires. And there has not been a post since. (Friday a.m.)
What a missed opportunity! Private club professionals all know that in the course of a day, there could be any number of events happening, from casual lunch meetings to golf tournaments, and various-sized private events. When a club is forced to evacuate, events are cancelled, roads are closed, no one is at the club to answer phones, etc. How do you let your members, guests, staff and community know? Do you have a communication plan in place?
Another club which had been threatened by fire did post to Facebook the day after, letting members know what had been cancelled, what was open/closed and that there was no damage. The only problem was that the club had not posted anything since January, so members were highly unlikely to see the post.
We have to recognize that our members are online. They access the internet via their mobile devices, and once online, they seek news and information via their favorite sites, and through social media. If the club is not communicating where the members are seeking and receiving information, we are missing the opportunity to serve as a valuable resource to our Members.
While it is understood that a club evacuation is rare, it is still essential for us to have a communication plan in place, for our monthly, weekly, daily messages and in times of crisis. The club which was evacuated was clearly unprepared, was unhelpful to members and guests, and rendered themselves irrelevant as a resource.
I’ve included a few more tips and advice in the video (above), so please have a look!
Quick note: What you can see in the screenshot is my laptop on a table. That’s what I’m looking at when I’m referencing what was happening online! I wanted to let you know because in the editing process, I realized I was looking at my computer screen often, but you can’t see my laptop!
Don’t Be That Guy/Girl
“Think carefully about the first impressions you are making on your future college classmates. You don’t want to be the person on the Class of 2017 Facebook page whom everyone else talks about when they gather, in person, for the first time.”
Sound advice, I found in this article posted to the NY Times. In addition to all of the other wonderful advice provided by author Nikki Magaziner Mills, this comment should serve as great motivation for high school graduates to take care with what do AND what they post this summer. Your future roommate will certainly look you up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other network you share your life with, just as you will look to learn more about them. What impression are you giving? Will they be excited to be roomies, or have you given them enough material that they are dreading the year with you? What do you want them to know about you?
No doubt, this summer between high school and college is a special one. Take time to enjoy every moment, to strengthen the bond with your hometown friends, your family and loved ones. But also take some time to prepare for your new life and think about how you want your first year at college to play out.
Summer is the perfect time to get in the habit of behaving and communicating responsibly. Post photos and updates that let your future classmates know who you are and what type of friend you’ll be come fall. Start conversations with them now, so that you won’t have to break the ice at a time when a gazillion other things are new, exciting and a bit overwhelming. Show your new college buddies why they should look forward to being in your social circle. Establish good relations now. These may very well be people you have in your life for a very, very long time.
“We’ve always behaved badly; now we can do it in front of the entire world.”
Something to think about as you grow into adulthood and take some major steps this summer toward your college career. One “behaving badly” tweet, photo or video can and will precede you. Don’t let social media be the cause for your freshman-year dreams to go “poof.” Use social media to get started on the right foot. Have fun, stay positive and tweet with purpose!
Social Spring Cleaning
Every Monday night, I pack up my computer bag and head to the University Club Atop Symphony Towers in San Diego to provide social media seminars for club members. It’s part of my consulting contract and, frankly, it’s one of my favorite aspects of work. I love helping professionals better understand these amazing and cost-effective tools which have completely changed the way we do business and revolutionized the way we communicate. I’ve met some wonderful folks during these sessions and have (hopefully) provided insightful information they can take back to the office and implement.
While it’s a no-brainer that membership organizations like business clubs, country clubs and the like are a perfect match for communicating through social media, it may not be as clear for your business which channels are best to tap into. It is better to select one or two channels where you know you can reach your target audience, versus spreading yourself too thin and attempting to be everywhere. I admit that as a solopreneur, it is tough sometimes to manage my content plan and effectively communicate. I feel completely disconnected and out of touch if a day goes by when I don’t post, tweet or share. But I will tell you that these tools, when used with good strategy and purpose, will produce positive results.
During my Monday night classes, I’ve witnessed several “a-ha moments” when an concept clicks or someone realizes how they can integrate social media into their communication plan. If you would like to learn more about the types of seminars I can provide or need to train your staff (or you!), please contact me. I am eager to assess your business strategies and help you better utilize social media. My number is 619.244.2400 and my e-mail is [email protected]
USC posted this photo on Facebook on October 6th. I love this photo. I wish more sports teams (and even businesses) would post this type of behind-the-scenes snapshots. This picture, this moment, speaks volumes. You can imagine yourself as one of the players, gearing up and getting psyched for the big game. You can imagine what might be going through their minds as they stare themselves down. We feel the intensity of this experience. We can connect with the guys on an emotional level, mostly because we’ve all had a moment like this wear we are staring ourselves in the face and putting on our ceremonial war paint. Very easy to connect with these two players emotionally. People are moved by emotions.
I hope other teams and businesses take a note from this photo and start posting more moments like this from their story. This is the type of content that reels us in. We want to know more. We want to cheer for these two players in particular because we feel like we’ve been standing right next to them, getting ready for the game.
Kudos to UCS for their awesome social campaign this year. And cheers to the photographer for capturing this powerful image to help shed light on the story of football.
I wish all the athletes who have games this weekend the same moment of intensity prior to their game. Take a good look in the mirror. You got this.
Forget About Grandma
“Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear.” This is often a comment made when coaches are interviewed in an article about sports and social media. And it is often the only bit of advice given to student-athletes in an effort to help them communicate more effectively online.
This advice, with all of its good intentions, is a bit misguided. Grandma’s opinion of your online behavior doesn’t matter much at all. Grandma knows you all too well, loves you no matter what and will most likely forgive you for any missteps. Everyone else online may not be so understanding.
The things you say and do online are more often reviewed by admissions officers at your favorite university, by the coach whose team you want to play for and by the prospective employer who will want to make sure you are an asset and not a liability.
Social media education can be so much more than just “how to craft the perfect tweet” or “here’s how to manage your facebook settings.” While everyone is more than entitled to have fun and be social, it is also wise to come to the table with a game plan. Take a pause before every post. Is it necessary? Does it serve a good purpose? Will that post help you or hurt you? What light do your words and images paint you in? Is that really YOU?
Good communication skills are teachable and can be honed to be strategic. So let’s forget about our sweet little granny and worry more about what our audience will learn from that photo, that comment, that perfectly crafted tweet. It’s not only student-athletes who live 140 characters from disaster.
Social Media and Student-Athlete Handbooks
Social media guidelines exist so that an entire company and all of its employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them when they are representing the business online, whether it be on or off the clock. Universities, typically a bit slower to catch up to mainstream business practices, are definitely behind the curve when it comes to establishing guidelines for students and student-athletes.
In browsing some of the athletic department policies and it was surprising to see program after program devote less than a page to such a pressing topic. For example:
Gambling …………………………………………………………………………………. 49
Hazing …………………………………………………………………………………….. 50
Social Networking Websites ……………………………………………………….. 50
Grievance Policy ………………………………………………………………………. 50
And on Page 50, under the rules for hazing came:
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Utilize your best judgment when using social networking websites. Our concern is not only about the content that is posted in the form of photos but also the proliferation of personal information, such as, cell phone numbers, class schedules and home addresses which many of you have made public. The content posted on these sites is not private. Your information may be currently viewed by: university officials, professors, parents, coaches, future employers, local and national media among others. Further, there have been a number of cases of assault that have been directly attributable to these sites.
As a student-athlete at (university name) you are held to a higher standard then the general student body. We ask that you do not post any information that might embarrass or otherwise cause harm to you, your team or the university.
Another athletic department gave a similar amount of space to the topic:
Social Networking Websites …………………………………………29
Criminal Activity ………………………………………………………….29
And once you landed on Page 29, you found:
SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITES
Student-athletes are representatives of not only themselves and their teams but also Intercollegiate Athletics and the University as a whole. As outlined above, student-athletes are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents Athletics and the University. Student-athletes who post profiles on social networking websites, including MySpace and Facebook are reminded that the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and behavioral expectations apply to those posted profiles. Student-athletes not only represent themselves and their families, but also their individual teams, Intercollegiate Athletics, and (university name). Student-athletes should consider if they would share information with all of those constituencies before posting it online.
Student-athletes are also encouraged to limit the amount of personal information they post on those sites for their own safety as well as for future job searches and background checks. Once the information is posted on the Internet, it is in the public domain and can come back to haunt the poster later. Many employers are already checking social networking profiles before making any offers of employment. Predators also spend time on such sites looking for easy targets. Student-athletes should please be careful and think twice about what they post, especially photographs and contact or schedule information. Student-athletes can be targeted by predators via social media, and should report any such contacts to their coach or the Associate Director of Athletics/Director, Athletics Academic Services.
It’s also interesting to see where social media appears in the table of contents, next to hazing and criminal activity, in these examples. It doesn’t have to be that way! Social media guidelines can also represent the positive and help your students use social media to their advantage. Guidelines that are ripe with “don’t” as well as best practices, will serve as a resource to your student-athletes. Keep in mind that, whatever guidelines you do implement should also be applicable to staff and coaches. Student-athletes are not the only ones to post inappropriate photos or tweet troubling comments. The purpose of social media guidelines is to inform what rules are in place, but also to allow everyone to achieve the department goals. You should want your team to be a success online. Guidelines are a good first-step to prepare them for that. (Education is a must, too!)
One service that Beaming Bohemian provides is the development of social media guidelines for your department. If you are an athletic department, a university or business who needs to establish this type of resource for your students or employees, please contact us. Social media guidelines are not a one-size-fits all rule book. They should reflect the culture of your department and allow everyone to take ownership in the final – and living – document. We can work together to develop the best handbook for you. Contact [email protected]