Announce it.. and they will come

A funny thing happened on my way to being the Vice President of the St. Petersburg Woodcrafters Guild…

Let’s go back in time – a long time ago – to December of last year. The guild meetings we were attending were pretty cool. We got to talk about really cool stuff. Guild members showed off some cool projects. They were great.

The only problem was that the guild hadn’t yet embraced the magic of social media. There had been talk about getting on board with Facebook in the past, but there was very little push to make it happen. After all, things seemed to be going pretty well, and, gosh, that was pretty darned good.

Sure, there was talk that perhaps it might be good to revisit the idea, but, that was going to be a discussion for another day.

Guild President Dale Neff

This past fall, during board elections, Dale Neff was chosen as president of the guild. Dale’s vision for 2013 was to reignite the enthusiasm of loyal guild members, attract new people to the guild and welcome members who had given up on the guild to come back to try it once again.

One of the things he did was to give direction to his new vice president – me – to get out there and promote the guild with an updated website and a reach out to the social media communities of Facebook and Twitter. So, out I went and started to get the guild’s presence online.  Now, there was some concern. What would happen to guild members who weren’t tech savvy or preferred to get their newsletters by mail?

No, this wasn’t an either-or proposition. In fact, we could easily accommodate the members who preferred the more traditional approach to things while going boldly into the online community.

Even though it has been just one month, how successful has our effort been?

A packed house at our last guild meeting

Well, at our first meeting of the year, less than a week ago, we had six new folks show up to the meeting – because they had seen the meeting notice online. We also had several members who hadn’t been to meeting in the past year or so came out just to see what was going on. They were excited about the site, the social media outreach and they wanted to see what was going on.

The crowd at Heritage Village this past weekend

And, this past weekend, we also ran a woodworking demonstration at the Folk Festival at Heritage Village. We had a few classic woodworking activities set up, and we threw the doors open at the beginning of the event. And the people came. Holy smokes, there were times during the day when it was darned near impossible to move in the building, with people crowded in to check out the happenings.

Many of those folks said they had heard about the event on the guild’s home page or on social media…

This recent spike in interest in the guild’s activities illustrates one very important reality – by promoting your guild, your blog, your woodworking event online, you can get the word out and get a lot more interest out in the community.

And, by doing that, you can help spread appreciation of woodworking. And, that’s not a bad thing at all!

 

4 replies on “Announce it.. and they will come”

  1. Eric R says:

    Very smart idea Tom.
    If more Woodworking clubs and guilds would embrace the web to promote their group, I bet each would find a surge in membership.
    Thank you.

  2. Bill Murphy says:

    I think it’s definitely working Tom. I’m just happy to be along for the ride!

  3. Richard says:

    Did you see a marked difference in the age of people attending? My local guild has a meeting on the first Tuesday of every month, I have family commitment on the first Tuesday of every month and have never been able to attend. If the days vary slightly or social media keeps me up to date of other events at other times I would love to participate. Good for you for trying something new.

  4. Tom says:

    You bet. They seem younger

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