Recently, a friend who administers the Facebook page of
another watercolor society asked for my advice on dealing with Board members
who were instructing her on how to manage their society’s page.
Because I have so much experience with Social media, and I've served on so many Boards, people come to me and ask for my advice on subjects like
this pretty often. Actually, people ask my advice on stuff like this at least once a week. So this time, I’m sharing my response on my blog in the hopes that it
will help other Boards and volunteers, as well.
As the New Year begins, I have to present why
Facebook is so great for our watercolor society. One of the things that a couple of our
members don't agree with is posting of non-members work. I personally think it is great to have
exposure to as many different watercolor artists as possible. It's growth, continued learning and
Another issue that a couple of members have
is posting of non-society workshops. At
first, our members indicated that this was something they wanted from our
Facebook page. Again, I think it is
great to have the exposure.
These members who don’t like the way we
administer our page are new to Facebook.
Since you were so helpful in the start of our
Society joining Facebook, I was wondering if you had any thoughts that could be
helpful in explaining the positives of sharing non-member info.
Thanks so much,
These problems are not uncommon. I’ve witnessed similar problems
with other pages, especially with groups, businesses, and non-profits that are
governed by people who lack business and marketing experience. The few people
who know how to use FB understand the benefits of using it to reach new
markets, whereas the people who are “socially challenged” don’t’ understand the
"give and take" of social interaction.
|(Annie lecturing on the topic of Art Business at the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society's Annual Meeting)|
So, here’s a few reasons that may help you to explain to
your members how Facebook pages work, and why it’s important to maintain
A Facebook page that only promotes itself and doesn't
interact with others is kind of like a person with a big obnoxious ego. No one
wants to listen to someone who can only talk about themselves, and never
engages the other people in the conversation. FB pages that are like that cannot
grow or attract followers. There are watercolor societies that have pages like
that, and they never get any followers, much less do they get "people
talking about them" -- which is way more important than likes. If a page
only shares information and events that involve their members, then the page is
just a duplication of the newsletter, and there is no point in that. No one needs to look at a page to see that
information, and they won’t.
Pages can be used for
a lot of things that the Society can’t successfully do using their other tools
Provide members with easy access to educational opportunities, such as sharing links to tutorial videos, online exhibits, etc.
I like to think of a page as being kind of like a magazine.
Nobody wants to read a magazine that is all ads from cover to cover, and a page
that only promotes itself is like that. Successful magazines provide useful
information that their audience will find interesting and only intersperse the
ads sparingly. In other words, artists will visit a FB page that has
interesting content – tutorials, opportunities for artists, interesting news
articles about the art world, etc. While there, they will also see the posts that
promote the club’s activities. But, if the page is just dry boring club stuff
that is a repeat of what is on the website and in the newsletter, then no one
will go to the page, and the page will not gain the status needed for it’s
posts to maintain (much less, increase) visibility in FB streams, and so no one
will see any of their posts.
Why it’s important to
It’s a give and take world. You want to let others post on
your wall and you want to share other posts, because you’ll want that kindness
returned when you want your Society’s news to spread. When you have a juried
show coming up, you want to be able to post your ‘call to artists’ on the walls
of other pages, and you want other societies to share it with their members.
Same with your workshops and other events. If your page has a reputation for
not sharing posts and events of other Soicieties, then other Societies are not
to help you spread your news when you
need them too. You want to be able to post your workshop flyers and show
prospectuses on the walls of every FB page that attracts artists, and you want
all those pages to share your news with their followers. But if your page
doesn’t share, like, or comment on the posts of other pages, then they will not
do for you, either. Remember that Facebook is a social network. Social interaction is the primary purpose.
It’s a lovely idea to share member news and events on your
FB page. But, members need to cooperate, too! If a member “likes” the Society’s
page from their page, I can see it and “like” their page right back. Then, their
page will show up in the Society’s newsfeed and I can share, like, and comment
on their activities. But please remember that I am a volunteer, and I don’t
have time to search all the names in the membership directory to try and find
their pages (if they even have one) on Facebook. If members want the Society’s
page to interact with them, then they must “like” the Society’s page. If they
won’t do that, the Society page will not share their news or events or feature
them. It’s a matter of making my task, as page admin, as simple and
uncomplicated as possible. I am a volunteer, and I will not spend my personal
time promoting the individual members when they make the task unreasonably
difficult. I will happily share anything a member sends me, or that they post
on the Society’s FB wall, or that I see in the FB newsfeed, but individual
members can’t expect me waste my time searching for their news so
that our page can promote them.
artwork and events:
I’m all for sharing member’s artwork, events, news, etc., on
the society’s FB page, and I do it whenever a member sends me something to
share. But it’s equally important to use the Society’s page to introduce our
members to the work of other artists. Our members gain valuable information
that they can use to advance their skills and their careers, such as seeing
what judges and jurors are choosing in other shows, learning new techniques and
skills from other artists, seeing the types of artwork that other artists are
selling, etc. By exposing our members to a wider variety of art and artists,
they can make also make comparisons and more easily identify ways to improve
their own work.
Most of our members want to improve as artists. They want to
learn about workshops where they can improve their skills and they want to read
articles that give them tips for selling their art. Our members want to enter
exhibits and win awards, and they appreciate seeing the paintings that are
chosen by jurors in other shows. They want to try new materials and techniques,
and enjoy watching artist tutorials on the web. They want new members to join,
and they want more artists to enter our shows. The members who don’t want these
things are only a small minority. Often it is just one or two members who are
afraid of growth and improvement because it could threaten their own standing
within the hierarchy of the Society.
In my experience on Boards, I find that there are always a
couple of members who fear or don’t understand new things. Change is often
scary or threatening to these members, and causes them to oppose anything that
is different. Many times they will insist on placing undue restrictions on new
amendments that are presented, or they will demand that overly excessive
research be presented to them for their approval, or that they be allowed to
personally micro-manage anyone who volunteers to do a task.
It is the Board’s responsibility to stop members from using
passive-aggressive control tactics like these or others to manipulate the
organization. As responsible Board members, we must not permit a minority of
our membership to dictate how we conduct business, nor can we allow them to
undermine the hard work of other members that is advancing and improving our
Society. The unreasonable demands of a few members must not hold the entire Society
hostage, nor keep us from serving wishes and needs of the majority.
|(Annie conducting a Business Marketing seminar for Lousiana Watercolor Society)|