Communications

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Signs, posters, leaflets, newspaper articles, magazine articles, adverts, television, radio, word of mouth, planes flying through the sky trailing streamers, branded hot air balloons, buses, hoardings, newsletters, notices in the church pews… and now emails, facebook, twitter, blogs, tumblr, instagram, websites…. How is the best way to get your message across?

Our Family Day showed how different people all approached the same problems in different ways. The event basically had two sides – arranging, and then promoting.

I took on booking general market stalls. My main approach was a daily bombardment of twitter, and sometimes facebook with “Does anyone want a stall at @FofGH #FamilyDay ?” and that attracted quite a bit of attention, even if someone had heard via someone else. From then on we emailed forms and information back and forth, sometimes with a tweet or DM, a quick shout out, a bit of extra publicity….

Another committee member organised the Arts and Crafts Marquee. She went out to the Farmers Market, and people she knew, and asked them if they’d like to come, face to face, and they posted handwritten forms back to her and she phoned them on landlines in the evenings… Basically as I sat at the computer, or using my blackberry at the dining table, I felt she was putting in a lot of leg work versus my finger work. I needed more stalls than her, so it’s not really a comparable task, but I would say: every email I sent is stored here, where as every telephone call she made has to be minuted and remembered for future reference. Also twitter and facebook gives an instant mention to anyone with a stall and a twitter account; my lightbulb moment re our outside bar was announced on twitter with “#FamilyDay bar sorted thanks to @pantilespub following chat with @paulduntonmusic ❤ #tunbridgewells” a completely un-necessary but hopefully appreciated bit of thanks to all.

(Is this the time I mention I have (currently) 1,186 followers on twitter, and currently @FofGH has 922? Not quite covering the whole town, but anyway…)

By April most people in my twitter following must have seen at least one mention of #FamilyDay, and it was time for mentions on facebook and twitter (not my account) to try and attract tombola donations, volunteers, and visitors on the day. At the same time we were getting 5,000 flyers printed ( a donation by the council as they were involved with the Heritage Lottery Bid display stall) and 100 posters. I spent a large amount of time co-ordinating a flyer distribution list from the various volunteers, which was then followed by about 25 people pounding the local streets posting flyers through doors – just at the same time as all the local election leaflets were landing on door mats. Posters were very easy, and we also left some flyers in shops, some members took flyers to church groups and toddler groups, or shared them at school.

Half way along one of my leafleting roads, in the drizzle, walking up and down long, gravel drives, sometimes to get to the door and find a “NO FLYERS” notice, I admit to giving up, I just did the easy houses and then dropped the rest of the flyers off in the Pet Shop. If I was being paid I’d have probably got the sack…..However at the time I just tweeted “Nearly finished doing @fofGH #FamilyDay flyers!” as I sat in the car and considered how much a waste of time flyers are. How many go straight into the recycling box? How many get attached to the fridge behind a jolly fridge magnet, and then forgotten when the weekend comes? Meanwhile, we were sharing websites of stalls and attractions on facebook up the last minute, and, maybe too often, mentioning on twitter.

I wrote articles and listings that went in freebies ‘Staying In Going Out’ and ‘Town Crier’ magazine, and a listing went in ‘The Courier’ local paper, as well as a write up by @LadeezWhoLaunch

If we had considered this before we would have set up a questionnaire; “How did you hear about the Family Day?”, but that will be the unanswered question. However, the post event feedback has been incredible on both twitter #fogh13  and facebook. Aided by bands and visitors tagging photos on facebook, the message spread that there HAD been a Family Day. Photos by Tunbridge Wells Life and a blog by Mrs Anke gave people something to talk about on twitter and facebook – in fact the food from Spinach and Agushi is still getting mentioned. The more people tweet, post, share and tag, the further the message goes that there is a park hidden in the streets of North East Tunbridge Wells. Out on the streets… yes, I think people are still saying they had a nice time, and IT IS good to talk – just I’ve just met more people to talk to SINCE being on twitter!

Come on though, I’m biased, I love twitter and facebook and blogging and how it’s opened up so many opportunities! I need someone now to prove to me that posting flyers in doors is a better way to communicate your message – anyone?

If you want to read lots of nonsense all day long: @CarolynTGray

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5 thoughts on “Communications

  1. I (dave barnett) run the FoGH Twitter account and share the Facebook account with Carolyn. Here are my thoughts:

    I am also a big fan of social media but I know it’s not the only way! I’ve just checked some stats for the twitter account. Our normal level of ‘mentions’ is somewhat less than 20 a day (and that has been in a period we have been actively promoting the Family Day). On Monday, ‘The Day’, we had 218 mentions, with over 50 on the days either side. And as Carolyn mentions above we had a similar pattern on Facebook, although the peak here was the day after the event.

    This doesn’t just happen overnight of course, we have been building a supportive and active following on both platforms over the past 18 months. And of course many more people see these social media posts than comment so as a method of raising awareness it has been fantastic.

    I also run the website and checking the statistic for this the other day I was surprised to see over 700 visits to the site on Monday. This is 20x our normal level of activity. Now I must confess I had neglected the site a little recently while we concentrated on social media, so this is an important lesson for next year.

    And we mustn’t forget the people who are not regularly online (or at all). But I think that now most of those interested will be aware the Fun Day and should be looking for it next year so perhaps we don’t need to leaflet 5,000 households next year.

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