In just 3 months, our lodge web site has had nearly 6000 visitors, we have over 600 Facebook followers, and just passed 900 Twitter followers. We have received a number of queries as to how we have achieved this in just a short time. This article is designed to give the reader some insights into how this was achieved.
We started a couple of years ago with a simple free website, but were then unable to get the site published with our own domain name. We struggled to get any visitors, achieving just 100 a year. This gave us no candidates, which is our main goal. So on the 1 Apr 15, we decided to start again with a new Website.
We decided to move away from the traditional lodge Website, static in nature, and containing only basic information. We wanted to create a design that was clean and simple. The content should contain some static information, but the majority of the content needs to be dynamic. It had to change on a regular basis, and encourage visitors to come back time and again.
Research took a few days, but we finally came across an existing technology that met our needs. Blogging technology called WordPress. We found a reasonably priced web hosting company that could host a WordPress site, and it took about 20 minutes to set up and publish.
We went through number of different look and feel options, before we settled on our current look. Even then, it took a while to configure it so we were happy. Even now, we are still making small tweaks, to make it better. The look and feel is a key component of your website, and is a constant state of development.
With the web site up and running, we now needed to show it off to the world. We needed to set up our social media presence. Firstly we needed to pick the most appropriate ones, but also from a long list (57 different social media sites, in the Uk and US). Several hours of research led to the decision to go with just four. Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Four of the top five social media sites. We also looked at LinkedIn, but decided that this was too closely linked to people’s business lives, and many masons prefer to keep the two separate.
Each social media format set up, we decided to link our website to all forms of social media. This enables any update to the WebSite to be automatically linked. This would enable us have one central point of input, and multiple outputs.
We have a website, and we have an outlet, now how do we get a following. Lots of web sits give you tips and tricks on how growth works. It comes down to Paid or Organic growth.
Organic Growth – starting with the Brethren of the lodge, we gathered a few followers. Next came friends and acquaintances, this created a small following.
If we had left it there, published content, we could have slowly let following grow, but it was never going to make the impact we needed. So we needed our followers to share content, so masonic Facebook groups were joined, and content was shared to as many as possible masonic groups as possible. This increased our following and started to bring visitors to our website. We were under way.
When it came to Twitter, we decided to push as much as possible. This is the recommended social media format by the United Grand Lodge of England. The key to Twitter is convention that if you follow someone, they will follow you back. We started following as many Masonic Lodges that we could find, in the hopes that Lodge accounts would then share our content, and follow us back. This has proven a great success, and we continue to grow using this method.
Forced growth – by paying for adverts, you can increase your following, or promote your web site. This is an expensive option, and can have only a temporary effect. We decided against this option.
We have a Website, a social media presence, and most importantly a following. Now we need to spread the word. Sharing articles will get you so far, and our website can do that automatically. However, this requires people to read your articles and choose to share them. Getting people to read your articles is the challenge, tiles need to to be short and punchy. Supporting each articles with pictures, draws the eyes (especially men).
However, just posting one article a week, was not going to drive the following. So it was decided to sue our Twitter account (linked to Facebook) to share pictures, jokes, short messages and retweet content to increase the desire factor. All content needs to be set up, so that it will create a desire within the reader to share the content with their following.
The key points
- Dynamic Website, content updated regularly
- Keep the look and feel simple and clean
- research social media and marketing techniques
- Linked to more than one form of social media
- Build your following, share the content
- Develop content people will want to share
It took 3 months of hard work, it was a team effort, but we have created a whole package, that is building day by day.
I hope this gives you some insights into how we did it so quickly, and wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.