Social Media Avenues to Promote Your User Group
I am on the board of directors for the North Texas SQL Server User Group and I have seen a lot of chatter between different user groups about how they each run their group. This type of collaboration is wonderful for the SQL community and speaks volumes of its members. I see many groups using different social media, but I have never seen it documented anywhere about all the avenues each group uses. I believe listing this out could really help some of the smaller groups get ideas on how to promote their activities. Here is a list of what we use:
Twitter – This is probably the biggest and most popular medium used in the SQL community. Twitter is not necessarily the best for people to find and discover your group, but it is the best to disseminate announcements and send links to the other mediums for more information. We created an account with our group name and the password is shared among the board members so they can each send out whatever announcements we have.
Website – Having your own group web site is crucial to aggregate all of your information in one place. This is where you list the details of your meetings, host slides from previous presentations, post information on large events the group is holding, list instructions on joining the mailing list, post links to member blogs, and have a contact page with links to all the social media outlets the group utilizes.
Community Megaphone – This website is a place where you can post your upcoming group meetings. So what is important about putting it on this website? This is where Microsoft’s developer evangelists get their list of upcoming community activities to post in the MSDN newsletter.
LinkedIn – Here you can create a group with the same name as your user group and members can post technical articles, hold online discussions, hold poling sessions, and post announcements for meetings and events. We usually create an event and then post a link to the event in a new discussion.
Google Groups – This medium draws some parallels to LinkedIn, but offers an email distribution list. Everything that is posted to the list is also searchable on the site which can come in very handy.
Email – It is a great idea to have an email distribution list where you can send event information to your members and the members can use it to solicit and give advice. Again look at Google Groups.
I really hope this information helps out other groups. If this helped you and your group, please let me know by leaving a comment. If your group has more information or unique ideas on how you use the above medium as well as new ones I have not listed, please leave a comment for others to benefit. One of the best things for leaders of user groups is to attend other user groups and get to know their leaders. This knowledge sharing of how each group is run can really benefit all groups involved.