In my over three years working with fatherhood leaders and programs, I know you. You're well-intentioned and care about people. You're doing great work with great heart. But, you're too busy doing this great work to talk about the great work. You don't have time, staff, or energy to get started online. So you don't...and no one is seeing your great impact. It bothers me that you aren't getting the attention you deserve.
I don't have all of the answers. But, it seems to me, if you can get a small start with blogging and social media, you and others can quickly start to see the impact you're having on fathers and families. I'm not talking about celebrity stuff here. I want you and your program to be seen. I want folks around you to see what you're doing and I want it to inspire others to help dads. Let's talk about how you, the super busy fatherhood leader, can get started online.
First, let's talk about the why. Why does "getting found" online matter? Because your work inspires other folks to serve dads. It's also nice for you to show your work to potential investors and/or the people who may attend or volunteer for your program. If you can start blogging and doing social media, you will make more impact in your community. Basically, I want folks to see your work and think of you when they think about fatherhood. You are the authority in your area when it comes to fatherhood and family.
- Do dads in your community know you as the helpful authority you are? How? How can they contact you right now?
When I get word of a group doing awesome things to serve dads, I usually can't find them through Google search. This is a problem. If I can't find you, and I know about you, how will a dad who needs your help, but doesn't know about you, find you?
Consider your blog like New York City. There are several major highways running through NYC. NYC has three major airports, major bus transportation, two train stations...you get the point.
Conversely, in the small town in Tennessee where I grew up, there's one highway. My hometown is great—unless you're planning on enjoying access to transportation once you visit. There are no airports in my hometown. You can't catch a bus. There isn't a train. I've never seen a cab.
Here's the point: the highways, trains, buses and planes are the things that can bring folks to you. All of the links from other sites, all of the mentions of you and your fatherhood program on social media, that's how folks find you. All of this is what turns your blog into a thing that pulls folks in to your program. There should be lots of ways for folks to find you. The more the better!
Here are two ways you can get started online without a ton of effort and time.
1) Get Started by Blogging
One of the best ways to get found online is through blogging. Make it so you can post updates easily and on a regular basis. Think weekly rather than daily. Your readers are busy too. But try to create and/or re-purpose content on a regular basis.
There are a few things that most folks recommend when getting started blogging:
- Create your blog with an easy-to-remember name. Don't get too cute. Think long-term and and error on the side of conservative rather than on fads.
- Create helpful content. Stuff that dads in your area care about. What are the dads you serve asking you. Answer those same questions on your fancy new blog.
- Read parenting and leadership blogs to fuel your content.
- Be sure to comment on other folks' blogs.
Doing these things should get your blogging off to a great start. See, that wasn't bad was it? Now to tackle social media...
2) Get Started Using Social Media
Can people find you on social media? Do you have a Facebook page? What about other social media platforms like twitter? Consider starting an account on the popular platforms where dads in your area are. Here are a few tried and true tips when it comes to social media.
It all starts with a good profile. There are a few best practices that apply to all social media platforms. Beyond these things, what you do depends on the platform. Here we go...
What to do on most social media platforms:
- Pick the right username >
- Use your real name when possible.
- Make your username as simple as possible. Try to stay away from numbers and symbols.
- Pick a name that’s available on most social sites. Reminder, the goal is to build engagement so folks recognize you
- Pick the perfect profile image > this image will show up everywhere.
- Write a good bio/summary > don’t skip this step. What can you say to instill confidence with your reader? Consider the folks who you are interested in connecting with.
- Website links > be sure to add your blog or link to social sites when possible
Now that you're armed with this knowledge, you can rock out any of the following social media platforms. You're ready to go, I can feel it...
Getting Started on Facebook
- Create a Facebook business page (Here's NFI's Facebook page). Team Dad is great on Facebook. We share their posts a lot. They post graduation pictures. We love seeing fatherhood program graduations.
- Post a link to your business page from your personal profile.
- Promote your Facebook page within your existing channels (website, blog, email, LinkedIn profile, etc)
- Next time you host a local event (like a conference, webinar, and/or training) use Facebook events to invite people. (Consider inviting NFI, that way we know about it!)
Getting Started on LinkedIn
- Build a LinkedIn group (and connect with NFI on LinkedIn).
- Make sure your linked profile is 100 percent complete.
- Search through groups to find ones focused in your area. Don't overdo it on the groups. There's a maximum number you can join. Consider future partnerships in the community at this point.
Gathering Started on Twitter
- Create an account (follow NFI's Twitter account).
- Start tweeting. Talk about what's going on behind the scenes.
- Follow folks in your network using the search feature in Twitter.
- Monitor other fatherhood, leadership and/or parenting accounts and retweet them.
Getting Started on YouTube
- Create a channel. (Here's NFI's YouTube account.)
- Consider posting your stories: things like "what we do here" and "get to know a staffer" can be helpful
- Consider interviewing local people for tips on parenting and the like.
- Create and share how-to videos on all things fatherhood.
Question > Are you doing any of these steps online? Where can I find you and your fatherhood program? Post the links to your website/blog and social media accounts in the comments and I'll like them, follow them, and/or connect with them.