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The Essential Role of Social Media for Historical and Genealogical Societies




Social media is no longer just a platform for personal interactions; it has become a crucial tool for organizations of all kinds, including historical and genealogical societies. An effective social media presence can often be the difference between a thriving society and one that struggles to stay open. With significant benefits such as increased exposure and traffic, it’s clear that social media is a powerful ally in keeping these organizations alive and thriving.


The Impact of Social Media on Organizational Success

A recent survey revealed that 83% of marketers reported increased business exposure due to social media efforts. Additionally, 73% experienced increased traffic to their websites and physical locations. These benefits have consistently been the top advantages for the past decade, underscoring the long-term value of a strong social media presence.


Why Historical and Genealogical Societies Need Social Media


Increased Visibility and Reach

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer unparalleled opportunities to reach a broader audience. By establishing a presence on these platforms, historical and genealogical societies can:

  • Connect with a Global Audience: Share their mission, events, and achievements with people worldwide.

  • Attract New Members: Reach potential members who might not have discovered the society through traditional means.

  • Engage Younger Generations: Appeal to younger individuals who are often more active on social media.


Enhanced Engagement and Community Building

Social media fosters community and engagement, allowing societies to:

  • Share Stories and Achievements: Post about significant discoveries, member stories, and ongoing projects.

  • Host Virtual Events: Conduct webinars, live Q&A sessions, and virtual tours to keep members engaged.

  • Encourage Member Interaction: Create spaces for members to share their research, ask questions, and collaborate.


Increased Traffic and Membership

By regularly updating social media with valuable content, societies can drive traffic to their websites and physical locations:

  • Promote Events and Activities: Use social media to advertise upcoming events, workshops, and meetings.

  • Share Educational Content: Post articles, videos, and resources that provide value to current and prospective members.

  • Highlight Membership Benefits: Showcase the advantages of joining the society, such as access to exclusive resources and events.


Cost-Effective Marketing

Social media offers a cost-effective way to market the society’s activities and attract new members:

  • Targeted Advertising: Utilize targeted ads to reach specific demographics interested in history and genealogy.

  • Free Tools and Features: Leverage the free tools provided by social media platforms to enhance visibility and engagement.


Overcoming Challenges and Maximizing Impact

While the benefits of social media are clear, some societies may face challenges in adopting these platforms. Here are strategies to overcome common obstacles:


Limited Resources and Expertise

Many societies operate with limited resources and may not have dedicated social media staff:

  • Volunteer Support: Recruit volunteers or interns who are knowledgeable about social media to manage accounts.

  • Training and Workshops: Provide training sessions for members interested in learning about social media management.


Content Creation

Consistently creating engaging content can be challenging:

  • User-Generated Content: Encourage members to share their stories, photos, and research findings.

  • Scheduled Posts: Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts in advance, ensuring a steady content stream.

  • Repurpose Content: Reuse and adapt content from newsletters, articles, and events for social media.


Privacy and Sensitivity

Handling sensitive historical and genealogical information with care is crucial:

  • Permission and Consent: Before sharing member stories or personal information, always obtain permission.

  • Anonymity Options: Offer members the option to share content anonymously if they prefer.


Social media is not just a trendy addition to marketing strategies; it is an essential tool for the survival and growth of historical and genealogical societies. Social media can make the difference between an organization that thrives and one that disbands by increasing visibility, fostering community engagement, driving traffic, and providing cost-effective marketing solutions. Embrace the power of social media to ensure your society remains vibrant, connected, and influential in the digital age.


If you know a historical or genealogical society that is not yet on social media, please forward this blog post to the society's president and board members. If you feel a society needs help, let me know, and I will contact them personally. Together, we can ensure these vital organizations continue to flourish and make a lasting impact.

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