AAUW NC social media history

[This is another post whose original version went to the webmgrs list at AAUW.]

AAUW NC has had

  • a mailing list open to all members since 1997 or so with more specialized lists (for branch presidents, state leaders) for several years. These are set up as “discussion lists” but only a few people ever post.
  • an RSS feed since about 2005  aauwnc.org/feed, which (theoretically) offers a way to subscribe to the news
  • a twitter account since 2007 or so (originally set up as a to retweet web site posts marked as “announcements” and encouraging folks to “subscribe via your phone”), twitter.com/aauwnc
  • and a Facebook page since ?? (maybe late 2008 or sometime in 2009). facebook.com/aauwnc

These are integrated in the following ways

  • Major news items are posted on the web site.
  • Twitter is used to tweet the titles of the web posts and is used for some “extra” news that doesn’t make it onto the web site.
  • Facebook pulls in the full text of the web posts via RSS. Most of the auxiliary twitter posts are also posted there along with, sometimes, more explanations and context
  • closing the loop, the web site pulls in the facebook news feed on www.aauwnc.org/news
  • every once in a great while the web site (and some Facebook) “headlines” are summarized in an e-newsletter to the all-members mailing list.


  • twitterfeed.com used to read the RSS feed from the web site and repost to twitter
  • ping.fm used to post items to Facebook and Twitter at the same time
  • tweetree used to read/post as @nes49  – a browser based client that doesn’t have the advanced “listening” features of something like tweetdeck or hootsuite but does have “real names” and threaded discussions which really help me understand the messages.
  • twirl used to manage “organization” twitter accounts, making it easy to be both @aauwnc and @ncwu
  • The website posts are imported to Facebook using the notes application — doesn’t always work correctly (and seems to be particularly problematic today, sigh).

An  earlier part of the conversation mentioned using Facebook to reach college/university populations. AAUW NC uses it to reach Facebook members in general, and doesn’t gear it for C/U communication in particular. There are many nonmember fans of the page, but few of those are on campuses. They are mostly friends of fans or come from connections through our allied organizations.

None of these communication avenues have a broad reach, and I don’t spend much time on analytics. From anecdotal evidence, I have to believe that the Facebook page is doing a better job of reaching our members. On the other hand, since we’ve set up the page we’ve cut back on our “e-newsletter” publications, and I’m sure we’re missing some people who haven’t “liked” the page, don’t use Facebook at all, and never check the News page on the web site. So we’re going back to basics and looking at better use of a mailing list, which is still the way many people prefer to get their news.  As for nonmembers — twitter and Facebook both reach folks who might not have heard about us otherwise — but we’ve not been  as intentional about the outreach as we might have been.

For more on the general topic of setting up a marketing plan and using new (and old) media, I’d recommend Kivi Leroux Miller’s new book “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide”  (amazon link). It has a number of practical tips, some of which are aimed at larger organizations. But I found it useful to read in the context of a branch/state marketing plan, most of which fall into her “marketing department of one” target audience. See www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com for more. [I’m rereading it now — let me know if you’re interested in a virtual book discussion.]

See also www.aauwnc.org/subscribe.

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