For an organization like ours that depends almost entirely on volunteer labor, is social media essential or just a waste of time and energy?

Personally, I’m a big social media user, and I think we (yes, that includes you) should put even more effort into boosting the EFA’s online presence. Doing so will help us reach potential new members, bring in more jobs and opportunities, and build stronger connections among our fellow members.

  • Did you know that the EFA Facebook page is seeing steady growth and now has a whopping 10,500 followers? These folks didn’t just visit our Facebook page once, “like” it, and forget it; rather, they chose to follow us, which means that they want to see our updates in their personal newsfeeds. Still others visit our page without leaving a footprint—in other words, they read our content but without liking or following our page. And our reach extends beyond followers and visitors to even more potential members and clients every time someone decides to share one of our Facebook posts or retweet one of our tweets.
  • Timely news, event listings, and interesting images on our social media keep the EFA on people’s radar and remind them of who we are and what we do. This makes it more likely that they will remember us when they are looking to post a job or hire someone.
  • Facebook users tend to click on links, and most of our posts contain a link back to our website. This means that social media is driving traffic to our site, where visitors can join our organization or hire our members.
  • Social media is the ideal place to give followers a sense of our organization and show us interacting with other figures and groups in our field. For example, Board member Luann Reed-Siegel took some fun photos at this year’s BookExpo of celebrity authors happily holding up EFA promotional materials.

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  • We can use social media search tools to learn what others are saying about the EFA online. This helps us answer questions and address concerns. One example of this is a recent discussion in a large Facebook group about the anti-harassment policies of various editing associations. Mention of the EFA quickly reached the ears of EFA board members and resulted in this topic being put on the board’s next agenda.

The “Social” Aspect Is Critical

Social media is very inexpensive compared to traditional advertising—our Facebook page has some fabulous unsolicited guest reviews—but keeping it current and engaging takes time. Lots of time . . .

This is where you come in! Your participation can help make our social media sites stronger and more vibrant.

  • Comment on Facebook posts and tweet to us on Twitter. Take a moment to share a tip or LOL a photo.
  • Our social media sites are great places to thank our volunteers and supporters publicly: let them know that they’re appreciated!
  • The next time you attend a local chapter event or volunteer for a shift at an EFA booth, write up a description or snap a photo and put it on our social media.
  • Having some thoughts about the freelance life? Add your voice to Freelance Friday, our monthly Twitter chat.
  • Sharing an EFA update on your own social media occasionally will make us more visible and help us reach new audiences.

This will be time well spent, as the benefits of social media are exponential. Together, let’s harness its power to work for us.

Ruth Mullen
Member at Large, EFA Board of Governors