Customer stories with Steve Spencer
If you’re looking for ways to promote your social club and engage with its members, Steve Spencer, Exalted Ruler of Port Townsend Elks Lodge, has some incredible tips for you.
For its members, Port Townsend Elks Lodge is a place to socialize, participate in collective activities, and keep the spirit of the community alive. As Exalted Ruler of the Lodge, Steve oversees various committees, runs meetings, handles marketing, and plans events for members.
With so much on his plate, Steve had to streamline his efforts for the Lodge by creating smart and effective marketing strategies, and leveraging online tools to help him out. We talked to Steve about his work and how he promotes his club.
Hi Steve! What’s it like being the Exalted Ruler of the Port Townsend Elks Lodge?
Being the Exalted Ruler is wonderful. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community I’m a part of, and this job allows me to do exactly that. The Lodge brings people together and helps them spend quality time with each other. I’m grateful to be a part of it.
How do you promote the Lodge?
I mainly promote our Lodge through events. Events give our members the opportunity to engage with each other and they get people talking. Other than that, I use Facebook and newspaper ads.
1. Save time by resizing and repurposing your graphics
Let’s talk about the events you organize. Can you tell us about one recent event you hosted?
In October, we hosted a “Drive Thru Trick-or-Treat” event. I brought a few Lodge members on board to plan it. Then I created some flyers with PosterMyWall and distributed them around the Lodge. I also resized my flyers as digital content we could stream to the TV screens around the Lodge. We have regular dinners with members too, so I made sure to announce the event at those as well.
On the day of the event, 92 kids showed up which is a massive number for us. They came in their cars with their parents, and we gave them candy. Everyone was dressed up in a Halloween costume. It was incredible.
2. Use your events to communicate your club values
How did this event help you promote the Lodge?
People brought their families and told their friends about it. When people know that we host family-friendly events that they can bring their children to, they’re more likely to sign up to become a part of the club.
Also, events like these really gel the community. People bring food, have a good time, and leave feeling fulfilled after a wholesome evening.
What are some other events that you’ve done in the past?
We held an Oscar Night one time — this gave people an opportunity to dress up in fancy ball gowns and take pictures of themselves. We also organized a Battle of the Bands. We’ve got some talented members and I wanted to give them a platform to showcase their music skills. Apart from this, we’ve held themed Bingo Nights, like Rock ‘n Roll Bingo. We do plenty of events to keep things exciting.
And do you promote all events the same way?
Yes, I promote all events the same way. I have an event marketing strategy that works, which is why I’ve stuck to it.
In addition to flyers, I also rely heavily on word of mouth, not just for the event, but also to get new people to sign on as members.
So you create your flyers through PosterMyWall. Do you have any advice for people looking to create their own event flyers on PosterMyWall?
Do what you can to make your flyers stand out.
They should be fun to look at, but not too overwhelming. Keep your information concise. Mention the date, time, and whether or not the event is supporting a charity.
Are all your events open only to your members?
No. We do throw events that are open to the public so that people can come and get a feel for our community.
3. Expand your reach with local newspaper ads
Do you promote these events in the same way as the others?
When we create a public event, we use most of the same strategies except for one additional strategy — newspaper ads. They’ve been a gamechanger for us because everyone in our town reads the local paper. So before each public event, I reach out to our partner newspapers that we’ve been working with for years and ask them to print an ad. I usually make sure the ad runs at least a week before the event.
And what do these ads look like?
They look very similar to our flyers. I use a lot of the same graphics from PosterMyWall in my ads as I do for my other marketing.
How often do you organize events at the Lodge?
There’s no set schedule, to be honest with you. We like to go with the flow, based on what our members are in the mood for. We do have some annual and bi-annual events. The rest we organized based on need.
My advice to anyone looking to organize their own promotional events would be the same — have a rough idea of the events you want to organize, but be flexible too. Some events might get pushed or canceled. So always leave room for last-minute changes to your event schedule.
4. Treat Facebook as a one-stop place to find information
Let’s talk about Facebook. It would appear that when it comes to spreading the word about your Lodge online, that’s your go-to platform. What does your Facebook marketing strategy look like?
I post on Facebook quite regularly. I use it to keep the members updated on the latest developments, make announcements, promote events, and answer queries. Our members know our Facebook page is the place to go to in case they have any questions. The Page also serves as an information platform for potential members.
How do you promote your events on Facebook?
Well, I use the other strategies I mentioned for the most part. However, I have noticed that some Facebook strategies have been especially useful. For instance, I post flyers I make on PosterMyWall.
5. Leverage Facebook Live to promote your event
I also go live before and during the event to show people what’s going on and how they can join. Before the event, I go live and tell people what the event is about and what to expect. I also answer any questions people might have. During the event, I film the speeches, members socializing and having dinner, and anything else that might encourage others to participate.
6. Show members you’re grateful for their support
You run a Facebook video series called “Membership to Leadership” on your page. Please tell us a little bit about this.
This series is a way to show members how they have helped support the Lodge. We show them the construction that’s been completed on our lodge and all the things we’ve achieved as the result of their generous donations. We post weekly episodes of the series. I figured people would like to see how significant their contributions have been.
You also wish every member happy birthday on your page. Why?
I wish our members a happy birthday to keep the members engaged. Members comment on each other’s birthday posts, and this fosters a sense of community. You see, even the smallest things matter. IIf there’s anything I can do to make my members feel special, I do it.
7. Post far enough ahead that your members have time to plan
How often do you post on Facebook?
I post almost every day. There’s always something to talk about. I never schedule posts for a particular time, however, I do make sure to focus more on time-sensitive posts. For instance, I always make sure that event posts go out at least a month in advance, with weekly reminder posts until the day of the event.
Would you say that engaging your existing members is your ultimate goal when promoting the Lodge through events and through Facebook?
Absolutely. That, and getting new people to sign up with us.
8. Reach new people by asking people to share your posts
What advice would you give to small business pages on Facebook looking to build their reach?
My advice to others is to get as many people as possible to share your posts. I always ask members and friends to share a post after I make it.
And what advice would you give to someone looking to promote their club?
Figure out what works for you, and then stick to it. As long as you’re getting the response you want from your target audience, your marketing is a success. And use PosterMyWall to make your graphics because it’ll save you a ton of time, money, and effort.
Thank you, Steve. We wish you and the Lodge luck on your future endeavors.
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