The fixation with social media in all business sectors is understandably relevant. However, in our quest to be ahead of the curve it’s important to remember to always look for ways to engage the publics (audiences) that matter to our organizations. I work for a local government association. While I think we have done a pretty good job with engaging our members who have adopted certain social media platforms, it is critical to remember that some members are just not there yet. And we still have engagement problems that need to be addressed.
As Ronald Smith taught in Strategic Planning for Public Relations, interpersonal communication tactics such as face-to-face communications are among the most useful tactics for influencing change; that could be a change in a belief system, moving someone to action, etc.
A personal success story
In my work as a public relations director for my association I have seen how face-to-face communications have increased member engagement.
One challenge we faced in 2013 was increasing participation in a very important annual data survey from one segment of our membership. I studied participation data from previous years and found that there were a handful of members who, year after year, had not participated in this survey.
The strategy we implemented involved planning face-to-face meetings with these members during our spring district meeting travel season which occurred during this survey period. During one such meeting, I had – in my mind – written this person off because he did not appear to be engaged in our face-to-face conversation. To my surprise the very next Monday, the survey from this person arrived in my inbox!
Never underestimate the power of public relations strategies, especially those involving a hand shake and a kind word.
2013 will be known at the Avery house as the year we got chickens. Mind you, we do not live on a farm. But after nearly 22 years of being married to Bob, a true renaissance man, I have learned to never be surprised about what comes next.
The next big thing that came on Bob’s radar early in 2013 was the desire to raise chickens – for eggs. I should say for the record that I do not like eggs. “I do not like them here, or there, or anywhere. I do not like them in a house or with a mouse,” said Dr. Seuss, a wise old soul he was.
Regardless of my distaste for eggs of any kind, my dear husband proceeded with the plans, and started building what was supposed to be a mobile coop. But the problem was it began to get bigger and heavier, all while he was building it in the driveway, in front of the garage.
But finally, after two months of hammering away, and buying more and more supplies (Bob still won’t tell me the final cost of the coop), it was ready to roll up the driveway to its place of glory – my front yard. I sometimes feel a little like Mother Parker, the mom in The Christmas Story, when Old Man Parker proudly puts on display his leg lamp prize. Anyway, there it sits, a massive budget-sucking chicken coop full of (insert rhyming word here) for seven very lucky little chickens who took a very long time to earn their keep.
The first birth!
The chickens were born in May 2013 and came to live with us a month or so later. Every day Bob would check the roost only to find a lone golf ball in the roost. A golf ball? Yes, Bob thought it would show the chickens that they should be making a daily deposit and not the kind that rhymes with coop. But finally on a brisk day in November one of the chickens gave birth to our very first egg! Bob thought it would be fun to keep the first egg – kind of like a business owner who displays the first dollar he ever made in a glass enclosed shrine. We don’t have an egg shrine yet, just lots of eggs – a few dozen every week…..for two people, one of whom does not like eggs.
Now Bob has gone from Bob the Builder to Bob the Barterer. Yes, he trades eggs. He’s traded eggs for snow plowing, for homemade granola, for firewood, and for fresh bread. I always loved Little House on the Prairie, but never thought we would end up being the ma and pa of chickens.
Connecting people through the power of public relations