Social Media and the German Village Society

Guest Blogger Ellen Fraser ’14

It’s hard to believe that I will be finished with my summer PWR internship in about a month’s time, and I can honestly say that I have learned a lot in many different areas, including social media marketing, historic preservation, event planning, and general strategies for working at a nonprofit organization.

As I mentioned in my first entry last month, my main project during my internship has been to create a social media strategy for the German Village Society. The strategy will include the audiences we will be trying to reach with our social media use, objectives for use, and why we should frequent these specific sites that I have proposed. I also have developed a document with directions for how to use each site and what types of posts are the best (meaning the ones that invite the most user engagement), complete with examples. I have spent most of my time doing extensive research on which social media platforms can provide the most benefits for nonprofits, and specifically our nonprofit as a historic neighborhood and ultimately tourist destination for visitors of the city. In between research, I have posted to Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to gain more followers to the site, opened an account with Instagram, uploaded images to Pinterest from our website, and unlocked the business pages for both TripAdvisor and Yelp!

Social media for the Society has been my main focus, but I have also learned how to use PastPerfect, which is online archival software. This will help me because museum work is a career that I have considered upon graduating from college.

At the end of June, I helped with the Society’s main event and biggest fundraiser, the German Village Haus und Garten Tour, which has been a tradition in the Village for 53 years. A few villagers volunteer to show their homes to the some 7,000 visitors to the Village on the day of the tour. During the week before Tour, I helped set everything up throughout the Village, and on the day of I acted as a host in one of the homes.

Also, I attended an art committee meeting about how to organize the use of Fest Hall, which is an auditorium upstairs in the Society’s Meeting Haus, as a gallery for artists to show their work. We discussed drafting a contract for the artists who are showing so that we ensure that the Society earns some percentage of the profit of the pieces that they sell, and gathering supplies for exhibitions such as tables, linens, wine glasses, etc. This was also interesting to me because my ultimate goal is to own my own gallery one day.

Finally, I have earned the opportunity to write a short feature story each week for the neighborhood’s online newsletter, Neighbors4Neighbors.

Thus far, I am grateful for the opportunities, independence, and experience in using my PWR/professional communication skills that this internship has offered. My supervisor has allowed me to completely take the reins on the social media strategy project and to sit in on important meetings about the Society’s general digital strategy. I have learned a lot about how significant it is to tailor your website/social media and its content to your various audiences and to make sure to include accessibility into its design.

Does anyone have any advice for what social media platforms might be beneficial for a nonprofit organization?

Check out German Village’s Facebook fan page and Twitter to see what I’ve been posting!  Hope everyone’s summers are progressing nicely!

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