Ontario Ancestors Conference 2022 The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa
The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa

Social Media for Family History Societies : a discussion


Does your Family History Society struggle to find ways to use Social Media effectively? Have a listen of the video that I clipped from Andrea Lister’s interview. I hope you find some good suggestions

Image credit: © David Hook 2017-2022

When Andrea Lister and I were chatting about the various questions for her interview, a chunk of the talk turned to social media for family history societies and how this valuable tool could be of benefit.

Here are a few excerpts, but do watch the video at the end of this article.

Social media for genealogy is not entirely composed of negative
posturing, there is a very strong support network. (Penny)

The questions that really came across to me: “Why do you want to use social media?” What types of things do you want to accomplish? Promote your collections? Provide training? Give guidance?

Andrea’s group, the Maple Ridge Historical Society, have space on the Maple Ridge Museum website and partnering with a local community organization is a good idea as you will save money, especially on extremely expensive network infrastructure. This is also a bonus when applying for funding. The Maple Ridge Historical Society produce a newsletter and this is sent via Mail Chimp to it’s members.

Social Media – some tips from Andrea on how to successfully promote or market your family history society –

  • Social media is one way to catch younger members
  • Decide on the tone of your approach and importantly, be consistent in the delivery of any posts.
  • Make sure it’s a manageable task for your volunteers
    • post on a schedule, so that it’s not always the same person posting
    • find a topic that appeals
      • for example, the Allen County Public Library has a ‘Bookface Friday’ which they post to regularly
      • Twitter has a series of ‘hashtags’ for genealogy : #Genealogy #GenChat #FamilyHistory #Ancestry
  • Some tips I will add : be sure to be a presence on most of the genealogy chats, this will help build up your followers base. Once you are over the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter, retweeting and tweeting gets a lot more purchase, ie: people will find you.
  • Also, there are companies and individuals who provide a social media service, they will do the work for you. Perhaps there is a member of your society who has this training and would be pleased to receive an honorarium or similar.

Have a consistent voice as an organization. Use a specific
branding scheme, one that people can immediately recognize.

[Andrea Lister to Penny Allen June 2022]

The challenge with social media is to make sure it’s sustainable over the long term. It also needs to be incorporated into your procedures documents and mission statement. This is important for accountability to your board, your trustees, whomever pays the bills.

Let’s face it, the old style method of marketing family history
society resources is slowly losing it’s appeal in this digital age.