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This Week: Group Starting Edition - How to Advertise For Your Group
Hey everyone! I hope the past week has gone well for you all. Last week we talked about setting goals and finding a focus area for your group. Goals are great and all, but they don't mean much if you are the only one showing up to meetings! So, this week, I'd like to briefly talk about some ways to utilize advertising and campus visibility to really help your group grow.
There is nothing better to swell your membership than increasing your group's visibility on campus. This can be accomplished many different ways, but the goal is to add members to your group and increase the recognition of your name and group's mission (or goals) on campus. If your group is new to campus and doesn't yet have name recognition, it can be overwhelming to choose from the myriad mediums through which you can advertise your group. Some groups are very successful with chalking, others with flyers, some others have very good connections with their local newspaper or radio station.
The first thing to do when considering growing your group through visibility is to take account of your resources. What mediums are available? Do you have access to a campus newspaper? Does your school have a radio station? What are the rules for hanging flyers or chalking? Most of this information can be found out through your school's Student Life or Activities website. It's extremely important that you follow the rules when advertising your group as well. For instance, the flyers that were included with your GSP are a great way to start advertising your group (same with your Facebook page that you created), but you need to know the rules for distributing them before you hang them up. There's nothing worse than breaking a rule before you've even become an official organization (or even breaking one as a newly recognized organization). So, make sure you pay attention and play fair.
Once you have an idea of what is available to your group, make an action plan. Figure out (with the help of your members) what advertising strategies are realistic for your group. Once you have a pool from which to draw ideas about what advertising strategies to utilize, start to brainstorm ways to use them. For instance, if you believe that flyering is a good strategy for your group, head on over to the Design Exchange on the SSA Resource Library and pick out a few flyers you'd like to hang up. This is an invaluable resource because it allows groups from all over the country to submit their flyer designs and share them with other groups. That way, you're not left alone in the dark trying to create a flyer to draw people's attention (not my area of expertise, and it may not be yours either!).
Once you have some ideas about what approaches to take, all that's left to do is put them into action. Set realistic goals and make a deadline for having them completed. One of the worst things new groups do is make plans but never set any realistic time line to accomplish them (I include myself in this category, I've done it plenty of times).
Also, remember that the SSA has a ton of resources to help you advertise (besides the Design Exchange). We're more than happy to help you write a press release (I know I've never done it before!). There are also articles available on advertising and even more specific topics like chalking and what to do if your flyers are vandalized. As I always say, we are one email or phone call away if you need more advice on advertising. Just remember to sit down, take stock of your available resources, and use them to the best of your ability. If you do that, I am sure you will see a rise in your membership and an increase in awareness on campus about your group and its goals.