Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 2014 Plan and Report

Sarasota Sister Cities has an aggressive program of social networking. We use the internet to get out the word and to try to improve communication among our members and other interested citizens. Our addresses below:



The first three systems primarily get the word out.  We first write what is happening on the blog.  The Web site automatically picks up the latest 5 posts from the blog.

Pinterest provides a great pictoral history of the organization. Tom Halbert and Gayle Maxey have posted a great deal of information and photos on the site.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are all designed to get people to interact. We post a short message on each system with a link back to the blog. You have to sign up for these programs - this is free and simple.  You will want go to our pages and like or friend or link to them. Then you will see what we post and everyone will see what you post. Over time we hope to get a number of people interacting on these systems.

Sarasota Seagulls Spreading The Word
Sister City Social Marketing

Social Marketing is a low cost and effective way to tell people about your Sister City organization. There are many different ways to use the internet and social marketing to promote your business and organization. The following is one way.

Web Site

Some Sister Cities have an up to date web site, but many Sister Cities do not have the resources to create or frequently update a site. You can use a blog and social media to get out the word about your organization. You can augment your web site or use your blog as your web site.

First Step - Create Your Blog

Example - Sarasota Sister Cities:

First step for you? Create your Blog. For blogging I prefer which is free and part of google but there are numerous other free and low cost services. You can get up and blogging in a few minutes, although it will take some time to learn the tricks and make it look the way you like it.

Video on how to blog

Blogger is part of google. You create a new email address when you sign up with blogger.  It should be be the same basic address as your blog.  Go ahead and start your blog. Work with it for a while and learn as you go.  Don't get frustrated - every time you try something new it takes time to learn.

I always use the Million Monkey Method. This method states that if you have enough monkeys typing for a very long time they will manage to write a great novel. Just keep trying to master the program like the Million Monkey's, and you will figure it out.

Use the same address for all your systems if possible - makes it easier for people to remember.
Pictures are Worth a 1,000 Words

Start slow and easy. You can write many blogs if you wish. You may wish to have one that is just a brochure about your organization that does not change very often.  Or you can use one for large photos. 

You try to make your blog interesting to your intended reader. You can just have entries originated by you but it will probably be more interesting if you add content from other similar web sites. It takes a little time to figure how to do it, but essentially you are linking other similar web sites, blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin and other sites to your blog. As they write new content it appears on your Facebook site.

Address  - .com or .org or .us ?  

The address of the blog is a little long. You can purchase a .com address to make the address easier to remember and have it automatically forward to your blog. This costs about $10 per year from Google or $75 for ten years from GoDaddy or Google or other sources. My examples below:

After you have your blog up and running you will want to join other social networks which will compliment your blog. There are many different social networks. These are the ones I use

Use the same or very similar name for all the systems. You are marketing your Sister City organization so use the name of the company or your name. Here are the ones that Sarasota uses.

Sarasota Sister Cities Addresses

They are all the same or similar 






After you have your blog working write a post on the blog. Then write a short blast on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Linkedin, directing people to the blog. This is made easy by the small buttons at the bottom of each blog entry. You hit the button and a short message about your blog entry is made on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ page. You have to update LinkedIn yourself - it is easiest to copy your Twitter post and paste it into LinkedIn. Update them each time you write a new entry. The entries on these systems just direct people to the blog, where you write the most important information.

You will want to reach out and find others in your group and link with them. You want to let them know what you are doing without becoming obnoxious about it.

Use the blog as the main focus - Put information on the blog that your target audience will find interesting. I use the other services to point people to the blog.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are a little different since all the members can post. So the content will be what you put on the page plus what others post.


Facebook - is the largest social networking system. Over 1 billion people use Facebook. It is different from the blog in that many people can post. You will want to set up a page for your Sister City and then network with your members and Sister Cities who use Facebook. Invite your members to join or like your page and encourage them to post.

The Sarasota Sister Cities Facebook Page

Florida Sister Cities is on Facebook

So is International Sister Cities

Pictures are worth a
1,000 words. Pick photos of your community that look good and are recognizable. It is nice to use photos that your members have taken. Reach out and ask your members to provide you attractive photos, then use them on your blog and social media. is used by numerous professionals and is a good way to network. You will want to start a LinkedIn page.  It is pretty simple. You will write short messages on your LinkedIn page directing people back to your blog. Our Sarasota Sister Cities LinkedIn address is is also very popular. Use it the same way that you use your LinkedIn page - directing people back to your blog. Our Twitter address is!/SarasotaSisterC  Note that we could not use our full address on this page - Twitter does not allow longer addresses. is a rapidly growing social marketing platform.  Pinterest is great for posting photos about your organization with short stories explaining your Sister City organization Tom Halbert and Gayle Maxey of Sarasota Sister Cities have used Pinterest very effectively to tell the story about our Chapter.

You can also use direct email to your contacts. I usually just send a link to our blog to our contacts with a short message so if they are interested they can go to the blog, or if not, they can just delete the email. You should send the email to "An Undisclosedlist of Your Town Sister City Members" with the actual addresses to a bcc address - that way spammers won't pick up the addresses and harass your email contacts.

It is your choice whether you use a simple email format or one with an attractive photo or letterhead - the attractive letter head looks nice but takes longer to open and will not work on everyone's computer.

Social marketing is evolving rapidly, but you can get underway quickly with no cost and a little effort. It takes a reasonably computer savvy person a couple of hours to get all this up and running, and then some time to develop a little skill.

The buttons at the bottom of each blog post make it easy for people to send your blog address to their friends on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. You need to be logged into all of your systems for these to work.

You can create lots of different blogs with different looks. A couple of examples below:

I will be glad to help you get going if you need help. Have fun. If you need help contact me at:

Slide Presentation