Social media is very visual these days, with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all tweaking their layouts to give a more visually rich experience, coupled with the rise of image-focused sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, to name a few. Selecting good, quality images to post on these channels can be a powerful way to share your club’s or your own Rotary story effectively.
Real photos of your club, its members and the activities you undertake can be one of your most effective ways to “sell” Rotary if handled well. Showcase your members and their achievements, so that other people who see the photos think, “Wow, that looks fun / meaningful / interesting. How can I take part next time?”
What makes a good photo?
To make an impact, you need to carefully curate your photos – don’t upload anything and everything!
Some aspects to keep in mind include:
- Does it look professional? Is it in focus and is the lighting good? Has anything that has been added, such as text or logos, look professional or amateurish? Don’t be afraid to pose a photo for greater impact.
- Is it eye catching? Is there a specific focal point? Is it bright and interesting? Can you adjust the colours and sharpen it in a photo editor, such as Photoshop or GIMP, and have you cropped out anything unnecessary?
- Does it tell a story? Is there something interesting going on? Does it stand out from other photos?
- How do the people look? Are they happy? Do they look bored? Is it a flattering photo of the people involved – and do you have their permission to post photos of them publicly?
Ensure that any fliers of upcoming events are professional as well. Access to a capable graphic artist is a must – if you don’t have one in your club (there’s a great classification to fill!), can you access one through your extended network in your club or district? An eye-catching flier with all the details required (including a web address or QR code for more details / to buy tickets) is the best way to help others easily spread the word about your event.
Make good use of the image description text!
A good image should call attention to your post; what action a user takes next depends on what text you have accompanying your image.
- Is it free of jargon and acronyms, such that someone outside of Rotary can understand what is written?
- Are people, places and relevant organisations tagged, to expand the reach of your post?
- Is there a link they can follow to find out more and perform an action (buy tickets / sign up / donate / express interest in participating or joining)?
- Are useful, relevant hashtags used?
The accompanying text and links should enable anyone seeing the image outside of the context of the original place it was uploaded – for example if it is “shared” on Facebook – to be able to understand the who / what / why / when / where of your message.
My club runs “Paint your Pinkie” days at local primary schools to raise awareness of and funds for polio eradication. Your typical photos of such an event might involve the Rotarians attending lining up and having a photo taken with the school principal / teachers and possibly some students (how many smiles are there likely to be?), or possibly an action shot of fingernails being painted purple, where the main thing you can see are the backs of people’s heads. Here’s a couple of colourful photos that are much more eye catching:
Rotary does involve a lot of dinners, so some photos of the more “traditional” Rotary activities is to be expected… but again, think about what you wish to convey with such photos. Is everyone happy, having a good time? What mix of ages and nationalities are there? What was fun or different?
Members are the lifeblood of your club, and each member has an interesting story to tell: why they joined Rotary, what they love about Rotary and what they do outside of Rotary. Showcase your (happy!!) members individually with their stories, and capture your new members joining Rotary – if you are regularly inducting new members, your club must be worth joining, right? Endeavour to break the stereotypes of Rotary: showcase young members, female members, members doing something other than sitting at a table or by a lectern or cooking sausages.
Photos handing over a cheque or rattling tins to raise money are not very exciting. What hands-on projects have you participated in? What have any funds raised been used for? Tell a story showing any tangible outcomes of projects, to help strike a chord with others who may want to help too.
What can you showcase?
There is so much you can highlight about your club and your personal participation in Rotary. What photos do you share?
I originally published this article on rosnf.net on 6 August 2014.