I serve on the Council of the Society of Australian Genealogists and one of the issues we are facing, as do all similar societies, is how to attract new members in the digital age.
I created a page on FaceBook a few months ago for the Society which you can see here. I created a group first, not realising that a page would be better. As of last night the group had 76 members and the page had 40 fans.
Not going to save the Society that way, am I!
Last night I bit the bullet and experimented with ads for the Society page. I have targeted it at people in Australia of any age and any gender, resulting in a target of about 200,000 people. I used the keywords “genealogy”, “family history”, and “research”. I left the default amount for cost per click and changed the maximum per day to $5, down from $25.
The results are encouraging, but it is an expensive way to advertise for a NFP (Not For Profit) to sustain, especially if the costs are being borne, as currently, by a volunteer, ie, me. I can afford $5 per day for a couple of days, but not as an ongoing campaign, and neither can the Society.
Here are the results so far:
In the 14 hours since the campaign started we have increased the number of fans by two as the result of 10 clicks on the ad (if I am reading the results correctly) for a cost of USD3.91.
Of course, new fans of the FaceBook page doesn’t translate to new members of the Society, and it is just as likely that the two new fans are current members of the Society who hadn’t known we had a presence in FaceBook.
I will leave it running a bit longer, and then I will change the parameters to target older people, who are statistically more likely to be interested in family history. Of course, I have a weekend coming up tonight which may change the results.