Social media marketing is one of the most significant shifts in the process of selling goods and services.
Therefore, it is the most significant shift in the process in discovering new products and services to purchase.
Freemasonry can take full advantage of this shift and use social media marketing techniques to introduce the value of membership to a whole new generation.
This article outlines the process to define and set up a social media marketing process for a Private Masonic Lodge.
Social media marketing has three tasks:
offer the reader some inspirational ideas
provide a route to market
signal a clear call to action
Some of you would now have swiped on to the next article in horror of using social media to attract new members.
In last month’s article [Unknown Candidate] we discussed preparing members in the lodge to accept enquiries from the unknown candidate. This can, and does, require a change in mindset for many lodge members.
This article examines the process of attracting the unknown candidate to make the first enquiry.
The third article next month, looks at the process required from first contact to initiation and beyond.
When social media communications is undertaken correctly, it has a positive impact and can provide very good results.
When social media communications is undertaken badly, at best it has no impact at all – most Masonic social media marketing falls into this category. At worst it can have a negative impact.
Some Grand Lodges around the world are proactive in using social media in order to attract new candidates. Some Grand Lodges forbid the use of social media altogether. Others are either not convinced, or are unsure of the process.
Here is a (modified) presentation I gave to a group of Lodge members at a recent Masonic Communication Workshop. (lodges are governed by UGLE.)
Freemasonry is not for sale….
…. it is not a product
…. it cannot be sold
However, membership is a product like any other product.
Membership can be sold, as it has the same attributes as any other product.
Therefore, we need to separate Freemasonry from membership.
The first challenge is to understand how we use social media marketing to sell membership for private Masonic lodges. We need to start by understanding the selling process; selling is a process of steps.
First, identify potential customers; in our case this will be potential new members for initiation.
Second, we need a process to handle the initial enquiry.
Third, a process to take the customer through to order confirmation, in our case that will be the initiation into Freemasonry.
In some cases, the selling process is only a few steps and can be completed quickly.
In other cases, a sale is a much longer process taken over many steps:
> each step is a call to action
> the objective is to persuade the potential customer to take the next step in the process
> one step at a time
When correctly presented to potential candidates, social media marketing is one good method of persuasion; persuading a potential unknown candidate to take that first call to action.
The first call to action is for the potential unknown candidate to make contact with the Lodge Membership Officer – this contact could be via email, iMessage, text or even phone call.
Therefore, it is important to have the Membership Officer and procedure in place to complete the primary objective to guide the potential unknown candidate through the whole process.
Does your lodge currently have a membership procedure in place to accommodate an enquiry from an unknown candidate ?
> The initial screening of the unknown applicant who wants to join your lodge.
> Interview teams to get to know the candidate and for the candidate to get to meet various members of the lodge.
> Members who are willing to propose and second the applicant for membership in to the lodge.
> Ability to undertake the ritual in the lodge.
> Fulfil your mentoring obligation for this new member.
Basic Sales Process
All products, services, subscriptions and lodge memberships have the same attributes when it comes to understanding why they are bought….
… and therefore how they are sold.
These THREE attributes are
feature | advantage | benefit
A feature is a specific function of a product, service or subscription that will provide some potential advantage to a possible customer.
But only when that advantage is a benefit, will it have some value for that potential customer; in most cases the advantage with any is to:
Increase, Reduce or Control some aspect of their life.
To be very clear, a benefit to a customer is when a feature can offer an additional advantage, and that advantage can be used by the customer and the value of the benefit outweighs the cost.
Some feature | advantage | benefit examples:
Turbo is a device | that makes a car go faster. | Do you need the extra speed?
256 GB memory | space on a phone for more photos. | Do you take and keep lots of photos on your phone?
5 star rated service | is a high level of customer service. | Do you want that high level of service?
100 gram weight | is a lighter device to hold in one hand. | Do you need to carry the device?
24hr delivery |therefore no waiting for long deliveries. | Do you need next-day delivery?
Eco-green product | reduced carbon footprint. | Do you care about carbon footprint?
Organically produced product |healthy food option. | Do you care about how food is produced?
4K UHD TV screen | for better details in movies. | Do you watch a lot of TV movies?
These are all great product features and offer some great advantages.
But unless you need the advantage a feature offers, then it is of no benefit to you and has no value.
Social Media Posts
Users are bombarded with social media posts on all social media channels. Most posts are just people sharing their own thoughts, ideas, or lifestyle ambitions.
But some do have a commercial purpose. That is to persuade the reader to click, follow up, or learn more – the initial call to action.
In social media posts that have a purpose to persuade the reader to make that initial call to action, the text and images must emphasise the advantage and benefit of the product/service.
If the advantage could be a benefit to the reader, they may take that first call to action.
People buy benefits
Leading with a benefit question in the text, or text in the image (infographic), often acts as a very good qualifier, because if the reader can answer with a ‘yes’ to the question, this will likely persuade them to take the first call to action.
Open the text with:
would you like. .
do you want. .
how about. .
are you ready. .
Alternatively lead with a benefit statement:
adding comfort will . .
healthy eating will. .
learn more about . .
Never start the marketing conversation about yourself or a product feature
Never open the text with ‘We’ or ‘I’.
This will be ignored, and the potential customer will scroll on to the next post.
Try this task, relative to your specific Masonic lodge membership:
list some features
describe their advantages
explain how these advantages could be benefits to potential members
prioritise the list – best features first
Social Media Communication
Every social media message falls into three categories:
External | Internal | Outreach
External – these are messages external to your organisation specifically to attract new members
Internal – these are internal messages directed to your existing lodge members
Outreach – these are messages to reach out to promote the lodge with-in a local targeted set of communities
Every social media post should follow the definition
Intent | Implementation | Impact
Intent – who is the message intended to be directed towards: Potential new members | existing lodge members | wider community
Implementation – which is the best social media channel to reach your intended audience
Impact – Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure the message effectiveness; ignore vanity metrics
Each social media channel has unique characteristics and are better suite for External, Internal, Outreach uses:
To attract new members
To communicate with existing members
To promote the brand/lodge within the local community
Facebook and Instagram can be focused by geographic region and very specific markets. Using geographic focus makes these channels ideal to directly attract new members.
Email is the ideal channel to send documents to existing lodge members.
WhatsApp and Zoom are ideal channels for group chat with existing lodge members.
Twitter is a very effective method of reaching out to a local community; journalists, PR and marketing professionals all have Twitter accounts.
Social Media Marketing for a Masonic lodge
This is a how-to section to produce a social media marketing work plan for a Masonic lodge.
Facebook and Instagram Preparation
Create a library of sales text based on your lodge [FAB]
Create a library of branded images based on your lodge [FAB]
Research Instagram #tag based on your lodge geographic location
Research local Facebook groups based on your lodge geographic location
Create a public facing Facebook Page for the Lodge ( a Private Facebook Group is for lodge members only)
Create a Instagram Account and link to Facebook Page
Create post schedule database – see social media tools for examples
Keep focused on the principle objective -that is to attract new candidates
What are the features, advantages and therefore the benefits for a potential candidate to take the first step to contact your Lodge membership officer:
Socialising – enjoyment & fun opportunity for socialising
Charitable giving – giving back to the community; satisfaction of helping others
Masonic knowledge – lessons in humility; self-improvement
Where to discover potential candidates
When posting to social media channels with a specific objective to attract new members, the posts need to be viewed by people who might have a need that being a member of a Masonic lodge could satisfy.
A significant change in life circumstances which leaves a hole in their social life, such as:
relocation into a new area, need to make a new circle of friendships
retirement, therefore more time to fill plus a loss of work colleagues to socialise with
widowed or divorced makes space for new friendships
Special interest or hobby groups with a high proportion of male activity, such as:
football / rugby
motor sports; cars / motorcycles.
Professional occupation specific – some lodges were formed with members from specific occupation connections, such as:
services – law, health, military
small to medium enterprise (SME) owners
Social media image examples – Instagram
The process to attract potential new members through Instagram is by using hashtags (#tags).
Hashtags are keywords people can search for Instagram to get inspirational ideas; these can be related by the geographic area they live or work in, the business sector they operate in, or sport/leisure activity that interests them.
Be sure of one thing, these readers are not looking at any particular moment to become a Freemason.
They will need some inspirational ideas, something to trigger an emotion or thought in their minds, a solution to fill a need.
Here are some examples:
Social media Instagram feeds
Here is an outline process, to create an Instagram feed, with an objective to attract new potential members.
Start by creating your own set of images with branding and a call to action.
Images without branding or call to action will not attract new customers.
Users are already very familiar with branding in adverts in their feed.
Next, make sure the sales text starts with a short benefit question.
If a potential customer reads the text and answers with a yes, then they are more likely to take a call to action.
If they answer no, then that acts as a good qualifier and will not waste your time.
Remember though, sometimes they answer, no not yet. That might mean this could change at some time in the future.
Then include between 20 – 30 #tags per post. Include some Masonic-related, some geographic-related, and others specific to the image.
Using a scheduling tool to automate this process, suggest posting 1 post per day, every day.
The principle Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is in the ‘reach’. The reach shows how many people saw your post.
Remember – followers and likes are not potential customers. Those who do either or both, are more likely to be Freemasons, which will not help you meet your objective.
Social media image examples – Facebook
The process to attract potential new members through Facebook, requires sharing posts from your Facebook page, to local non-Masonic Facebook groups.
Select news, discussion and ‘what’s on’ groups. Avoid the buy/sell groups.
The process of sharing posts from your Facebook page, to local non-Masonic Facebook groups needs to be undertaken manually. Do not use automation tools, as this runs a very high risk of the account and page being disabled by Facebook.
Here is an outline process, to create an Facebook feed, with an objective to attract new potential members.
Start by joining local non-Masonic Facebook groups, local news, discussion and ‘what’s on’ groups using your lodge page or own personal account.
Use the same images with branding and a call to action produced for the Instagram feed.
Same rules apply to Facebook that images without branding or call to action do not inspire new customers.
Use the same opening sales text as for Instagram.
For Facebook, do not use more that 4 or 5 #tags. #tags are not generally that effective in Facebook.
Start slow – don’t spam the Facebook groups
Share 1 post per day to 1 group per day
1 post to a group every 7 – 10 days
Do not engage in any negative discussions
Block people who post negative responses
Accept that some group admins do not like Freemasonry and you will be removed from the group
Handling the responses through the sales funnel
The sales funnel is the mechanism to direct all social media enquiries to a clear call to action.
This call to action should be to email an enquiry to the Lodge Membership Officer.
This contact could be email, iMessage, text, or phone call.
If your lodge does not have an existing website, or your lodge has an old unkempt website, then use your Facebook page as your sales funnel.
Your Facebook Page should have a clean uncluttered banner image.
Some basic text about your lodge in the info section, just a few lines.
The action button should be linked to your Lodge Membership Officer’s email address.
Expect potential members to contact through Facebook Messenger.
Generally speaking, Facebook do all they can to keep people on their platform; they do not make it easy to jump off. A website is less effective than a Facebook page – so use their communication tools, they are free to use.
If the lodge chooses to use a traditional website, then a one page WordPress blog is an ideal solution, with one email link.
Social Media Marketing – is your lodge social media ready ?
In the third instalment for next month, we take a look at the process required from first contact to initiation and beyond.
Managing the potential unknown candidate’s expectations
Delivering on your promises
Being a Social Media Ambassador for your Lodge or Grand Lodge
Article by: Nicholas J Broadway
Nicholas was initiated into Freemasonry in 1989 in Stonewell Lodge No. 9137, Essex England (UGLE) and was Master in 1995, 2011 and 2016. He also joined other UGLE Lodges and is a PZ in the Holy Royal Arch.
He acquired the title of The Square Magazine in January 2020 and oversees the technical running of the digital publication.
He lives in West Sussex and assists the Provincial Grand Lodge of Sussex Communications Team with Social Media activities.
Unknown Candidate – part 3
Has your lodge accepted an unknown candidate from the internet? …read more
Social Media Marketing
How to attract potentail candidates through social media marketing …read more
making good men better
share the square with two brothers
click image to open email app on mobile device