Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#FGS2013 - How to Grow Your Society Through Social Media

I attended the full set of FamilySearch sponsored lectures during Society Day at the 2013 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This was one:

Social Media ExplainedDevin Ashby and Courtney Connolly gave a presentation titled, “Reaching Out Online: How to Grow Your Society Through Social Media.” Ashby is a community advocate for FamilySearch. Connolly works for FamilySearch Indexing in marketing and communications.

Ashby started off by showing a funny image titled “Social Media Explained.” (Shown to the right.) I confess, it is only funny if you already understand particular social networks. But if you do, it is really funny.

Social media is a way to build online communities. When it comes to social media, think marathon, not sprint. You’re not going to be able to put something together and call it done. Social media is about pacing yourself and having awesome content for months. Consistent, good content is important.

Connolly asked us a series of questions and gave us time to write down answers. The first was, “Why do you want to do social media?”

To do social media successfully, you must have a good content strategy. Think about your audience. What are they looking for and what will engage them?

Visual presentation and conversation are the two keys to Facebook. You don’t want too much text. Include a call to action. is an example of a corporate page.

Twitter posts have to be less than 140 characters. Conversations can take place by referencing usernames following the @ symbol. The twitter page is an example corporate page and the Illinois State Genealogical Society’s is a society example.

YouTube channel: is a corporate example. is a society example.

Google+: DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Community. The Google+ hangout feature is awesome.

Blogging is a great way to reach your audience. You can place your blog on your other social media sites. The FamilySearch blog can be found by scrolling to the bottom of and clicking on Blog. Both Ashby and Connolly failed to point out that The Ancestry Insider blog is an example of blinding awesomeness.

Pinterest: The California Genealogical Society and Library has a Pinterest site:


  1. To be fair (although slightly less funny), perhaps the G+ entry should be changed to "I like to hangout with other donut eaters".

  2. Seems to me our collective problem is getting people to eat donuts - seems people are a bit shy of getting donuts stuck in their dentures...