Vibrant visuals, warm personal stories, and the instant connectivity of social media turned out to be a wildly winning combination for the Frederiksberg Toastmasters club, which recently conducted an all-online membership drive that grew the club by 35 members in less than one program year.
The club, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, now has 55 members and is the largest club in the country. Musna Jensen, who was Club President and Vice President Public Relations during the drive, credits its success to the vigorous, consistent use of Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Both platforms are heavily used in the Nordics,” Jensen explains. “They gave us tremendous visibility, credibility, and ways to showcase our club, along with a way to instantly connect with people who wanted to know more about Toastmasters.”
For the campaign, the club amped up the content of its Facebook and LinkedIn pages and invited the world in for a look at its lively club culture. Eye-catching photos showed members in their element enthusiastically interacting. New videos featured young members inviting guests to join their journey. Each week, Jensen posted intriguing meeting details and made sure all online inquiries were answered in a quick, welcoming manner.
One of her main goals was to “demystify” Toastmasters for potential guests. Many were drawn to the messages but had little to no idea what the organization offered.
“When I invited guests online, I tried to give them as many details upfront regarding what they should expect on their visit,” Jensen says. “I also answered a lot of questions in direct message. Both strategies drove a higher number of guests.” LinkedIn drew the most response, as many respondents were young professionals, looking to advance their careers with confident speaking skills.
As club leaders prepared their marketing strategies, they discussed why people who didn’t know Toastmasters would want to join.
“We found a lot of people want to improve speaking skills but don’t know where to start or are just too intimidated. And they weren’t clear on how Toastmasters could help,” Jensen says.
“We knew we had to make the club very relatable to spike the interest of the curious and the terrified,” she adds. “Our first job was to educate and elevate.”
Even Jensen was surprised at social media’s power to do just that through posts, reposts, conversations, tagging, and other community sharing. “Trust is a big factor in Denmark and coming to our sites and seeing someone they know, and hearing our members’ stories made us very relatable,” she notes.
The club’s appeal, both online and subsequently in real-life meetings, led many visitors to sign up on the spot.
“A lot of the conversions happened at meetings,” Jensen said. “Guests felt the quality of it all exceeded their expectations—and felt our members gave them a sense of belonging.
“Also, a lot of people’s initial doubts about how exclusive the organization was, or how advanced someone needed to be to join, were quelled when they could see different speakers with varying levels of communication skills take the stage in a single meeting—and all got the same level of support from the audience.”
With new members settling in and starting to set their individual goals, the club is now focusing on a vigorous onboarding program. It lasts six months and sets specific milestones for the mentor/mentee to reach along the way. Jensen wants to be sure there’s never a disconnect from what people see online and the actual club experience.
Following the success of the recent membership drive, the club had to cap its membership due to limited capacity. There’s a waiting list to join.
In this 2022 webinar, hear strategies and collaborate with fellow officers to help grow your club.
Stephanie Darling is a former senior editor of and frequent contributor to the Toastmaster magazine.