One of the challenges of publicizing an event, club, or cause as a college student is that you likely have a limited (or nonexistent) budget and a lot of other people competing for the time and attention of the student body. Because of this, the free and easy nature of social media can be an asset if you’re trying to get the word out. However, it can be tricky–here’s how to do it without annoying people or being drowned out by everyone else.

Create a position as social media chair: First step’s first–you have to have someone to coordinate your club’s social media presence, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, where most students are active. A lot of organizations think that marketing will just sort of happen, but with that mindset it’s likely that no one will remember to keep your accounts active. If you have an executive board position with certain responsibilities (tweeting so many times a week, organizing friend lists on Facebook, creating Facebook events, etc.), you’re more likely to see results. Find a student who’s already active on the networks you’re interested in and use them.

Connect with national organizations: This is something that Greek organizations tend to do well–other clubs should emulate it. If you’re a smaller chapter of a national organization (like Amnesty International or something similar), follow your national organization and interact with them on Facebook and Twitter. If you tell them you have an event coming up, they’re likely to republish your information because it makes them look good–it shows they have active chapters. It also gives you free press.

Follow students on campus: Don’t follow everyone you can get your hands on, but if you know of students who are interested in your cause, follow them from your accounts. This will make them aware of your presence, and the ones who really want to keep up with you will follow back and stay abreast of your information.

Get visible: You want people to know that your organization is active online. On all of your paper advertisements (which you should still be posting), include a QR code which will link students to the Facebook event page. Also include your Facebook URL, your Twitter handle, and your website (if you have one). You want to give students as many ways as possible to access your information. 

Unify your members: Tweets and Facebook updates from an organizational account are going to get tiring pretty quickly, because no one wants to read about a faceless organization. So, really strongly encourage your club members to unite in an effort to advertise any events you want to get the word out on. Give them a picture that they can use as their Facebook profile picture for a week. Ask them to post reminders and links to the Facebook event. If you’re polite, your members are likely to do what you ask, and their friends are much more likely to pay attention to your event.

Staying visible and being easily accessible are the most important parts of publicizing, no matter what tool you’re using. With social media, these goals are a little easier to reach.