How To: Web Presence 101
Web presences are important! In fact, they're so important that we here at the SSA feel that every SSA affiliate group needs to have some kind of publicly available web presence online. We list public web presences for each affiliate on our affiliates list so that people outside your group (like off-campus groups, journalists, donors, and alumni) can find your group. Please note that group email addresses are no longer publicly available on our public affiliates list, which makes having a listed web presence all the more important.
Why is this important?
- It allows people to find your group. If you have some kind of publicly available web presence, that means anyone who is interested in your group will be able to get in contact with you. This can be individuals from the media, departments at your school, potentially interested students at your campus, and other national organizations such as SSA who might want to help you out.
- It makes it clear that there is a community for secular students at your school. If your web presence can be found online, this means that people know you exist! It helps to reinforce the idea that secular students are all across the country and also at your campus. And again, it allows interested parties to find you.
- Promotion. A web presence can be a very useful tool to advertise meetings and events to members or the general public. It also allows your group to communicate with the outside world on just what types of events and ideas you promote and take part in.
Basic (and simple!) needs for having a web presence.
- It must be publicly available so it can be found via Google and other methods. Often, Facebook pages are the best choice because of this and other reasons (though that is not to say you shouldnt also consider having a closed or secret Facebook group for your members in addition to a page). Other options include a SSA-hosted page, Groupspaces, and more. If you do choose to use a Facebook group, make sure that it is not a .edu group as this type of group prevents all users without your school's .edu email address from joining.
- Your public web presence should contain some very basic information on your group. It should include, at minimum, the group's name and campus, a description of what the group does, a way to contact the group's leadership, and information about your events and where to find you.
- It is also critically important that the web presence be maintained regularly. If your group's last update was from 3 months ago, it creates the idea that your group is no longer active. Be sure to have someone in your group as the designated person that maintains and updates your web presence(s) - ideally, it should be listed in the responsibilities for a specific officer position.
Where can I find more information?
- For a ton of information on what works and doesn't work, best practices, and more information than you can shake a stick at, check out this page.
- Your group has a ton of options on what kind of social media presence to use. This link lists several of the most popular options with SSA affiliate groups and offers ideas and tips on how to effectively run and manage each of them.
- For tips and ideas on what kind of website or blog to run (or if you should have one at all!), check out this link.
- Do you have questions or need help in moderating Facebook discussions and comments? Click here for some ideas on how best to do that.