Northwest Network - Spring 2014

Facebook is not dead: discover new ways to integrate your facebook presence and your website presence so they are both more effective.

Saturday, 22 February 2014: 9:30am-5:00pm

Lakewold Gardens
12317 Gravelly Lake Drive S.W.
Lakewood, Washington 98499

Morning portion of the workshop:

Kieran and Sherri Murry of Ignite-U 365 lead the workshop employing their years of experience in networking and communication. The discussion was directed primarily by questions from the audience.

Kieran began by differentiating a Facebook profile and a Facebook page and indicating how they are coordinated to aid you in your outreach to your community.

The most fundamental basis for participating on Facebook is a personal profile. Using information about yourself and events you chose to highlight, you define your profile. Then you add friends, which is rather like developing a contact list for an email account. You are able to communicate with your list of friends all at once by posting information and photos or you can send a message to a particular friend. By creating groups you can communicate with select portions of your friends quickly and easily.

Once you have a profile you can create a “page” and there are several templates for pages. Most of the GCNN group would be creating a page for an organization. A page offers you the means of introducing your organization on Facebook and listing events that your organization is sponsoring. You can also include videos and run contests using your Facebook page. If you want assistance in creating videos for your website you can try Fiverr: They will work with you to create great videos reasonably.

Your Facebook page can be linked to your website page.  The posts you create for your Facebook page are not sent to the friends list associated with the profile used to create a page.  Rather a page-post will be visible to those who have “liked” the page. When you post something, that post will be sent to a small percentage of those who have liked your page.  If those who receive the post like it, then Facebook administrator will send it out to more of those who have liked your page.

To share a page-post or and upcoming event quickly, use the friends list associated with the profile you have created.  The message you send may refer people to the website for further information if you see fit.

There are businesses, such as Short Stack:, which are able to work with you to monitor visitation to your Facebook page, run contests, and boost the number of people who will receive your posts.

If you choose to use Facebook to promote an event your organization is planning, a message can be sent to your friends list announcing the event and referring the recipient to your website for further information and registration.    If you website is not set up to handle reservations and payment for events, then there are businesses, like Eventbrite:, which can assist you with those aspects of running an event.

Kieran advised that if administrators at Facebook discover that an individual has more than one personal profile, both profiles will be deleted along with their friends list and any associated pages.

Kieran also offered some clues on how to integrate and coordinate your organization’s Facebook page with your website.  The website is best used to give an overview of your organization and reinforce the public’s understanding of its mission and vision.  As already suggested if you have an arrangement with Pay Pal or other online payment mechanism, you can integrate your Facebook outreach for events with your website. Facebook is best used to keep people current about what is happening with your organization on a monthly or weekly basis.   Use Facebook to reach out to your community.  It is possible to build that friends list to augment your email contact list.  Include people interested in your organization that you know to prefer Facebook for their communications.

One very effective way to reach out to our gardening community on a regular basis is through photographs which document the seasonal expression of the flora that is important to your organization and its community.  Having excellent photographs of public gardens and plants of horticultural interest is useful for Facebook and for your website.  One of the GCNN members suggested that they were developing a special membership for photographers.  This preparation includes a contractual agreement with each photographer which allows the garden the use of the photographer’s images with acknowledgement, for the organizations print and online efforts. 

If your organization can develop a good working relationship with some professional photographers, then you will be able to post eye catching pictures to your Facebook page if not your website on a regular basis.

For garden opens or for horticultural events, if you post signs so indicating at the entrance to the event, you can tag and post the public’s experience of your event.  This evidence of people’s enjoyment of what your organization sponsors is fun to share and much enjoyed.

If you have volunteers that use Facebook, friend them and create a Facebook group which you can use to communicate with them and they can use to communicate with one another.

In your outreach effort, learn from those whom you are interested in reaching which forms of social media they prefer.   Much of what we have learned regardeing Facebook can also be applied to the use of other services similar in their function to Facebook.  Many people prefer to use Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Vine.  If your “crowd” is using Pinterest, then your organization should too. 

The real service that Facebook or other similar social media offer to your organization’s outreach effort is the ability to initiate direct contact with your community (similar to employing email).  Your website is passive in this regard; you must rely on your community to visit your website.  However, your website, well designed, offers so much more information about your organization than is possible given the capacities of Facebook. Thus, when you employ them together, your organization is better empowered to reach the goals you have in mind for it.

Someone who attended the workshop sent me this link to a video on YouTube.  I am including it in this summary of because it demonstrates what can happen if you pay Facebook or another entity to “increasing the likes to you Facebook page”.  It is not something you want to do. Watching the video is useful as it does inform you of how Facebook handles Facebook posts and how likes affect the size of the audience which sees a post. The URL is:


Afternoon portion of the workshop: PR, the Nitty Gritty


Ben Sclair led the afternoon portion of the workshop. Since 1999, he has run his family’s publishing business, General Aviation News.  Additionally in 2005, Ben launched a website and email newsletter, The Suburban Times. Today the Suburban Times has more than 10,000 readers each month.  In its 8.5 years of existence more than 20,000 stories have been posted to its webpage  Ben shared what he has learned in a lifetime of creating news.  He discussed what it takes to make contacts with those who write the “news”, how to give them what they need, thus how to evolve such relationships so that your organization is in the news.

Ben borrowed for his presentation from a slide show entitled, “Hack the Press: How to do PR for Startups”.  He recommends the presentation, which can be found at the following URL:

First step in your PR effort is to create a media list which includes publications, radio stations, TV stations, and other media outlets in your community that you think might respond to your requests for publication of stories and publicity.  Include the full name of the contact person, a phone number, and an email address.  To expand your media list talk to friends with similar interests and members of your organization and do web searches to find blogs or online news outlets that publish articles on topics relevant to your organization that reach “your” audience.  Search on Facebook also, many media organizations have a presence on Facebook.  Follow the people and publications you think can help you get your word out. If you can help them by promoting what they publish and commenting on what they have done, do so. Additionally it you are aware of some newsworthy event, you know they would like to publish let them know about it even if it does not concern your organization.   This builds a solid relationship with the people and the organizations that will aid your public relations effort.

You also need to determine which stories and what news you want told.  You need to be strategic in your decisions because the time and effort required limits what you can do.  For small news-bits or an event announcement, you can create a press release and send the same announcement to all or a number of the outlets on your list.  For “bigger stories” or a major announcement it is better to pick a particular outlet and customize the pitch you make to them, giving them an exclusive on the story.  Make them aware that you are doing this. Knowing that the article is an exclusive will justify an organization giving air time or column space it takes to develop a bigger story. 

Know the publication style, tone, and approach of all the publications on your list.   Know this as well for each or the journalist with whom you are working.  Model your news bit or article on that of the publication you approach and journalist with whom you want to work.  For any longer article you will want to mimic the style of those with whom you work, it makes it easy for them to work with you.  Less editing is required for them.

In all instances you need to design what you want published or told strategically by a fierce focus on the heart of the news you want to get out.  Journalists are busy people so the more quickly they get your point and the less they need to rework what you want told the better for you both.

The subject line or headline should make evident to its reader that the story or the information they are about to read is newsworthy.  Pick the media outlet most likely to think that your news is newsworthy, particularly when you make a pitch for a “bigger” story. 

What is newsworthy? If your organization has created a new partnership, or is starting a capital campaign, or hosting an event, or has a story with “human interest”, then you have news.

For a short piece state the news in a subject line: “The Lights of the Solstice is back again this year from 1st of December through the 1st of Jan with a new twist.”  Keep the formatting in the news clip simple (for example no all capital words).  The less editing necessary on the part of the publisher, the more probable you news bit will be published. And keep the message short; do background information on the history of the organization.

In a “bigger” article it is alright to have background information about your organization, but the background introduction should relate directly to the story supporting why the story is a big one.  When pitching a bigger story, a follow up call after you have sent the article to the outlet you have chosen is a good practice.  Or you might call the organization first to see if you story fits into their publication schedule, the staff might give you ideas about how to focus the article.

If your announcement, article, or news bit is verbose and includes information that is only tangentially related to the heart of the story, it is likely the journalist at your target publication will not even read it.  Media outlets operate in a very competitive environment and the staff is very pressed for time.  By contrast, if you know their style and your “copy” is like their “copy”, the staff can cut and paste what you want published into their paper or blog and your word is out.

If you include photos in your article, make sure the photos are in the format used by that publication and of a size that is appropriate.  Put images on Flickr or in Dropbox or include them on a CD when you send the article so that the staff can easily access view and choose the photo images they want.

You will learn much as you go how to work with the media you seek.  Keep it short, simple and easy for those whose services you seek.  Follow the media you want to use and know what they need and want; it will help you get your works out in public.


General Meeting:


The GCNN received a grant from the Pendleton and Elisabeth Miller Charitable Foundation for 5000.00. The grant helps greatly with the annual expensed for the organization.  This grant and the membership fees of 100.00 per annum per organizational member fund our activities.

The Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin published an article on the activities of the Garden Conservancy in the Pacific Northwest in its winter 2014 issue.  The article is available in electronic form and you may request it from Tanya DeMarsh-Dodson.

Website: Thanks to Ben Streissguth’s efforts, the website will now load equally well on a smart phone, a tablet or a computer.  Additionally the GCNN website is now a stand alone website, it is no longer found in the Preservation Project portion of the Garden Conservancy website, thanks to Ben this too.

GCNN Member survey: I am still intending that this survey will happen this spring.    It will come to you through Survey Monkey if all goes well. 

Workshop for autumn 2014:  The GCNN autumn workshop will be at Leach Botanical Garden in Portland OR. The date or the workshop is Saturday 8 November 2013.   The topic is being determined by vote of the GCNN members.

Workshop for spring 2015:  The workshop for spring of 2015 will be at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens on Saturday 21 February.

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Last update: 18 February, 2018