Greek Life is not the same environment it once was; everything is now online. If a chapter does something, it can be recorded and archived forever. As such, it is important you protect your fraternity’s online image. Here are four ways to maintain your image online:
- Use, But Don’t Abuse Social Media
I encourage every brotherhood to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any new social media platforms. The more outlets you have, the more opportunities you have to improve and maintain your fraternity’s public image. Try to have one executive board member in charge of all the accounts and make sure that member is “somewhat” professional.
These accounts are to show the world your accomplishments and the accomplishments of other organizations. Use: “Congrats to our 13 new members” or “Congrats to (greek org) for (Awesome event or whatever).”
Here is an easy way for your fraternity to blow this:
Don’t say: “Come to XXX Party” or post something in a group that involves secret activities. If it is an event or activity that should be a secret – keep that way.
There is a popular example of this when a chapter was closed due to poor chapter management. This incident started with a photo of women posing in sombreros and mustaches while holding offensive signs. The photo got national attention shortly after members posted the picture on Facebook and other social media sites.
- Acknowledge Sites that Rank Greek Organizations
One mistake every brotherhood makes is they fear online websites that rank Greek Orgs and set up a “tier” system. Every school, big or small, has a system. Everyone knows who is good and bad. They do not need a website.
I recommend telling your members to avoid posting on those sites, but acknowledge if someone posts something valid. If you see a comment such as, “They are ok guys but they have some shy guys and some fun guys,” that is golden. Try to improve member’s interaction with other organizations, and be a bit more open in future events.
I’m a part of a rank 68% fraternity just 5% under one of the most social and active fraternities at my school. The top sororities and fraternities on these sites have pretty bad images. Some comments can be comical and inaccurate, but don’t get too worried. If you have never seen these sites check one out; http://www.greekrank.com/.
Some brotherhoods believe freshmen use these sites to pick their top fraternities, but if a member joins because of a website then you don’t need that guy or girl. If you know your brotherhood has a public image stereotype or problem, you need to try and fix it but these sites are not the way.
- Create Groups on Facebook for the Right Reason
I will say it flat out, use secret Facebook groups for things such as rush groups, chapter events and funny posts, and when partnering with other Greek orgs for events such as Greek Week, Greek Sing, etc.
Don’t use secret groups to post pledging photos or anything illegal or socially wrong. While they are secret, avoid posts that can incriminate your fraternity or certain members. These posts can be misinterpreted and can land your members in a ton of trouble.
- Set a PR Rule for All Members
I cannot tell you how many members have said “I don’t know why so many people dislike us” or “Why everyone thinks I’m …” There is a reason, it is probably because you have an image and members continue to project it. If your brotherhood really wants to change, you need to change your public image with individuals.
Setting PR rules is the best way to start change. To whomever you give this power, it is a good idea to allow them to ask members to remove certain posts via Facebook if they are not seen as appropriate. You cannot succeed if your organization is sending certain messages, but one or a few members are posting items that send a different or offensive message.
Due to technology’s growth PR chairs are playing a bigger part in Greek Life. If you disagree, here are two cases where a brotherhoods public image was ruined due to members misusing social media.
The first is a chapter which was investigated because of three members putting a noose on a statue of the school’s first black student. The second is a chapter involving their minutes being leaked. The minutes were offensive to women and demonstrated an unacceptable chapter culture.
Both cases are extremely offensive and led to investigations that destroyed the reputation of both brotherhoods. By reevaluating your image and speaking with your members, you can both improve your image and avoid catastrophes.
– This article was written by Michael Barbalace, a brother of Chi Phi Fraternity and contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com.