11 Principles to Craft Your Local Body’s Social Media Strategy

Social media is constantly changing. It seems like every month there’s a new platform trending along with new standards and, of course, new memes. 

The purpose of this post is to empower you to navigate the trends and to make informed decisions about how to engage on social media, no matter what platform you choose. 

Rather than telling you exactly what to say or not say on social media, these 11 principles will help you create your own strategy that will allow the unique gifts of your local community to shine and attract loyal members. 

Principle #1: Start with Why

People aren’t interested in what we do so much as why we do it. 

As O.T.O. initiates and leaders, so much of our attention is focused on producing great Gnostic Masses, initiations, social events, and classes. But we do all these things for a higher purpose: the positive life change that occurs when people attend those Gnostic Masses, undergo those initiations, make positive connections at those events, and learn at those classes. 

It’s what all that great content allows them to go on to do and to be in their own lives that makes people loyal to us. That’s the glue that holds this organization together, and it’s the power that attracts new people to us.

So in everything we say, and in everything we do, we need to consider why we’re doing it. That’s as true of social media as it is of holding a fundraiser, affiliating with a local charity, or even celebrating a Gnostic Mass

Principle #2: Use social media to get people’s attention

The particular kind of positive life change O.T.O. brings to people depends in part upon our ability to get people to attend our events. In order to do that, we need to get their attention. The whole reason we’re on social media in the first place is because that’s where people’s attention is.

Of course you could stand on a street corner and hand out copies of Liber Oz, but that’s not going to be anywhere near as effective as being on social media, simply because the attention of more people is on social media than on any street corner. Social media also offers tools to target attention in certain ways.

The main difficulty we run into getting people’s attention on social media is that we’re competing with other groups and organizations to get their attention. When any of us goes on social media, we spend a lot of time scrolling past content. So an important component of any social media strategy is creating content that will stop a person from scrolling in order to give you their attention.

Principle #3: Repeat = Defeat

I don’t know about you, but I can be lazy when generating social media content. I find a format I like (a certain combination of images and words), and I “stamp off” a few variations on it. 

This is okay to a certain point, but when your content becomes repetitive, people tend to ignore it. How many of your own local body’s social media posts do you immediately recognize and ignore? 

Mix up your style. If your local body has a logo, do not use it on everything. That goes against received wisdom regarding brand recognition. Recognition can also mean something is familiar and safely ignored. 

One common way people break the pattern is to screencap something from one platform (like Twitter) and post it on another platform like Instagram or Facebook. When you see that Twitter format in a FB or IG feed, your brain immediately feels like something is off, so you stop and look.

Another really easy way to stop the scroll is to post pictures of people’s faces. Humans are social creatures. We have neurons in our brains dedicated to facial recognition. Pictures of people’s faces—especially smiling or interacting or expressing an emotion—are more likely to grab a person’s attention than a picture of an object. (USGL policy states you must get the express permission of any individual if you are going to post any recognizable image of them, not in the public domain, on any local body websites or social media pages.)

Principle #4: The 1 in 5 Rule

The main mistake O.T.O. local bodies make on social media is that they tend to use social media primarily for in-person event promotion. They’re trying to use it as a billboard.

The problem is that social media is not a billboard. Billboards are one-way communication. Social media is meant to be used for two-way or multiple-way communication. 

No more than 1 out of every 5 of your posts should be advertisements for in-person events. 4 out of every 5 posts should be content made specifically for social media. 

What we do in person is important and necessary. But think back to principle #1. As important and necessary as our in-person events are, they’re not the ultimate reason we exist. The ultimate reason we exist is to bring a certain kind of positive life change to people. We do that through the gift of the Law. 

In a normal year, we can bring that gift to people on a Sunday evening at Gnostic Mass. But come Monday morning, it’s not as though they stop needing or wanting that gift. 

Thelema isn’t just for Sundays. Thelema is for working through family conflict. Thelema is for important business decisions. Thelema is for tackling life’s frequent frustrations.

Thelema is a total life path. 

The whole reason we do Resh is to remind ourselves four times a day of the Great Work. The whole reason we say Will at every meal is to remind ourselves of the Great Work. 

We need to use social media to bring that spiritual message to people, not just because it’s our duty as O.T.O. to promulgate, but because that spiritual message is one of the most compelling things about us.

Principle #5: Start Meaningful Conversations

There are many ways to do this. 

One approach I used at my local body was to post a question twice a week. Some questions I asked were:

  • What’s a favorite memory you have from your childhood or adolescence of doing magick?
  • What’s your favorite video game of all time?
  • What are your favorite burger toppings?
  • What’s a familiar passage from our Holy Books you return to in times when you need inspiration?

I would usually put the question on a photo and post it to the Facebook page with the question also in the photo’s caption so those who are visually impaired could also easily access it.

These questions would often provoke dialogue not only among our community members but also between our community members and individuals who had been lurking at the edge. It was a fun way to bring people out of the woodwork.

As you can see from the examples, not all of the questions have an explicit spiritual focus.

This is important. Do we sit around only talking about magick and spirituality when we’re at O.T.O. events? Of course not. We talk about all kinds of stuff that’s important to us.

When I first started coming around to O.T.O. events, that people shared interests in common with me that had nothing at all to do with magick was a huge factor in my decision to initiate and to become a permanent member of the community.

The purpose of these questions is to stimulate dialogue that brings that human dimension to the foreground. You’re showing off one of the most compelling parts of your community. That’s not possible to do if the discussion is focused purely on spirituality (to say nothing if you’re only using social as a billboard).

Principle #6: Promote Spiritual Practice

Don’t just invite people to a Saturday evening ritual. Get them to do magick right where they are.

How much time do we waste scrolling endlessly through social media? How cool would it be to get someone to stop in the middle of that to have a meaningful experience, no matter how small? How beneficial would that be for them, and how much would it strengthen their positive feelings toward you?

There are a lot of different ways to do this. 

  • Right now, for the next minute, do a small, silent ritual to connect with your Holy Guardian Angel.
  • Spend the next 60 seconds reflecting on this passage from the Book of the Law: [insert passage here]
  • Make a calendar and cross off every day you remember to say Will at every meal.
  • Start a 30 day LBRP/Star Ruby/Resh/Will/etc challenge.

There are all sorts of things you can do. Use your imagination.

Principle #7: Tell your local body’s story

Again, our people are our strength. People don’t join O.T.O. so much as they join a local body, a local community of practitioners. 

Bring your people and your story to the forefront.

Instead of posting pictures of an altar from a ritual you did, post behind-the-scenes photos of setting up the ritual, of putting on the makeup, of setting up the lights, etc. Have the person who wrote the ritual do a short write-up on what inspired them to do it.

Instead of posting a picture of your Mass team posing together after the ritual, again, post pictures of people setting up, interacting, laughing, looking at one another (not the camera) and having a good time. 

If you had a successful fundraiser, don’t just post how much money you made. Talk about the work that went into it. Talk about the process that led you to want to do the fundraiser in the first place. 

Celebrate your successes, but celebrate the human dimension of those successes. Show the passion. Show the dedication. That’s powerfully attractive to people, and it makes our spirituality look more compelling.

Principle #8: Go deep, then go wide

Do not try to be active on every social media platform. There’s just no way to keep up, and you’re going to just end up copying content from one platform to another without any sensitivity for the strengths and weaknesses of individual platforms.

Pick one platform, and dedicate yourself to it for at least a year. Craft your strategy. Get a rhythm. Become comfortable with it.

If after a year you think it would benefit your local body—again, per principle #1, be sure to stop and have the conversation about why you’re doing what you do—then branch out into one additional platform.

Around 7 in 10 American adults are on Facebook, so Facebook is an obvious place to start. 

Different platforms attract different demographics. There seem to be a lot more young people on Instagram or TikTok. Depending upon who exactly you’re trying to attract, that could also influence your decisions. 

Principle #9: Go from public to private

If you are in local body leadership and have a meaningful interaction with a person on a public post, consider reaching out to that person privately to make a connection, either via direct message or by friending them.

Relationships are the foundation of what we do. It doesn’t matter how good your rituals or classes are. People aren’t going to want to remain part of a community if they can’t build meaningful relationships. 

If a member of your extended community says something in a public post to indicate they’re going through a hard time, consider reaching out to them. Don’t just wait until someone is initiated and paying local dues before you show concern for them. Put your magnanimity up front.

(Guys, you need to do this with other men, too. Not just women. Otherwise it gets weird.)

Principle #10: Document every win

We’re not doing this for lust of result. We’re doing this to bring attention to our innate gifts as Thelemic communities: to let who we are shine. 

That being said, if a conversation on social media leads to a person attending a first event, document it.

If your question about what topping people prefer on pizza leads to a fun Friday night movie and pizza party, write it down. (In fact tell the story on social media on Monday.)

If your 30 day LBRP challenge leads to someone taking baptism next month, document it.

I attended my first O.T.O. event the very same week they published their Gnostic Mass video. Vimeo isn’t really social media, but that was, generally speaking, a success stemming from a compelling online presence. 

Keep track of these things. Double down on what works.

Principle #11: Experiment

Make these principles the driving force of your social media activity for the next year. 

Forget about “likes”. Keep your focus on positive life change. Find ways to document that instead. That’s the real reason we’re here.

O.T.O. local bodies tend to be very small (fewer than 50 people). That can be a huge advantage. It’s much easier to push off in a completely new direction when you’re a small group. It makes it possible to experiment more.

Use that to your advantage. 

As we continue to navigate the greatest communications shift in 500 years, one factor must remain constant: our dedication to our highest purpose. 

The positive life transformation we bring to individuals through our events and through the friendships we form is our most powerful gift. 

My hope is that these principles empower you to use social media in a way which amplifies that gift for a broader audience and helps to sustain strong morale among current members.

Click here or the image below to download a digest version of these principles.

Master Selection Process

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As previously announced, the Electoral College has recently adopted changes to its procedures for the selection and appointment of body masters.

At any time, any OTO member in good standing and of III° or higher may submit to the Electoral College a Mastership Volunteer Application to indicate their interest and willingness to serve as body master. The College will review all applications received and will keep them on file until a change of mastership is requested by the master or otherwise becomes necessary.

Masters who wish for the College to appoint a successor will continue to submit to the College an Application for Change of Mastership. This application has been revised to remove the section in which a designated successor is identified; that section has been superseded by the separate Mastership Volunteer Application.

Upon receipt of an Application for Change of Mastership, the College will consider possible successors from among any who have previously submitted (or may soon thereafter submit) volunteer applications. Masters should encourage those who they believe would be good successors to submit volunteer applications and the College expects that a current master’s feedback on potential successors will continue to be welcome and valuable. To that end, the College will directly solicit feedback from the current master as well as from the chapter of mediation, providing them with a list of the candidates under consideration. Masters are also welcome to provide feedback on potential successors in their statement attached to the Application for Change of Mastership.

The Mastership Volunteer Application and the updated Application for Change of Mastership are available from the USGL Document Control Officer.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the E.C. Master Selection Secretary at Mike.Estell at oto-usa.org

Love is the law, love under will.

The Virtual Valley

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As of this writing seventy percent of local bodies are in the process of moving into what is known as the Virtual Valley. It is seeing regular use and further support resources are soon to begin rolling out, so an increasing number of members are becoming aware of its existence and are wondering what it is all about. I wanted to take a few minutes to give you all the history and vision of the Virtual Valley.

No one joins the Electoral College without some experience in the operations of a local body. Some of us may have ideas or goals for improvement coming into service. Some of us get the opportunity to realize those goals, some learn that we were woefully clueless before serving five or so years. That certainly happened with me. I came in wanting to support the development of local body leadership and specifically to raise local body standards.

Through my service on the College and the Kaaba Colloquium team, I have had great opportunity to observe our strengths and weakness, mine included, over the last eleven years, and I came to some surprising conclusions. Or at least they surprised me.

To raise standards, we didn’t need to just increase the requirements placed on local bodies and expect them to meet them, placing undue pressure on the members to live up to these aspirations. Instead, we needed to provide better resources and more training, and to focus on the development of a strong leadership core from all the initiates interested in one day serving in this capacity.

The College had two committees tasked with the discussion of developing resources for masters and mentors, but they did not seem to be getting anywhere quickly, so as the President of the College, I rolled them into one committee and solicited members from outside the College to participate. Specifically, I solicited seated and past masters interested in the objective.

We started with what they wished they had or had had when starting in the role and issues the College had seen repeat over the years, and as chair of the committee, I started outlining a plan.  It would take multiple years and would culminate with local bodies moving into the U.S.G.L. Workspace in semiautonomous electronic oases, we call the Virtual Valley.

Six months later the pandemic hit. Just as we were about to solicit volunteers for our traveling resources lists, suddenly no one could travel.  We put that project on hold and started looking at what the local bodies needed right then to maintain their communities. The answer was first to provide the ability to stay connected.

So, we would give them the ability to Meet online for free in the U.S.G.L. Workspace. To do this, they needed oto-usa.org emails. We would buy them for all officers of local bodies. I asked the Assistant Internet Secretary what it would cost the Electoral College to buy up to 4 emails for each local body. Turned out, we had enough emails included in the U.S.G.L. workspace to do it for no additional charge. But, with that email came so much more than a calendar and the ability to host a Meet for up to 250 attendees and we had other goals from the plan that could be met at the same time. Resources local masters needed. Resources that would solve recurring issues.

We started rolling out the Virtual Valleys on a voluntary basis at the end of March 2020 and the initiative was announced in the Spring 2020 issue of Agape. Subsequently, at the EC’s Spring Policy and Procedure meeting, I outlined for the College what the Virtual Valley came with and how it could help by providing:

  • email archives that pass from one office holder to the other with ease
  • calendar for online meetings
  • drive space to place all electronic resources in the hands of the body rather than individual members
  • groups for communication between the local and regional leaders, a public announcement list, member lists, and others by request (with proper security settings prescribed for said lists to protect member contact information from accidental public exposure)
  • training sessions on how to use all of the above.

The College voted to mandate the use of the Virtual Valley, leaving the calendar and electronic meeting software as optional, knowing that several bodies had paid services with which they were happy. This was announced on the internal U.S.G.L. policy update elist in June of 2020.

The Resource Development Committee continues to work on resources we plan to roll out over the coming months, including the aforementioned traveling resource lists. It turns out, however, that the first developed resource released in the Virtual Valley after the initial roll-out was not developed by our team, but instead came from the Diversity Task Force of U.S.G.L. This is quite encouraging, as one of the committees’ goals is to provide easy access to resources from across Grand Lodge to the local body leadership, and we are thrilled to collaborate.

If you have any questions, or to set up your local body, do not hesitate to contact me.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

Hattie Quinn