Doing social media isn't necessarily hard, per se, but it can be difficult to do it correctly. Too often as I've worked with churches, ministries, organizations and even businesses on their social media, I have seen 5 consistent issues that short-circuit and undermine their effort and good intentions.
1. They try to be something they are not. Social media isn't about slick marketing - rather it needs to be about authenticity, showing people an authentic, real and genuine vantage point about who you and your organization really are.
2. They start well, yet don't persevere. I have seen too many social media ghost towns - social media sites without any posts or engagement for months or even years. Ministries have good intentions and know that they need to be on social media, therefore they want to try to do everything and be everywhere - yet after a couple of months, they end up doing nothing at all. It actually hurts you and your organization to have social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, that are absent of any content or conversation. It is better to focus on succeeding on one or two platforms that are best for organization - than trying to do everything.
3. No one in their organization has responsibility for it. Who is going to post on your Facebook page? Is it your pastor? Ministry team leaders? Church secretary? What are the expectations? What are the social media guidelines for those tasked with the responsibility? These are all questions that need to be addressed and ironed out as you and your organization begins engaging with social media. Using social media must be an intentional endeavor - it isn't just going to "happen"!
4. They use their social media as just a bullhorn. Social media isn't about shouting at people stuff and announcements. It isn't simply an online newsletter. Certainly social media will inform. It will inform those in your organization about your activities and opportunities. But it must go well beyond that. It must connect. You connect through conversation. You must have a conversation with those who engage you within social media. Are you asking people questions? Are you listening? Are you responding to people's comments or concerns?
5. Their social media is not connected to their greater whole. Your social media platforms should be a part of your entire online presence. They shouldn't just exist out there on their own. For instance, your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest pages should be pointing people to your organization's main website. It should compliment and be an extension of your main site. Yet in return, your main website should be linking and pointing people to your social media platforms. There needs to be synergy and integration among all the parts. Social media needs to part of your organization's entire online eco-system.
Also, if you want some additional social media tips, check out the New Media Project's video of Nadia Bolz-Weber, Eugene Cho, and Tony Lee discussing their social media tips.
Don't forget to follow me and Ministry Best Practices on Twitter! @BillReichart - @BestMinistry