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Overwhelmed By All The Social Media Choices? Here's Some Help!

Perhaps you and your church/ministry are overwhelmed by all the social media choices out there. Where do you start? What is the best use of your time and energy? Certainly not all social media channels are the same. Here are some distinctions and highlights of the big 5 social media platforms.

1. Facebook
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg. As many are probably aptly aware, Facebook is one of, if not the most, recognizable social networking platform in the world. With over 1.4 billion users around the world, just about everyone you’ve ever known, or will ever know has a profile on this platform.

These Facebook Statistics will blow your mind. Did you know?:
  • People share 1.3 million pieces of content every minute
  • 350 million photos are uploaded each day
  • Facebook adds 8 new users per second, or 7,246 people every 15 minutes
2. Twitter
What started as a microblogging site has now become one of the largest social media platforms. It all started back in March of 2006.

Since then, the site has garnered some impressive numbers:
  • 300 billion tweets have been sent since the site’s beginning
  • Average number of followers is 208
  • Tweets including images have 5 times the engagement
3. Pinterest
This social media platform took off like a rocket, literally almost overnight. Despite behemoths like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest became the third largest network in the U.S. within two short years!

Check out these Pinterest statistics:
  • Despite the thinking that most Pinterest users are women, 33.3% of all sign-ups are actually men.
  • 75% of time spent on Pinterest is done with a mobile device
  • There are over 100 million active users
4. YouTube
Yes, not everyone always thinks of YouTube in terms of social media, but it certainly is. YouTube began as an idea drummed up by three PayPal employees who wanted a website where they could upload, share, and watch videos. The domain became active in 2005. It’s incredible how far the site has come since then, behind Google, YouTube is the second largest "search engine".

These YouTube numbers are mind-blowing:
  • There are over one billion users on the site.
  • 80% of YouTube’s traffic comes from outside the U.S.
  • YouTube has paid over $1 billion to partners in revenue
5. Instagram
What started as an iOS exclusive app has since become a mobile and internet icon for sharing images (and now video). It’s a relatively young platform with roots dating back to 2010, but it’s already built up some serious statistics:
  • There are 400 million active users per month
  • 51% of users are male, 49% are female
  • 75% of Instagram users are outside the U.S.
Here are some tips on how to integrate social media into the life and fabric of your church and ministry.

1. Consider where you constituents and audience are present and engaged before you decide what social media channels you choose to add. If most of your audience are engaged with Facebook then it makes perfect sense to be active and participate there. Do you work with youth? Then perhaps Instagram is the place to be since it's demographic skews younger. If hardly anyone in your ministry is on Twitter, perhaps it's best to avoid that platform for the time being. It doesn't do you any good to spend a lot of time and energy talking within a certain social media channel if no one you want to be there and listen is NOT there.

2. Consider your objectives and what you desire to accomplish before you dive in. If you are looking to connect and communicate within your own community, Facebook may be just the right platform to connect with your group and tribe. But, if you are looking to network with other ministry and thought leaders, then you'll probably want to consider Twitter, given that it is a powerful place in which to accomplish that goal. 

3. Use tools to strategically help and assist you. There are all kinds of tools to help you manage multiple social media channels such as Buffer and Hootsuite. These tools aggregate all your social media work in one place. And through these tools, you can schedule posts, monitor the conversations and receive great feedback on how others are interacting and sharing your content.

4. Make sure you ask the question, "How does using this particular social media channel improve the quality of ministry and help move the church's objectives forward?" I believe there need to be 3 ROI Quality Goals and Objectives for Social Media in place before you start. You can read more about that in my earlier post HERE


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