Traditionally we start our church organizations to impact our communities or even have a national presence but very rarely do we realize that once you create a website or social media account, you become an international organization. Social Media is one of the best ways to reach people with your message because it allows you to reach people right where they are at, on their social network of choice, and let the information flow from your organization to their social profile. Additionally, very few organizations understand how important their ministry content is to people, who are in areas where they cannot worship openly and proclaim their faith, thus leaving them worship in online settings and utilize online content to help them in their spiritual walk. Organizations should strive to reach people wherever they are at, on whatever network they are on, via any device they pick up. This is the opportunity that social networks give us. While working with T.D. Jakes Ministries I have had the great opportunity to see the impact of social media and how it can impact millions. When I arrived at the ministry in Jan. 2010 the ministry’s main outreach focus was television, conferences and church letters, now fast-forward to Jan. 2014 with 2.2M Facebook fans, 1.4M Twitter followers and over 5M YouTube views, we have integrated social media into every aspect of our ministry and no matter how you connect with us, we inform you about our social media networks. One of the great ministry stories I’ve seen using social media is when Bishop Jakes decided to start a prayer chain one morning, he started with a prayer that he posted on Facebook and asked people to add to the prayer and about two hours later with over a million views and 50,000 shares, real time ministry had blessed numerous people via social media.
Which Network is the Best? Is it Facebook and their one billion users? Is it Twitter and their easy-to-use network? Is it Pinterest and their Pictures and Videos? Is it YouTube and their massive video network? Which one is it? Well, the answer is simple: the best social network is whichever one your organization knows how to use. That’s the hard part for organizations to grasp when they start social media: start with the network that your staff knows best. The Social Network your organization should be on depends on your content, where your audience is and capability to use the network. If you have a just a small amount of content and the people you have on staff know Twitter best, then start on Twitter. If you have people on staff that are familiar with Facebook then use that social network. Ask your audience which networks they use the most and get started there. You don’t have to be on ALL of them but it’s good to be on as many as your staff can handle. If you can only be on one network, then make the most of that network until you get the ability to expand to more.
What Should We Post? To give you some guidelines, here are four focal points in establishing your organization’s message via social media:
Inspiration - Make sure to provide inspiration and motivation via your social networks. These are the best types of posts. Whether they are quotes or photos with encouraging words on them, everyone wants some type of inspiration in their life.
Information - Provide information about your organization via your social networks. Don’t assume that everyone reads your website or saw your eblast. Distribute the information about events and other happenings via your social networks. You can also repurpose flyers, newsletters, eblasts and other marketing materials and send them out via social networks.
Communication - Social media is “Social,” therefore it should be a two-way communication. If you post to a network and people comment, ask questions and take time out of their busy day to respond, then make sure your organization takes time to acknowledge them and respond back. Don’t appear too arrogant to respond to your social network fans, even if you don’t have the staff or time to answer every comment or question. At least answer some. Show that the organization sees their comments/questions and cares.
Consistency - The network that you push content out to your online users is irrelevant if there isn’t a consistent strategy behind it. The networks will come and go but the strategy remains the same, make sure the content from your organization flows consistently via your online properties to your online users.
For more information on this and other Social Media topics, get your copy or How to Get One Million Social Media Fans today.