Pastor’s 10 Minute Jump Start Guide to Social Media
Many pastors are aware of the tremendous outreach potential of social media, but the pressing needs of leading a congregation often leaves them asking, “Where do I begin?” If this is you, I suggest you try the four simple tasks I’ve outlined below. By investing just a few minutes every day, you’ll be thoughtfully connecting with people and strategically expanding your network without becoming an irritant.
- Participate: Each day, look at your social networks and seek out ways to be involved with people in the space. Surf through the profiles of other people in your networks and read their tweets, blog posts, etc. If there is an appropriate way you can comment, reply to a post or two and if you’re on Facebook, show your appreciation by clicking “like” whenever you’re able. At times, you may need to send someone a direct message if your thoughts aren’t meant for public consumption. By participating with other people you are truly being active in your network. Find at least four ways to participate each day and only comment or respond with sincere participation.
- Network: Social networking is about relationships. Social media networking is about reaching out to the people you want to engage with the important message of the gospel. Do your research and find new people to follow each day. If you find 1-2 people who fit the profile of those you are trying to reach, connect with them! Remember, it’s not the number of people in your network, it’s the type of people and your relationship with them that matters. Each day is a new opportunity to look for people to follow on Twitter, add in Facebook, or connect with over LinkedIn. You can also connect with others by tagging someone in your network in a picture, video, or note. Using Twitter #hashtags gets your message in front of people in a way that is unique to your ministry. You can see examples of this by following important ministry or community-related hashtags. This will also create an opportunity for you to follow people who are engaging in the conversation(s).
- Share: This is the part where you find something that already exists on the web that may interest those in your network. Perhaps you will embed a video in a blog post, share a website link, or recommend a book. Go viral with something! If someone makes a good point on Twitter, retweet their message by clicking the RT button, or using “RT” in front of the post. Take some time each day to share something, at least twice, with those in your networks. By posting everyday, you remain visible and active.
- Create: People often think they have to come up with something profound everyday. Actually, just commenting about your day or work will often suffice. People need to hear from you! Not just about what you think is good, funny, or important. Once per day you can send a tweet, update your status, post a candid shot, or other original content. About three times per week, write a blog post and link to individuals and pages in your networks. A blog post can be 25-500 words, depending on your mood and workload
If each week (say, five days per week) you did these 10 tasks per day, you would be active over 50 times in front of your network every week! Your network would be expanding in a healthy manner by reaching targeted new people. By the end of the year, you’d have hundreds of people in your network with whom you have meaningful contact. The balanced nature of this approach will keep you from being overwhelmed and guard against your being a nuisance to the people in your network by publishing too often.
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