10 Suggestions for Using Social Media at Catholic Organizations

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on September 7, 2010

in Catholic, ministry, parish, social media, Uncategorized

(Note from Sr. Susan:  Today’s post is a reprint of an article by Craig Berry:  10 Suggestions for Using Social Media at Catholic Organizations. It was posted on Craig’s blog, TechBites, June 17, 2010 .  The suggestions are practical and doable. Be sure to check out the links, they offer a lot of good information.  Craig was kind enough to allow me to reprint this article for the readers of Catholic Web Solutions.  It touches on several questions that came up in our Getting Started Survey. I hope you enjoy it!  Your comments are welcome.)

10 Suggestions for Using Social Media at Catholic Organizations
by Craig Berry

This is not an attempt to convince you that ‘Social Media’ is a worthwhile endeavor. I’m assuming you’ve already passed from denial into acceptance that this new form of communication is here to stay. Still, if you need convincing, try this and this.

The purpose here, is to suggest some ideas on how you might utilize Social Media to communicate more effectively and fulfil the mission of your Catholic organization, whether you are a parish, school, ministry, or non-profit.

Tools You’ll Need:

10 Suggestions to Get You Started:

  1. Copy the ‘Pastor’s Corner‘ usually found in parish bulletins onto a blog on the website. Then add a direct link to it on your Facebook page and send out a Tweet as well. HINT: Almost everything should be concluded with a Tweet that contains a link to your Facebook page or website (shortened of course!).
  2. Fund-raising? Be sure to send out reminders via e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter. If it’s an aggressive campaign, once a week reminders are fine. Otherwise, at a minimum, once a month. HINT: Make sure to explain why fund-raising is important by using concrete examples of the good that has been or will be accomplished.
  3. Spotlight a success story, especially if it was a direct result of #2 above. Blog it, post it on your Facebook page, then Tweet about it.
  4. Take photos and video of your Parish events (Fish Fry, Festival, Charity Projects, etc.). Post them on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr…and then Tweet it. This is a great way for guests and visitors of your site to see your vibrant community in action.
  5. Mass/Confession times. Be sure to make this highly visible on your website and Facebook page. If there are seasonal or Holy Day changes, get the word out on your website, Facebook, e-newsletter — then Tweet it.
  6. Volunteer and Employment positions. Not only should they be announced on your website, but don’t forget Facebook and Twitter and e-newsletter.
  7. School closings due to weather. Website, Facebook and Twitter.
  8. General announcements and news. Bulletins and mailings are OK, but for more immediate action use your e-newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter.
  9. Share inspiration. Have you come across a website, story, quote, picture or video — something that has inspired or encouraged you? Share it on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. We all need these from time to time, but don’t go overboard.
  10. Educate. Make people aware of and explain to them how an issue might affect them. Maybe it’s an upcoming legislative session or something to do with changes in the Liturgy. Use the blog, Facebook, and Twitter to inform.

As you probably noticed, these are 10 ways to use Social Media to “Get the word out”. It’s also important to use these tools to get feedback. Be sure to include an easy way to contact you on your website. Listen and respond to comments and messages on Facebook and Twitter. Remember, this is Social Media. If it’s just a one-way street of you promoting your content and info, people may just stop listening.

Lastly, if you’re just getting started, it may seem a bit overwhelming, but it isn’t. If you truly make the commitment to utilize these new methods of communication and evangelization, you will find a way to incorporate these tools into your daily workflow and it will become second-nature.

Craig Berry is the website coordinator for The Catholic Spirit in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and also does freelance web development.

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