We can be more effective with social media ministry if we take the time to plan our posts. Now is a good time to consider all of the opportunities that we will have to educate, inspire, and encourage the readers of our social media sites during the next three months.
When I tell people that promotions (come, buy, sign-up for, attend, etc.) should be a small fraction of what we post, they often seem confused. Today’s online marketers recognize that people want value in their posts more than sales pitches. This is true for the followers of our online ministries as well.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs are platforms where we can catechize and evangelize around current events, seasons, and the liturgical year. I recommend that sometime this week you set aside an hour to plan out the value driven posts for your social media sites for October, November and December. Have at hand a liturgical calendar, a regular calendar, your parish, religious community or ministry calendar and make note of the following:
Popular Feasts: i.e. St. Francis of Assisi, Guardian Angels, Our Lady of the Rosary, All Saints, All Souls, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas, etc.
National Days: i.e. Elections, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, etc.
Seasons: Advent, Christmas
Special Events: i.e. Synod on the Family (October 5-19), Communal Reconciliation Service or Anointing of the Sick, outreach to or collections for the poor, launch of the Year for Consecrated Life (Nov. 21), etc.
After you have your list, determine which of these days or events you want to give special attention to through your social media sites. What values can you share around these events? Do some research to enrich your posting. Do you have or can you find images associated with the saint, event or season? Get your thoughts and images organized and make a posting schedule allowing enough time to gather your information and images. Be realistic. If you can only do something special for one or two events a month, then do that.
Remember, don’t be too wordy. A link to a good article or video, a quote and an image, a short reflection with an image can be enough. Once you have surfaced these focus points, you will be amazed how often something related to them will come your way. And in time, you will find resources that you turn to again and again.
Think about your ministry Facebook cover photo. It is good to change it a few times a year. Will you be doing anything special for Thanksgiving? Can you make that your November cover photo? What about Advent and Christmas? Will you have some sort of Come Home for Christmas campaign on social media? Can your Facebook cover photo be part of that? Now is the time to plan it.
And of course, be open to the moment. Often something will come up that deserves a special post–take the time and make it. For example, a few months ago, a very popular entertainer committed suicide. A Facebook post which contained a link to a pastoral and compassionate article on the Catholic Church’s stance on suicide was viewed by over 2200 people on a parish page. Take advantage of these teachable and consolable moments, your readers will respond.
Have you thought ahead to what you want to emphasize on social media in the next three months? Please share it with us.
Image: Maria Vazquez/DPC