Often when parishes, dioceses, and ministries decide to set-up a Facebook Page or Twitter account or start a blog they give very little thought to the time and effort needed to produce quality content that their constituencies will read. The assumption is that whatever we offer will be well received and will achieve OUR communication goals. What many ministry leaders don’t think about is that followers have THEIR OWN goals and expectations. Readers are free to ignore us, click away and/or stop following if our content is boring, repetitive, self-serving, or useless.
Our messages need to fit our audiences. Our communities and ministries often serve a variety of needs and usually our social media audiences are composed of people with shared as well as unique interests. One of our challenges is to choose messages around the shared interests of followers. We can help people broaden their shared interests through our posts and writings—but always rooted in the shared interests that align with our organization’s mission and/or charism.
Social media allows us to reach out to people who may not be in front of us every day, but may be open to a digital connection, a welcoming word and from time to time an explicit invitation. Don’t miss the opportunity to expand your audience on social media. Here we can be present, pro-active and responsive to people 24/7. We want to delight our followers with posts that lift their spirits, give them new insights, and keep them informed about the people and events that interest them. Try thinking about “delighting” your audiences more often and you will find yourself thinking differently about your posts.
Content needs to fit the distribution channel. We use text on blogs to tell a story, explain a truth or value, share expertise, etc. Facebook and Instagram are primarily visual platforms, so we use well-chosen images and videos with brief descriptions. Twitter allows us to text up to 140 characters which can include a link, an image or a video (up to 30 seconds long). Our message needs to fit the platform.
Our writing, whether it is 140 characters for Twitter, a short Facebook description or 500 words for a blog, needs to be well thought out, addressed to the audience, accurate, clear, concise and interesting. It can also be lighthearted, touching, and inspiring when the topic calls for that.
Ministry social media platforms are for expanding our ministry to the digital world—where we can connect with those who know us as well as with those who want to know us better. Let’s write and post accordingly.
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