One of my first assignments as a Director of Religious Education many, many years ago took me to a parish where the pastor informed me that I would not have to worry about the high school religious education program other than be sure the room was set up, take attendance and order the pizza. He and his Associate had ditched the diocesan curriculum and replaced it with real life content by outside speakers. They handed me the schedule and I saw that the speakers were identified by their work: nurse, home builder, plumber, etc. I was puzzled but assumed that these speakers were going to witness how they lived their faith at work or how they integrated faith, work and family. I was wrong.
Each month a speaker gave the group of high school freshmen through seniors a practical lesson in their area of expertise: basic first aid, what to know if you want to build your own home, how to replace parts of or the whole toilet, etc. (I am not making this up.) Each speaker came well prepared and gave very “useful” information. There was a Q & A session following each presentation and then refreshments. This was our high school religious education program for the year. Other than the short opening prayer, we never mentioned Jesus, scripture or prayer.
When Is Good Content Not Good?
I am reminded of this experience when I see content on Facebook Pages of parishes, religious organizations and ministries that is unrelated to the mission of the organization, the purpose of the Page or the audience following it. It could be good information, it might even be of interest to someone, but if it doesn’t clearly fit the mission, purpose and audience, it is not appropriate.
Some social media managers post this extraneous content as a way to expand their audience. This is a mistake. The number of followers is not as important as having followers who share interest in our mission and message and want to engage with us. We want to post content that adds value to people’s lives in accord with our organization and ministry. It is good to find new, interesting and creative ways to do that—but abandoning our mission to do that is counterproductive. If we dilute the content on our Facebook Page we will become irrelevant to our intended audience. In marketing circles, we would say that we have lost our brand.
Ask these questions to know if your ministry Page Facebook content is supporting your mission.
- What is the mission of your organization?
- What is the purpose of your Facebook Page?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What content adds value to the lives of your followers in your area of mission?
Now look at the posts of the last three months. Are the majority of posts on target? Are they interesting and engaging for your audience? You will know the answer to that if at least some of your followers are liking, commenting and sharing your content. If no one is doing that ever, then your content needs a makeover—a re-branding if you will.
Stay true to your mission, your purpose and your audience and your Facebook Page will be an effective ministry to the people it is meant to serve. Also, it will attract more of the followers you want. Make sure that your social media manager is clear about this and you will be fine.