02 November 2010
Tweet for Your Life!
I've had a disappointing realization about my work in social media. I realized that for all of my thinking and writing about it, and for all of our congregation's efforts in it, what we essentially have, for all our work, is just a really good internal communication system.
Let me explain.
Redeemer and I are active on at least half a dozen forms of social media from Facebook to Foursquare to Wordpress.· We share a lot of content - but we are pretty much only sharing it with each other.· I would guess that current church members comprise 95% of our audience.· People from beyond the congregation probably only make up 5% - and many of those are relatives, friends, and former members of the congregation that live far way.· Okay, maybe its 90/10.
The question is: how do we connect with more people?· How do we get this good stuff in front of people who may like and act on it?
Facebook, My Happy Home
The thrust of my own activity in social media happens through my Facebook profile. It's far more effective than the church page (as judged by how many more people like and comment on the the same content when its posted in both places.) I share a great deal of my life - family, running, etc. As one friend says, I "invite people into something of the whole of my life and honor the whole of theirs by paying meaningful attention to them."
It's a very effective social media strategy…for reaching the 400 or so people I'm friends with. I could friend people I don't know - and that is a valid strategy - and maybe a better strategy (see: Andrew Root, Peter Rollins, Nadia Bolz-Weber), but I'm not ready to throw my life open to just anyone. If I did, I'd have to scale back what I share, and would therefore lose much of what makes it effective - and my own enjoyment in using it.
Another note, 115 of the 146 people on our Facebook page are friends of mine.· That means our members and my personal friends make up 79% of our fans. That seems way too high.
- Facebook Ads.· We are running a very modest Facebook Ads campaign for a Newcomers Brunch we are having in a couple weeks.· I'll let you know how it goes.
- We've recently linked our Facebook Page with Twitter, so information is tweeted automatically and appears in the Twitter widget on our website.
- We've directly asked our members at church on Sunday to like, comment, and share our content.
We love Constant Contact and use it for our email marking. The heart of our email communication is the Redeemer Weekly which comes out on Wednesday and contains church news and information. The Weekly contains personal contact information, and so we have refrained from allowing just anyone to sign up, say, through our website.
- Asking visitors, newcomers, and prospective members to add them to our email list when they visit or we visit them. Thus far, everyone has said yes.· I'm also trying to be more intentional about giving out my business card, which has all my Facebook, Twitter, and blog information.
- Creating stand alone emails about specific programming/events that are a little flashier and don't contain personal information. These are designed to share.
- Create another email list that people can sign up for on our website that contains the same news and information as the weekly but is sanitized of personal information.
Tweet for Your Life!
This all leads me to Twitter. Twitter is not my preferred way of interacting on social media. I can't say just why. I get it. I know how to use it. Facebook just feels warmer and friendlier. Facebook is also easier to manage.· I have 400 friends that post, at most, three times a day. On Twitter, I follow 115 people and its all I can do to keep up. · I've concluded that I need to be putting my non-family updates (in one form or another) on Twitter and use that as my vehicle for "going public" - opening it up to, well, everyone.
- To be intentional about Twitter, checking and posting throughout the day.
- Following more people
- Retweeting more people
- Linking into conversations through hashtags.· I've been using our town's hashtag #woburn more often. It's already bringing me into conversation with new people.
That's the long and short of it. We'll see where these next steps take us.· The important take away is this - just because you're putting things out there on social media, you can't assume its reaching people beyond your church or your circle of friends.
Note: My realization was aided by Michael Organ, who spoke at the ELCA Follow Me conference in August 2010.· You can find my post about his presentation below.