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Follow Me: Social Media

In August 2010 I attended Follow Me: Sharing the Gospel in a 2.0 World, a conference hosted by the ELCA for synod communicators and campus ministry pastors and students.  You can find video, presentation slides, and other resources on the Follow Me webpage.

On Friday afternoon, we heard from Andrew Bleeker and Michael Organ, two experts in social media, who were instrumental in President Obama's groundbreaking social media campaign.  They covered many social media basics and best practices.  Here's what stood out:

  • Best Practice: Make sure your online activity is driven by your offline goals. Don't do social media just for the sake of doing it.  Make your activity and choices purposeful, focused, and aligned with your congregational goals.
  • Best Practice: Your social media content should have a clear and distinct voice. Don't do it my committee, or, if you do, be sure the tone, language, and perspective is consistent.
  • I haven't anything in regards to text messaging, but this is a great way to connect with people quickly and directly.  This is also a great way to use Twitter in a way that doesn't require people to have a Twitter account.  Here's how: you can get anyone's tweets sent to you as a text message by texting "follow @[their twitter handle] to 40404.  For instance, here's how to get my tweets:

Get updates via SMS by texting follow prkanderson to 40404 in the United States.

  • Growing Your Audience. This was the most exciting part of the presentation (and possibly the whole conference for me). ·Michael Organ showed us the importance of increasing our followers, fans, and readers. ·This made huge sense to me. ·Although Redeemer uses all these social media platforms, we primarily reach our own people: church members and my friends and colleagues. ·We are not yet reaching a wider audience with all our efforts.
Michael stressed that we want to cultivate ways that we can be in touch with people on an·ongoingbasis through email, text, and social media - and not just the one time they visit our site.
Here were his recommendations:
  • Put your website address everywhere - on your publications, bulletin, worship book, church sign, t-shirts, etc.
  • Have a way for people to sign up for information when they visit your site.· For churches, invite people sign up to join your e-mailing list.· Email marketing services like·Constant Contact will provide you with an HTML snippet to paste into your site.
  • Prominently show the ways people can interact with you through social media.· Use a variety of different platforms to reach people.
  • Leverage special moments or events when attention is heightened to build your contacts.
  • Simply ask people to sign up.· It's simple and effective.· Make it super easy for them to do so.
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