Many faith organizations are jumping online to reach the millions of subscribers to Facebook, Twitter or other social media tools. Often once they get on they ask, "Now what?" This is a question that should be asked long before you announce your new Twitter feed.
- Research your current audience. Do you minister to all young people? Is your church/organization all over 55? Do members have varying levels of technical skills? Answering these questions will help you take your whole church on the journey. If no one is online, rethink this strategy. If you goal is only to reach new people, make sure the social media tool will help cultivate them past the initial sign-up. If you members are online, get them involved in setting the needs. Take a survey or hold a listening session to gather the needs of your community.
- Research the tools. Spend time talking to others who use various social media tools. They can offer best practices as you start. You also should play around with the tool before introducing it to your members. This way, if they have questions, you can help resolve issues with using the social media tool and make sure the tools is setup for optimal use.
- Get people involved in posting content. A social media tool is only as good as the content. If you only post once a month, you may have very low interaction. Make sure you find several people in your church or organization who can assist in making the tool relevant and current. The more people are involved, the more they feel invested in making it successful.
- Be ready for change. Technology changes quickly and some social media tools vanish because of competing tools. Stay updated on changes to your social media tool and be ready if you need to transition to another site.
- Have fun! Social Media is about staying engaged with others. While technology may be challenging at times, the interaction is the reward. Have fun with this new adventure. You'll learn new things about yourself and those around you.