Ministry and Social Media

Share Good Content Well


Social media is the cursed blessing, the problem to the answer. Indeed, it is the pot which calls the internet kettle black. Yet here I am, a 20-something child of the computer / internet / can't-keep-up-with-it-fast-enough age, and it is a reality which I cannot escape. For everything from event planning to my job to...well everything, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others are integrated into everything I do.

The reality is, very few of us can escape the social media vortex, which begs the question, "How can we use it well?" I could not possibly answer such an all-encompassing question. What I can answer is this:

"How can I use social media to support ministries and spread my faith — in way that is actually helpful and strategic?"

Without fail, we have all shared the "if you don't post this you don't love Jesus" posts at least once, and we've all gotten a little too preachy on our friends' walls. And we know we shouldn't have, and that we should stop. But there is more to good stewardship of social media than your basic 21st century always-be-nice Emily Post etiquette.

There are three major pieces to the Social Media Stewardship puzzle:
1. Sharing Good Content Well
2. Finding Content that is Actually Good
3. Creating Good Content for Sharing

I will be writing one post for each of these puzzle pieces, so check back with us for Finding Content and Creating Good Content.

But why share a ministry's social media content? Isn't it enough to just read it?

From the perspective of the guy who runs a ministry's social media sites, social media has three purposes: providing good content, generating hits on the home website, and marketing.

The content is there because the ministry wants to influence the social media world for the better — sharing supports their cause! Generating hits on the home website spreads their message, generates better search engine rankings, and perhaps lets them get more money from on-site advertising — sharing supports their cause! Finally, the marketing aspect is complex at best, but a big part of it is being able to claim so-and-so many followers, "Likes," re-blogs, etc. etc. which only happens when new people discover and appreciate their content by you sharing it — sharing supports their cause!

When it comes to the internet, popularity comes through social media, and on social media, popularity comes through pervasive content sharing.

So, are you convinced to share content yet? Good! Then here are some pointers on what creates actual impact when sharing content from the ministries you support and the people you want to help:

Share Multiple Content Types: There are four basic content types available across the social media universe.

- Pictures, including memes, advertisements, and pictures attached to articles in order to draw attention.
- Video, from YouTube to Vine to whatever comes out next.
- Links, usually to articles, blogs, etc., or occasionally to donation pages.
- Plain text, which is becoming less and less common on Facebook, but a core type on Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.

This is a pretty simple concept to keep in mind. If all you share is pictures, people start glossing over your content. Content is king, but variety is your queen.

Share Links Well: For instance, when someone posts a link on Facebook, the only part your friends will see after you hit the share button is the box with the picture and link. If a ministry has included a nice write-up explaining why they want you to look at a page about the Wabjongi tribe of South-Of-No-Where, you have to cut and paste that text in yourself. This is not only helpful to the ministry, but allows your friends to know why you thought the link was important.

On other platforms, a link can be embedded into an image, so that when you click a picture it takes you to a particular website. If you are sharing the picture so that people go to the site, noting that people "should click on the picture!" communicates the purpose of the share and what interests you about it.

Share Items of Interest: If a ministry or cause posts content every day, or multiple times a day, YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SHARE IT ALL!! Share the information that is particularly interesting to you, or even better, what your friends / followers will find interesting! Information dumping has its place, but if you want people to benefit from or start supporting a ministry, be selective and strategic.

Finally, A Note on Re-tweeting: There are two types of retweets on Twitter. The "new" one is a simple matter of clicking the "retweet" button beneath a tweet. The "old" retweet was a simple matter of copying-and-pasting the text of a tweet into your own tweet, and adding "RT @username:" to the beginning, along with comments you want to make about the tweet.

Be aware that when you hit the retweet button, it shows up in your friends' feeds as from the original poster. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you particularly want people to know that the tweet is something you endorse or find interesting, the way to do it is the old copy-and-paste method, since it shows up with your name on it. You are still giving the original poster credit by using the "RT @username" at the beginning, but also providing the added weight of your name and endorsement.

In conclusion, be aware of what content actually makes it to your friends / followers, share content tailored to your audience, and provide the information or endorsements necessary to help connect your network and the causes you love!

TagsCurrent-Issues  |  Ministry-Church

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Published 1-21-14