Here are suggestions on how you might utilize Social Media to communicate more effectively and fulfill the mission of your Catholic organization, parish, school or ministry.
Tools you’ll need:
- A website that is updated often and contains a blog. I recommend building Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress based websites. For more info about what it should include, read “What Makes a Good Parish Website.”
- A Twitter account for your organization. Free.
- A Facebook page. Free.
- A YouTube account for videos (Optional). Free.
- A Flickr account for photos (Optional). Free.
- E-Newsletter (Optional, but highly recommended). Good ones are Constant Contact, IContact and Mail Chimp.
10 Suggestions to get you started:
- Copy the ‘Pastor’s Corner‘ usually found in parish bulletins onto a blog on the website. Then add a direct link to it on your Facebook page and send out a Tweet as well. HINT: Almost everything should be concluded with a Tweet that contains a link to your Facebook page or website (shortened of course!).
- Fund-raising? Be sure to send out reminders via e-newsletter, Facebook and Twitter. If it’s an aggressive campaign, once a week reminders are fine. Otherwise, at a minimum, once a month. HINT: Make sure to explain why fund-raising is important by using concrete examples of the good that has been or will be accomplished.
- Spotlight a success story, especially if it was a direct result of #2 above. Blog it, post it on your Facebook page, then Tweet about it.
- Take photos and video of your Parish events (Fish Fry, Festival, Charity Projects, etc.). Post them on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr…and then Tweet it. This is a great way for guests and visitors of your site to see your vibrant community in action.
- Mass/Confession times. Be sure to make this highly visible on your website and Facebook page. If there are seasonal or Holy Day changes, get the word out on your website, Facebook, e-newsletter — then Tweet it.
- Volunteer and Employment positions. Not only should they be announced on your website, but don’t forget Facebook and Twitter and e-newsletter.
- School closings due to weather. Website, Facebook and Twitter.
- General announcements and news. Bulletins and mailings are OK, but for more immediate action use your e-newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter.
- Share inspiration. Have you come across a website, story, quote, picture or video — something that has inspired or encouraged you? Share it on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. We all need these from time to time, but don’t go overboard.
- Educate. Make people aware of and explain to them how an issue might affect them. Maybe it’s an upcoming legislative session or something to do with changes in the Liturgy. Use the blog, Facebook, and Twitter to inform.
As you probably noticed, these are ten ways of using Social Media to get-the-word-out. It’s also important to use these tools to get feedback. Be sure to include an easy way to contact you on your website. Listen and respond to comments and messages on Facebook and Twitter. Remember, this is Social Media. If it’s a one-way street just you promoting your content and info, people may just stop listening.