I’ve been thinking a great deal about the phrase “social media marketing” lately, and it seems that as organizations we sometimes forget that the most important part in that phrase is “social”. We get drawn to the “marketing” as how we communicate because that’s really the only means organizations have ever had to communicate who they are, what’s going on, etc. Sure, we “engage” people online when they comment on our posts; but that’s really like only “engaging” people when they come through our doors.
One of the really great aspects of these social networks so many parishes are on today is that you can pick that whole Church up and get out there and socialize as the Church itself. I’ve been focusing on this more recently and found great payoffs in terms of help in building quality followers.
Here’s 3 platforms you can do this and how to leverage the feature:
- Facebook Pages – You can use Facebook as your Facebook Page and interact with others and start expanding your visibility and presence.
- If you are an admin of the page, simply click the “cog” in the upper right and click your parish page under the “Use Facebook as” header.
- All of those other pages you have “Liked” as your page (which you should do now if your haven’t) will be in your newsfeed stream to interact with (i.e. like, share, comment, etc.). I also build “Interest Lists” so I can focus on more specific posts (i.e. your local Diocese pages, etc.).
- Give “likes” to your posts that someone has shared (this is only other pages, and individuals sharing is always a good thing).
- Share posts from other pages. A “share” is always a great thing and I always look to see who shared and give them a “Like” on the post on their page. It’s a “win-win”
- Twitter - Twitter is by far the service where being social as the organization is more “natural” because you are more forced to. Still, many simply use the service for simply “announcing” and hope for some “favorites” or “retweets” or new followers. Just like anything to get those things you have to give those things.
- Put together targeted lists of Twitter users ((i.e. your Diocese, Clergy, Catholic news, etc.) to follow easily and give some credit to them
- Follow quality “influencer” types of users. Just like anything, it is about networking with the right people. http://www.TweetCatholic.com is a great site to find great Catholic Twitter users to follow.
How powerful prayer is! May we never lose the courage to say: Lord, give us your peace.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 17, 2014
- Thank your new followers in a timely manner. Just like welcoming people into your parish community, send a quick direct message to new followers thanking them (both individuals and organizations) for following you. And use their first name if it’s available on their account.
- Google+ - This is another service where you can “be the Church” and even a little moreso.
- Participate in communities as the parish (make sure it is someone with a good handle on speaking to Catholic topics).
- Rate and review other local parishes and “partner” organizations in your area. Give your bulletin advertisers some +1′s. Know who you are rating here because if can be perceived as affiliation.
- Schedule hangouts as the Church.
The point being is that we can be very social as our parishes similar to the way in which we get out there as individuals. As most have figured out being an “influencer” online as an individual it’s similar to being an influencer offline – being respectful, courteous, offering good quality input, and giving.
How do you go about being social as your Church?