Social media has rapidly become an unavoidable part of modern life. Facebook alone has about 900 million users worldwide accessing its site on what is often a daily basis. Other popular social media sites include Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, to name a few. Through social media, people have become accustomed to quickly connecting and conversing with people (and organizations) all around their communities, and the world.
While social media usage shows impressive penetration across all age demographics, it is most integral in the lives young people–from students to young professionals. As early as 2010, over 86% of American adults under age 30 already had a Facebook account. And all indications point to continued growth in these numbers.
Because of this high level of engagement, any organization expecting to interact with this demographic should begin developing a social media presence for itself. While promoting oneself through social media may present a new way of thinking for a generation that grew up using the Yellow Pages or printed brochures as their primary source of information about an organization, social media is now an undeniably ingrained feature in growing number of people’s lives.
Before You Post
- Before social media sites can positively affect your business or ministry, make sure that your website clearly and concisely states your goals and objectives.
- Think of social media as spokes extending from the central hub that is your website. The goal is to point people to the website where they can fully learn about all you have to offer. Social media needs to be an extension of your existing website—not a replacement for it.
- Your website should house your main content and archives, while your social media should be used to highlight and point people to things they might be interested in.
- Before you begin using social media, identify your goals for its use, the community you are targeting, and the overall image that you hope to convey. Keep this consistent across all web platforms that you use.
What to Post
- Social media is not just marketing or branding. It is an opportunity for people to feel like they have a personal connection with your organization. While the Facebook term “friends” is kitschy, that really is the mindset on social media. Social media is relational.
- Social media allows you to become an active part of a community. Before heavy-hitting marketing and promotions can be effective, you need to add to the ongoing conversations in the community you are entering. In this way, “listening” to what others are already talking about is just as important as promoting your organization. Engage in these conversations, and add to them in a meaningful way, before trying to “sell” your product or service.
- Keeping to the theme of relationship building, seek to be transparent on your social media profile. State your public goals and objectives up front; nothing will alienate you faster in social media than trying to “fake” something that you are not.
How to Post
- When posting on your social media site, tailor your language to fit in with the conversations going on around you. Do not be afraid to use the type of language that people in your community use. For instance, on Twitter, this may mean using “hashtags” (#) in your posts. Communicating in these conventions help people easily digest your message without having to change mindsets from the other information they are consuming around yours.
- Time your posts. Make sure the information you are posting is both relevant, and posted at times when the people in your community are likely to see it. For Facebook, mid-to-late afternoon is most likely the peak time to post updates for people to see.
- Post frequently enough that people become comfortable with you in their community, but not so often that they feel like you are “spamming” them. This line is largely dependent upon how active the community you are targeting is on social media sites. In a given community, 2-3 times a week is probably a good starting goal.
After You Post
- Cross-link. Always bring people back to your main website content; and likewise, use your main website content to point people to your social media profiles. Including links to your social media pages in your e-newsletters and on your website are a good way to increase your social media following.
- Posted by Lift Media Group