By Agbolade Omowole
Digital media is changing the tools we use to communicate and how we communicate. Today, churches without a digital presence are losing their relevance. Digital media is a powerful tool that will open doors and opportunities to engage with people who rarely, if ever, will step foot in a church building. Here are 10 ways faith based organizations can leverage social media: Listen to learn: listen to what your target audience are talking about on social media. Pay attention to what they comment on and what they post on their timeline. Once you get the central topic, you can tailor your message to their interest.
Use hashtags: there are times you want to have a discussion in sections. For instance, it could be a sermon in series. Use one hashtag for the series to make it easy for your audience to get the full message.
Blog daily: many things are taking the attention of young people on social media such that the average young person could forget about 80 percent of a sermon on a Sunday. Blog to reinforce the message.
Be friendly: people don’t want you to force your message on them. If you want them to listen to what you are saying, then you have to work by the first principle of social media – be social, interactive and conversational.
Engage your audience: it is important to understand what your target audience really want to hear. You must craft your posts in such a way that they can provide feedback. It is better to ask a question, and let them answer than to ask a question and provide the answer yourself. Get your audience to respond and take action.
Balance spirituality with human interest stories: Demonstrate interest and commitment to the local community by posting about local issues, events and concerns. Talk about health, wealth creation and things that will improve your their lives while quoting scriptures and all that.
Get more page likes: it is wise to encourage church members to invite their friends to like the church’s Facebook page. If on average, 10 friends of each church member likes your page, you can get an audience ten times as big as your live audience to hear your message every Sunday.
Ask the right question: behind every post is an underlying feeling and need. People have problems and the more emotional they are, the more likely they are to post how they feel on social media.
Ask yourself- What are the concerns that people express in social media? How might God’s word address these fears and empower them to overcome those problems.
Update your page daily: there’s so much noise on social media lately and some companies are investing heavily on Facebook adverts to get the attention of some of your target audience. Posting updates about upcoming events, news, seeing photographs, and seeing video will keep them engaged.
Use social media to communicate internally: Facebook groups are great virtual locations to hold important discussion. You can open a closed group for each department in your church.