On January 21, 2016, Unity Worldwide Ministries hosted a web call on the subject of creating and training a social media team for ministry. While this is a vast topic, certainly worthy of more than a one-hour web call, we begin at the beginning. The key points covered in the call are:
- Identify potential team members.
- Identify appropriate social media platforms.
- Create a posting strategy.
- Cultivate meaningful content.
You can view a video/audio recording of the call.
Rev Jacquie Lenati, media production coordinator, hosted the call with support from Angel Tapia, director of marketing and events at Unity of Houston, and Rev Shad Groverland, minister of Unity of Las Vegas, Nev. This call was designed to give information and offer space for discussion around what goes into creating a social media team for ministry.
Activity in digital spaces allows the Unity message to reach millions of people at all hours and around the world. Cyberspace is more than just a place to broadcast information, it is a place to build relationships with individuals as well as with communities. A new minister can get to know a city, a neighborhood, and congregants before relocating to the community. In the same way, potential members are noticing when spiritual communities extend an online presence- and more importantly are making decisions about connecting to a spiritual community before they ever set foot in the door.
Digital ministry is not about marketing. Just like brick and mortar ministry it is about being relevant, building relationships, and availing a ministry as a resource for developing spiritual practice and engaging in a spiritual community. Any type or size of ministry can use digital spaces to enhance the experience of its community. Imagine a rural Unity ministry hundreds of miles away from the next Unity church. People would have to travel more than an hour or even two to attend a Sunday service. Now imagine that rural spiritual community live streams its Sunday services, enabling individuals and groups to watch from home or meet at a local place and tune in for spiritual nourishment. There are many situations that potential congregants experience where they would be blessed with access to a live streamed service, for example: homebound individuals, instances of inclement weather, those who frequently travel for work.
For details about building a social media team, watch the video/audio recording of the call and access resources presented in the call below.
In addition to viewing the web call video, which includes the PowerPoint, you may download this to be used as a posting scheduler for social media platforms. The document is formatted for Jan – Mar with a few useful notes. You can easily customize it in Excel. (Thank you, Angel!)
You may also be interested in viewing the PowerPoint used in the call. You can download it here: Soc Media web call 012116
I mentioned several tools for posting across social media platforms. Among those I mentioned are Hootsuite, Buffer, and IFTTT. There are many more of these applications available ranging from free to fee-based. I encourage you to do research to find the one best suited for your posting schedule, you will most likely find a free app is sufficient.
In addition to providing media content for use in ministry, we are providing ongoing training for best practices in social media and technology.
The web calls we are hosting in support of social media and technology are made possible by the support of a grant from The John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in the project are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.