This issue of Unity Leaders Magazine is all about engagement, which couldn’t be more perfect for social media. It’s vital to the success of your ministry’s social media campaign that your audience (followers, fans) engage with your content, and with you. Posting doesn’t do anything if it falls on deaf ears (or bored eyeballs). In some cases, like Facebook, if your audience doesn’t engage with your posts, the channel is less likely to show your posts in their feeds. Facebook tries to keep users’ feeds interesting, so if your posts aren’t interesting or engaging…. You get the idea.
How to be more engaging? First, remember the golden rule of social media communications: Be human. How would you act at a party or community event with real people? Would you talk about yourself or your events the whole time? Would you ask questions and get to know new people? Social media is like a (bigger) party. Treat people like your guests and talk about what interests them.
Another social media maxim: Great social media is about people. A coat drive isn’t about the coats. It’s about the people who volunteered, those who donated and even those that gratefully receive it. Your fall social is about gathering outside of worship for laughter and fun with each other. Capture those moments for your social media content.
Use photos, or better yet, video! Photos generate 50% more likes, comments, clicks and retweets than plain text status updates. When taking photos for social media, keep the important content in the middle “square.” Instagram (and sometimes Facebook) will trim the edges of your photo to be 1:1 ratio for a better-looking news feed. Twitter actually trims to a horizontal image that is 2:1, so be sure important text or faces hit the exact center of the photo.
Video is still the rarest form of social posting, but tends to garner even better engagement than still photos. No need to be a pro or have a fancy camera. Try using your mobile phone to capture the moment and use Instagram, Vine or YouTube to post clips right from your phone.
In previous articles we mentioned the importance of thinking mobile. Most people use their mobile devices for online social activity. Lengthy posts and wide panoramic photos don’t show up well on phone screens. Check out your own posts on your mobile devices to learn how they look. Ask yourself if you’d interact with your own post. (Be honest!) If not, try a new layout, a different crop of the photo, shorter or more human copy, etc. Those who view your posts on their phone and can’t see much aren’t likely to engage.
Your posts will also garner more engagement when your audience is online. Look at your Facebook page’s Insight metrics to see when people usually see your posts. Try Crowdbooster for Twitter, to see what post times earned you the best interaction.
Also worth mentioning: Don’t try to be everywhere. By creating a profile on every new social media channel, you’ll only thin yourself out and forget to check or post to them. Nothing is less engaging than a social media profile that hasn’t posted in months or doesn’t answer when mentioned. It’s better to do more with less than the other way round.
Finally, and most importantly, if you want engagement in social media … Engage! Find conversations that talk about your favorite things as a community or touch on your community members. Follow those that follow you and take interest in their posts, too. After all, you always like the people at the party you have the most in common with and with whom you have a give-and-take conversation.
Thank you, Ogun and Jess!
We would like to honor Jessica Best and Rev Ogun Holder for generously sharing their knowledge about social media with our Unity leaders. After four years of writing for Unity Leaders Magazine (previously known as Contact), Jessica and Ogun have elected to take a hiatus in writing for us. We are truly blessed by their work and know they will continuing to be valuable contributors to our Unity movement. We encourage all who have learned from their writing to share your thoughts on our Facebook page.