By Dan Wunderlich
Plan Your Impact for 2020
1. Make Your Communication One-on-One
We often write our post or film our video as if we were addressing a crowd. Even if you have a large online audience, most individuals are scrolling Facebook while watching TV, or checking Instagram while waiting in line. The solution is to shift to a one-on-one or one-to-few communication style. When writing a post, think of words, phrases and a structure you would use when writing to an individual or a small group. When you film a video, especially if it is for a platform like Instagram Stories, speak conversationally as if you were using video chat.
And speaking of chat, the user base of messaging apps has surpassed the number of people on social media. Encouraging your community to engage with your ministry through platforms like Facebook Messenger can create a one-on-one experience.
2. Refocus Your Approach for Each Platform.
Research shows that we should post an average of once a day on Facebook and Instagram. This relentless schedule leads many of us to post the same thing across all of our accounts, which means we miss benefiting from the unique culture of each channel. For example, hashtags lead to increased engagement on Instagram, but hashtags aren’t really a thing on Facebook. Posting the exact same content on both platforms will miss the mark on at least one and maybe both.
In addition to learning the specific ins and outs of each network, we must pay attention to who is following us on each network. Use Facebook Insights to discover demographic information about the people who like your page. Similar information is available on Instagram if you have converted to a business profile. Tailoring the content and the style of the post to the platform will make it more personalized and effective. Finally, we should pay attention to what actually works with the audience on each platform.
Editors Note: For help with daily social media posts check out Outreach Digital
3. Try More Video.
While every marketing expert has slightly different advice on how to approach social media, all seem to agree that video is a key to social media engagement and growth.
Video is simply more attractive than text-only posts and static images, capturing our attention and stopping the scroll.
You don’t need the latest ultra-high def camera to produce engaging video. The camera on your smart phone is likely good enough. And filming with your smart phone and speaking as if you’re talking to someone via Skype or FaceTime is the style of video communication most prevalent on social media today.
To kick the authenticity and connection factors up, try going live on Facebook or Instagram. A recent survey found that 80% of respondents preferred live video to blog posts, and 82% preferred live video to other types of posts. Encourage engagement by asking questions and responding to comments as they are posted.
4. Recruit and Train Volunteers.
The first three resolutions will likely cost more time and energy, at least in the beginning. While they have the potential to increase your effectiveness, they also will increase the number of hours required per day or week, so be on the lookout for volunteers who can help.
Dan Wunderlich is the pastor of Lakeside United Methodist Church (LakesideUMC.net) in Sanford, Florida, and writes for ResourceUMC.org, focusing on worship, communication and creativity to help ministries better connect with their communities. He also has his own ministry and podcast at DefiningGrace.com.