So many social media choices! You may find that, like going to your favorite coffee shop, you’ll try a lot (or a latte?) and then settle in to one or just a few favorites. I’ve tried more than a dozen different platforms over the years. I’m using just a handful of these now. Maybe my explorations can help you choose which options will work best for you.
Your time is limited. You won’t want to spend lots of time maintaining many sites. Choose the one place that you “own” and control for your main message and ministry. I recommend a blog as a homebase, but if you have a Facebook or Twitter ministry, that can be your homebase. (Experts and well-known personalities may often have a Twitter account with a large following.) If you’re a videographer or photographer, you might use YouTube or Flickr or a similar site as homebase. Additionally, other sites are available if you’re an artist, hobbyist, or have some sort of specialty.
I can think of three scenarios for Cru staff:
- This one’s “required.” I believe you should have a blog for your donor team. I like WordPress, but you have many options. At minimum, write some supplemental content to your prayer letter and also one monthly post about your family and another about your ministry. A good photo and four sentences is all you need for these (especially because half of your followers are reading these posts on their mobile devices). Of course, you can go beyond this by posting more regularly or at length or by focusing on particular content or on a larger audience.
- You may run a homebase for your local or regional field ministry. This takes a lot more into consideration, such as security issues, how to encourage team connections, and more. Please comment if you’ve found what works for your staff. This is a whole post of its own. We’d love to learn what you’re doing.
- You may have a calling to social ministry. I’ve seen this happening mostly through blogging, with topics about leadership, overseas assignments, ministry tips, devotionals, and more. Do you have a social media ministry that is not a blog?
My blogs post automatically to Facebook (in several locations), to Twitter, and to LinkedIn as well as to an eMail letter sent through MailChimp, so I have immediate content at my embassy and outposts, but I do need to visit these, too,
You have many choices for embassies, obviously. Facebook is my embassy. Personally, I have more interaction here than I do anywhere else; eMails are a close second. I also have a Facebook page for eQuipping for eMinistry (e4e) and a closed group where 700+ e4e followers learn from each other about eMinistry. (Ask me for an invitation.)
If I follow Michael Hyatt’s thinking on this, then I’m spending my time as an ambassador rather than at my homebase. He might even suggest that Facebook is my homebase. (You’ll want to check out his original idea of the social media framework.)
My outposts take into consideration that not all of my audience are on WordPress or Facebook. For example, business professionals are on LinkedIn, women of all ages are on Pinterest, and movers-and-shakers are on Twitter. I drop in occasionally to these sites, usually, just to gather information. Recently, while on LinkedIn to find eMail addresses and get up-to-date photos of our financial partners, I discovered a lapsed donor was unemployed. I was able to write a sensitive letter to him and, later, to pray for his family a few times through an eMail conversation.
Has your social media presence been scattered? Can you re-shape your online ministry by aligning your social media tools with these concepts? What are you going to add or change this month? Learn more about integrating your social media and why on Your Must-Have Tech Tools for MPD.
- “Homebase,” “embassies,” and “outposts” come from Michael Hyatt’s article, A Social Media Framework.
- The coffee cup icons are available free at Land-of-Web. If you’d like to make an eye-catching website, you could consider these free social media icons, from leather-look to books to iPhones and more at Find Your Perfect Match: Collection of Free Thematic Social Icons Sets.