Why You Should Be on Social Media
You care about your financial partners. Your staff team is spread across the country. You want to network with other professionals in ministry. Social media can help you connect with many of these people. I was checking my MPD list of friends on Facebook one day and saw that a $25 a month donor wrote: “Please pray for us and our daughter.” I noticed she’d written this three minutes before, so I phoned her and found out their daughter had run away! They knew where she was; she was coming back the next day. I had that unplanned opportunity to minister to our donor and to pray and be a part of that family’s concerns. Recently, we received a letter from an elderly donor who was very sad to have to stop her monthly giving. Three hours later, she “liked” a photo on Facebook. I sensed a nudge from God: “It’s time to call Elaine.” We had a good conversation where I could reassure her and pray for her.
Why You Should Be on Several Social Media Accounts
So, which social network should you be in? Who are you connecting with? Which tool will help?
- Facebook – that personal touch (family, friends, financial partners,…)
- LinkedIn – a professional place (co-workers, others in your profession, donors, …)
- Twitter – a great way to share information (Cru staff, others with similar job titles, …)
- And others
For me personally, my blogs are the chief way I minister to people while Facebook is my main conversational tool. LinkedIn is a source for photos, email addresses, and phone numbers and for learning about financial partners. I’m also on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and have Facebook groups and pages.
How You Can Manage Several Social Media Accounts
Don’t be overwhelmed! I frequently hear from people who’ve tried and given up on Facebook, explaining, “I can’t keep up with everyone.” Maybe this will help… Imagine you’ve entered a home where a party has already been in full swing. It’s natural to just enter in and join in at that point. It would be very odd (if it were possible) to try to catch up with every single event and conversation that you missed. It might be helpful to know the candles are blown out and the presents are unwrapped, but most of your time in this party revolves around when you were there. If it’s a large party, you may only talk with six to ten folks in one or two rooms. After the party, you may hear that an out-of-town guest dropped in after you left so you quickly send a message about getting together. So, ask yourself, “Who’s in the room?” Facebook lists will also help you filter who you want to talk to. You can just go to the room where the relatives are gathered or run over to a different room where other friends hang out. (Learn about Facebook lists). If you sign up for multiple social media accounts, I recommend a HootSuite account as well. You’ll visit this one place to check your activity across all your social media sites. You also post from HootSuite, even scheduling when you want your messages to go out. (Check out the HootSuite video, Adding Social Profiles to Your Hootsuite Dashboard, at the bottom of this post.)
Check in Regularly
I’ve enjoyed being more in touch with donors through Facebook in particular. I’m also on social media to have a more personal connection with Cru staff for my ministry and also with my team. You, also, have staff alumni friends, teammates, family, donors, disciples, and others that you can minister to, get to know better, or stay in touch with over the miles. Whether you have a small number of friends on Facebook or close to a thousand on multiple social media networks, get in the habit of checking regularly to see what activity God will bring to your attention. I believe He sovereignly knows who you’ll encounter and what you’ll need to know. I’ve learned of birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, graduations, weddings, funerals, injuries, and more. It’s great to be able to respond to these events to show your interest in your financial partners, teammates and others. Care about people through these social media tools as a ministry to them (instead of thinking of this as a broadcasting of yourself).
Have you been able to minister to people through social media?
Visit the Table of Contents for the You-Can-Too series posts. This post is first in the social media series. Keep following the series for posts on databases, communication, websites, and social media.
NOTE: The March 18th post will be the first post on considering having a blog or website for your ministry.