Make sure your social media pieces fit together.

Make sure your social media pieces fit together.

Organizations continue to dive into social media head first at an alarming rate. I have seen so many Tweets like this over the last month: “Woo Hoo. Church XYZ is on Twitter. Follow us!” Then nothing else. Radio silence. That’s not a strategy, and it is discouraging to see a potentially powerful medium squandered.

So, in response, we’re posting 7 Social Media Self Assessment Questions.

1) What do you hope to achieve by using social media? Build awareness or brand? Grow your congregation? Improve funding? Entertain? Teach? Sell a product or service? Be clear, write it down and get buy-in. (Oh, be realistic, too.)

2) Do you know who you are trying to reach and where they congregate online? Don’t skimp here, even though you might be tempted to think you know the answer. DO the research and figure out who you need to reach to achieve #1 and then which social media tool is most likely to reach them.

3) Do you have the time to continually update with fresh and relevant content? I cannot stress this enough. That’s why you must have objectives, choose your tools wisely and then determine a plan on who will update, when they’ll do it and WHAT they’ll say. It is worse to create a profile, tell the world and then let it die a slow and painful cyber-death.

4) Do you have a written policy in place to manage the communication? In politics, we called this “staying on message”. If you have various people Tweeting and blogging, what should they be saying, what should they NOT be saying. I’ve seen many organizations do irreparable harm to their brand by tweeting out information that was never intended for public consumption. Social media is powerful. Use your power for good and be careful.

5) Are you prepared for a level of transparency that you have never before experienced? If you have an unhappy visitor/customer/donor, are you prepared for her to criticize you openly on your blog? Tweet about you mercilessly? Not much is private and there are growing security issues as social media apps gain attention of fraudsters and hackers.

6) Do you have the creativity and innovation to deliver the right content via the right application? Get beyond the sermon (although I’m sure it’s fabulous). Sermon via podcast is great, but actually watching someone building and witnessing while erecting a Habitat house? Very cool.

7) Can you track it and show success? After you determine what you want to achieve, you need to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI). Tightly link your web site/blog/facebook fan pages/Twitter accounts and more so that you are driving traffic and interest to the right places with a clear call to action. I suggest you track both leading indicators (traffic, clicks, etc.) and lagging indicators (demos, increased giving, # of visitors, conversions, etc.).

There are many tools that can help you achieve your social media goals and you can always contact us, as well, and we’ll show you how to do this successfully on your own. In the meantime, please don’t dive in head first. Make a plan for your success.