Stop Treating Social Media As Binary: All or Nothing

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Social media.  Greatest invention ever? Or not?

Just say it to anyone who is responsible for publishing and managing social media for a church and the word “overwhelming” immediately creeps into their mind to differing degrees.

So much to do. So much to monitor. So much to create. So much to schedule. So much to handle.  And that’s just with the channels you’re managing now.

There’s also so much that feeds the FOMO (fear of missing out) machine with whatever the latest trend people chatter about or whenever a new kid on the block pops up (snapchat or peach anyone?).  It is easy to get buried with a sense of crushing weight on your shoulders.

 One of the biggest mistakes I see with organizations I partner with to help make sense of their digital communications efforts is that they assume they need to do it all.  But that’s not true at all.

 Meaning, the big lie is that you have to do it all on social media.

For social media managers, while social media promised to be the world of mouth, it has become the weapon of mass distraction.

For the novice, social media looks a lot alike. No matter the platform, it’s the same stance: people hunched over their phones scrolling and thumb typing away endlessly.

I’m here to tell you: You don’t need to do it all.  You don’t need to be on every platform.  You don’t need to have an account on the list of hundreds of social networking sites that even Wikipedia can’t keep track of.

 THE TRUTH: Each social media platform has a different sweet spot for audience and mode of engagement with the community.

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And as I’ve been using them more, I’ve found that each one is good for different things.  You can’t assume any or all social media platforms with help you achieve what you want in the same way or even at all. Each social media network has it’s own personality.

 So how do you begin to learn the differences between social media platforms?

 Start with one, become familiar with it and you’ll see your capacity to handle more will grow.  Just as social media is about using technology to mediate relationships, you’ll have your own relationship with each social platform too.

 If you are at a total loss for where to start, begin with the biggest one of them all: Facebook.

 Why? Here’s some sobering stats about Facebook for what you’re missing out on:

  • 72% of adults online are active on Facebook. They check at least once a month. And it’s growing. Which means, it’s the most efficient way to reach your people.
  • 65% of Facebook users logon daily. Not many other places even Starbucks can claim this characteristic of being the true watering hole for your community.
  • The average person spends 20 minutes on Facebook daily.  If you had to guess where to meet someone in town on a given day, this is it.
  • Want to reach millenials (15-34)? 91% of them are on Facebook. Why would you avoid showing up where everyone else is already?
  • Average number of friends teens have on FB: 300. Women: 250.  They’re connected.

 After Facebook, you should take up Instagram, or Twitter. You can save LinkedIn, Peach and Snapchat for later.

 So I hope that gives you some permission to stop treating social media in a binary way.  You have more than just two choices: All or Nothing. 

 Choose some with incremental gains.

 What else is contributing to your anxiety around social media for your church? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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 Kenny Jahng is the Church Online Pastor at Liquid Church Online - a multi-site Christian church with multiple locations across New Jersey. He also advises nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations on strategic content marketing initiatives. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter at @KennyJahng. Or check out his blog at www.KennyJahng.com