Quit Asking for Tips, Develop a Social Media Strategy

Written by  //  March 10, 2014  //  Church Social Media  //  3 Comments

One of the best parts about social media is when people can share ideas across networks that make them and you a better blogger, creator, and generally good person. In fact, that’s how I met Lauren (founder/owner of ChurchTechToday) for the first time, engaging with people on social media, looking for someone that understood church technology content far better than I did, and finding amazing inspiration through her Twitter links to great articles.

The one drawback to social media is that we are always looking for that quick fix. The first question I always ask when I work with churches on their strategy is, “what is your specific strategy for what you are doing?” This can be answered with further questions of why do you blog, who is your target audience, what are your goals, and how do you know when you succeed? Yet, answering all these questions take time and effort.

Who needs a strategy when you can do it the quick and easy way?

Quit Asking For Tips, Develop A Strategy

I love reading the occasional catchy blog articles such as: Top Ten Tips for Pinterest, 4 Ways to Write Better Blog Articles, 16 Places to Get Better Stock Photography for Your Next Project, or 5 Tips to Better SEO. But the truth is, a brand or business cannot run by tips and tricks alone.

At its foundation, you need to have a strategy that leads you to success. Only then, after a great strategy has been setup, can you begin to implement those tips effectively.

The problem honestly comes down to this: do you want to put the necessary time into doing it right or just putting enough effort into your project to be functional.

One option leads to high levels of success and allows you to reach far and wide with your products or message. The other is a half-hearted effort that makes you the creator look like you are not trying and honestly will not get you far.

There are far too many of the try-just-enough. If you want to do something well, do it all the way.

Working hard is important, but doesn’t depend solely on this point either. Good tips combined with long hours can generate a lot of content, but it will be a lot of mediocre content at best with maybe a golden nugget or two if you are lucky. A lot of what you produce might not hit the correct target audience and you will not know if you have been successful without the right goals to respond to your fans and critics.

Let’s create our strategy. How do we do that?

It would be silly of me to preach this and then give you five tips for getting your strategy started. On top of that every business, brand, ministry, and blog is different so giving you a cookie-cutter model would hurt you and make my content worthless. What I can do is point you in the right direction for creating a strategy that will help you find success by asking you a bucket full of questions. This is not a complete approach, but it is a foundation to build off of.

In the bullet points below, take out a sheet of paper and write down the answer to each of these questions in full and complete sentences, one answer per sheet of paper. Then begin to create action steps with a red pen after the answer, writing down at least two steps per answer that could include bringing others on the team and offering them to own a task.

1) It Starts with Knowing

Who is your audience? What are your goals? (If you need to create your goals, Google SMART goals) What does success look like? How do you proceed when you do or do not succeed in three months, six months, or a year’s time? Who is going to be posting content? How frequently you going to post?

2) Content Is the Point

Who dictates the content you share, you or the audience? What kind of content does your audience want to read? What do you believe they need to read? Why that and not something else? Who will be creating the content (as opposed to the social media manager that is in charge of posting the content)? Is this post simply a marketing tool or a complete relational system?

3) The Process is the Hard Part

The dream stage of developing strategies, sharing your hopes with others, creating accounts, and setting up for success can be sexy, but what do you do in the everyday posting process? How do you keep that passion throughout? What tools are you going to use to measure the success? How are you going to maximize content distribution? Where can you find more content or resources to curate to your audience and improve your brand?

When you have these answers somewhat answered, you will have the foundation to go forward. Know that this is the first step in creating a strategy, but it is not written in stone. You will probably come back and make alterations as you grow and refine your process.

What steps do you need to take the first step forward to success?

About the Author

Jeremy Smith has been a blogger for three years at seventy8 Productions and is a frequent contributor for ChurchTechToday. He has a bachelors degree in Computer Engineering, Master's in Family Ministry, and has been doing youth ministry for ten years in two different ministries.

View all posts by

3 Comments on "Quit Asking for Tips, Develop a Social Media Strategy"

  1. Dana Cadman March 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm · Reply

    Jeremy, you are dead-on with your approach. I’ve worked with many non-profit organizations and churches and I run into the same thing. Everyone would rather read, “The 10 Steps to…” instead of “Using a Strategy to Do It Right”. I believe part of the distraction is the numbers game – gaining more followers becomes the goal instead of emphasizing the social aspect of social media.

    Although, I think the bigger problem with church communications is that seminaries don’t teach marketing. I believe all pastors should take a semester course in rudimentary business – contracts, employment law, accounting, marketing – so they are at least familiar with these topics. And then, a follow-on semester of marketing would help them understand the need for a strategy versus quick tips. Frankly, without the broader knowledge of marketing/church communications/outreach, most people aren’t even aware they need a strategy. Therefore, quick tips fit their understanding and their available schedule. I’m developing a coaching program to overcome just this lack of training.

    • Jeremy Smith March 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm · Reply

      Love the idea of marketing for church leaders in seminary. We can all dream, right?

      As far as the numbers comment, its the attractive lusting for short-term success without much effort that they want instead of the longer, tougher, social media strategy that is required.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Church And Technology.ca's good reads, week 13 2014

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm