I love being on teams filled with talented people. There’s a rush from sitting in a room full of people who have crazy ideas and the ability to execute them. In fact, if I’m not careful I could spend all day dreaming about what could be versus executing what needs to happen.
At the same time, I know that being on team is not always the norm. Sometimes, you are required to a job all by yourself, with little to no help. Yep, you’re on an island.
I think this is true for a lot of people running social media for their church. Somehow, they were designated as the “tech person” in their church and they were handed the Twitter password and told to “get the church on social media”. You might just fit this bill.
If this is you, I know how it feels. There have been plenty of times when I would have rather had a team around me for support, but instead I was running social media all by myself. I got the job done, but it would have been more fun if it was team effort.
If your running social media for church alone, then there are certain things you need to be aware of. There are temptations and traps that if not properly managed, that can really impair you from doing the job you assigned. If you’re not careful, you can easily burnout, make mistakes, or just quit out of frustration.
Today, I’m going to walk you through four key principles you can do to make sure that your running of social media is as successful as possible. If you follow through on these four key principles, then you’ll increase your chances of succeeding. Here they are:
1. Set Clear Boundaries
Social media can be addictive. Don’t believe me? Just ask around and you’re bound to find at least one person you know who spends multiple hours on Facebook.
When you’re running social media for a church and you start to see some success, it can start to become addictive as well. For me, social media can be like a video game. I’m trying to figure out ways to beat Facebook’s algorithm or increase Twitter followers. (Yes, I know social media is more than just numbers.)
However, if I’m not careful I can spend more time that I need to on social media and neglect other responsibilities. This can happen to a lot of volunteers or church staff who juggle multiple roles. What once was a small thing, can easily morph into something that steals majority of your attention.
In order to keep a sense of balance you need to set clear boundaries for yourself. This can be as simple as designating specific times of the day to monitor social media or determining how much you’ll let your smartphone notify you of social media updates.
If you don’t set clear boundaries you can begin to neglect the responsibilities for the very job you were hired for. Or even worse, you can neglect other life responsibilities like your family, health or your soul.
2. Keep it Scalable
Getting wins in social media can be great feeling. Sometimes it’s seeing a Facebook post reaching more people, and other times it may be an Instagram post getting a lot of likes and comments. It’s easy to love the rush of social media.
However, it’s very tempting to add new social networks in order to keep that rush going. You see new social networks appear and you start think about starting a Snapchat or Periscope account. You start to feel the need to feed the feeling like your social media is success.
The problem is that this is not scalable over a long period of time. Sure, you may be able to keep up with it for a while, but at some point, one your social networks will get neglected and eventually abandoned.
You can prevent this by asking the following questions before you join a new social network:
- Do I have enough content to fill this network on a daily basis?
- How does the network help our church accomplish our overall strategy?
- Does this network give me enough analytics to justify my time with it?
- Is this social network too niche based? Will it be adopted by a large portion of our congregation?
- If this social network does well, what I’m I willing to give up so that I have time to spend on it?
By asking the above questions, you’re forcing yourself to slow down and ensure that the choices you’re making are scalable for the future.
3. Delegate When You Can
You can’t be every at once when you’re running social media. Trust me, I’ve tried and failed. You can’t be at every church event or respond to every Facebook comment or tweet.
In order to keep pace with your church’s social media, you going to need to delegate. This will require using volunteers or staff to help you fill in the gaps. Even if you found just one person to delegate to, you’ll find yourself at little less stressed when dealing with your church’s social media.
Another reason you’ll want to delegate is that you can get someone else’s perspective on your church’s social media. Having at least one other person to bounce ideas off of or double check your strategy can save you the headache of making mistakes.
Delegation also ensures that you need to leave your position that someone else can fill your shoes. if you choose to leave your church, you want to make sure that there’s continuity with church’s social media.
4. Find a Support Community
There are moments when you’re running social media that you can feel like your on an island. No one on your church staff knows what a “retweet” is, or they still think that MySpace is still a thing.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are a lot of people out there just like you. You just need to connect with them.
One way to do that is to follow the Twtter hashtags #chsocm, #churchcomms and #cmschat. Following these hashtags will introduce you to people who care about church and the social media just as much as you do.
Another way to do this is through some of the online seminars that are held regularly by different social media companies. For example, Buffer hosts a live chat on Twitter that allows you to connect with social media professionals and get your questions answered (search for #bufferchat). While these events are specifically geared towards churches, they can help keep you current on the latest best practices.
A Final Thought
Running social media isn’t for everybody. However, if you’re at church with limited resources, you may have to do it until someone else comes along who’s passionate about it. If this is you, don’t feel like your less of person just because you don’t want to Twitter or Facebook.
Trust me, I’m an introvert and I myself can’t stand Facebook. However, it a part of my job and I’ve surrounded myself with people who spend every day on it, so I don’t have to be on it very much.
You were created for a reason and purpose, and running social media might not be it. However, you were called to a church and that is a pretty awesome calling. While, you may have to do some things that you don’t like, you do get to work for a greater purpose. Which is more than what most people can say about their jobs.