Updated: May 7
Do you have a social media account for your business or ministry? If so, is it a vibrant, exciting page, or does it more resemble that graveyard out back behind your parish's chapel?
As a trained social media coordinator, here are 5 ways I see Catholic parishes, businesses, and ministries tend to use social media wrong:
1. Not having social media at all - It's free and a great way to connect with your potential audience! You don't have to have every platform out there to be successful, but a social media presence does allow you to humanize your brand and make connections that distance wouldn't normally allow.
2. Not posting enough - I can't tell you how many Catholic organizations I've seen that have a social media presence but never use it. Believe it or not, this is actually worse than not having a page at all; it shows a lack of interest and gives off an inactive and mundane vibe.
3. Posting too much or going off-brand - You can also post too much as a business. Posting things that are off-brand or seeming to reveal too much about your personal life will not bring your audience closer - it will simply annoy them. This doesn't mean you can't share it all; just as you would with your personal profile though, always use discretion before posting.
4. Utilizing the wrong platform - If you are trying to reach the middle-aged members of your audience, Snapchat is the wrong platform for you. Likewise, if you don't often have photos to share, you should stay away from Instagram. Knowing the intended audiences and uses of the platforms is key to using them successfully.
5. Not engaging the audience - No one likes to be talked to without having an opportunity to talk themselves. What makes a good social media account great is opportunities to drive engagement and get people talking - after all, that's how you can relate to them and become their genuine friends, not just a brand.
Even if your business is currently breaking one or all of these rules, never fear - here are three easy ways you can begin fixing your social media presence today!
1. Ask for help - Do you know any teenagers? Consult them for social media advice or put them to work taking pictures of the parish or making informational graphics. Members of Gen Z are practically all born with a certification in social media, which you can use to your advantage.
2. Start asking questions - Ask your audience questions about themselves. It not only drives engagement, but it can also help you do some market research about your audience.
3. Use resources you already have - You know all of those graphics you're making for your newsletter or blog? Those can easily be repurposed for social media. Same goes for your photos, website content, etc. You don't have to reinvent the wheel to have an active social media account!
Most of all, make sure that your social media accounts are an addition, not an obsession. Start by making your business or ministry great, and then get the word out through social media (not the other way around).