Paraphrasing a popular Christmas carol … Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with my social media.
There is nothing that seems to bring angst, stress and even fear to those in online ministry and business than social media.
- Which platforms are the best?
- How many days a week should I post?
- What should I post?
- How much should I post from other people?
- How do I grow my followers?
As part of the Organization Advent series, we’ve spent the past few weeks looking at ways to declutter our business and ministry to make physical, mental and spiritual space for the new opportunities God wants to bring us in the new year.
And make no mistake … social media can definitely cause spiritual clutter. This is where we easily get caught up in comparing ourselves to others (why can’t I ever get MY Instagram photos to look like THAT??), the pursuit of numbers (four zeroes behind that number means I’m more valuable and influential) and spending way more time than we intended (just one…more…pin).
These thoughts damage our spirit. They cause us to focus on ourselves, not the important message we have to share.
'If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.' (Matthew 10:39 MSG)
Social media is a necessary part of online ministry, but it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. We can bring peace to our social media by following a few simple principles.
Be you, because you are awesome – Being authentic is the number 1 rule of peaceful social media. Write in your natural voice. Share things that are interesting to you and helpful to your audience. Comment with personal, thoughtful replies. Carefully crafted quotes that have all the right keywords make you sound like everyone else on the internet. I received this wall hanging as a gift from some very special friends and I hung it right next to my desk as a constant reminder that the world doesn’t need my imitation of someone else.
Be comfortable, because it shows –When you walk into a crowded room, can’t you instantly spot the person who feels totally out of place and just wants to go home and get in her jammies? (That person is usually me!) Social media is the same way.
Each platform has it’s own “vibe”. Some people love the fast-paced chronological flow of Twitter. The visual impact of Instagram thrills the creative heart. If you’ve been on Facebook a while with your personal account, it feels familiar and safe. Definitely experiment and play around with all of them, along with Pinterest, SnapChat, Stumbleupon or where ever you think your target audience is for you. You might find some of them surprisingly fun when you start seeing engagement and connections. But if a particular platform makes your palms sweat and fills you with dread, don’t go there … or at least, don’t spend a lot of energy there.
Be disciplined, because other things are just as important – Just one more pin. One more post. One more profile. You sat down to spend thirty minutes scheduling posts and interacting. But before you know it, the afternoon has flown by and it’s time to get up and start dinner. What else could you have done with that time? Could you have gotten a head start on next week’s post? Completed a module of that course your purchased last month? Contacted that other blogger about your great collaboration idea?
Social media is just a piece of your overall strategy for growth. The longer you spend on social media, the more likely you are to get sucked down the rabbit hole of comparison. And we know that is a scary, dark place. So stay out of it!
To clear out some of your social media clutter, here are your Organization Advent tasks for this week:
Remove yourself from some Facebook Groups
We have a habit of accumulating Facebook Groups like we collect free fonts and stock photos. This week, take a look at your groups and remove yourself from some. Which ones are your truly interacting in? Where are you building relationships? Where are you learning and improving your skills? Too much input can be a bad thing, and keeping up with the conversation with the same people in multiple groups can become a distraction.
Update your Facebook Page
Facebook is frustrating because it’s where most of us feel most comfortable, but the rules keep changing and it takes more and more effort to get any results. But Facebook recently made some cool changes to Pages that will help us maximize the impact when people do find us there.
The cool people at MeetEdgar summarized the changes for us and gave some great tips for using the new features. Check it out in this article:
Do a Review of Your Website
Are your social media follow and share icons easy to find on your website? When you click them, do they go to a social media account that is consistent with your website branding? Same profile picture, same (or related) cover photos? Profile description that clearly says what you are about?
My friend, Susan Mead, is a social media genius. I love the script she recommends for social media profiles:
I believe _____________. That’s why I ___________ at __________.
I believe: a statement that relates to what your audience can expect to gain from you
That’s why I: write/speak/preach/teach etc.
At: Your blog, YouTube channel, podcast … whatever you consider your “home base”.
Susan’s variation on Twitter is :
I believe God loves us & wants us to know Him well. Do you? I speak & write to help others find calm in the chaos. Find me at http://SusanBMead.com
So go ahead … sing along with me. Let there be Peace in your social media.
Are you making progress on your Organization Advent task? Share how it’s going in the Comments!