People will always crave connection—with each other, with people having similar experiences as them, with hope—and with ministries like yours.
And, call me Captain Obvious, but this has been a tough year for connection. Even people who venture out and have resumed in-person activities and worship aren’t getting the deeper engagement they crave.
Where there’s a gap in face-to-face interaction, social media has stepped in to fill it. But filling that kind of void calls for more than the typical social media marketing strategies.
Consider a couple of statistics.
1. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family (Oberlo.com)
2. In 2019—a fairly uneventful year, as it turns out—over 70% of Americans age 18 to 38 reported feeling lonely, according to Time Magazine.
In our era of multitasking, effective social media strategy is fertile ground for both the spreading of the Gospel AND fighting the loneliness epidemic in our country by providing opportunities for engagement.
How do you move beyond social media / content marketing and into connection and engagement? Better yet, how do you do both?
Tip #1. If you expect your audience to follow you and give you props, follow them and give them props back.
It’s simple, but it means something. People want to be seen and valued. Friend or follow the people who friend and follow you. Scroll through and like, comment, or retweet something of theirs from time to time. A healthy relationship, even one on social media, requires give and take. Try to know as much about your audience as they know about you.
Tip #2. Interactive content.
Let us repeat that one. Interactive content. More and more, audiences experience content not simply by reading, watching, or listening, but by actively engaging with it. Some examples of widely and successfully used interactive content are things like this:
- Maps. If your ministry serves a geographic area that may not be familiar with all of your audience, an interactive map that users can click on to zoom in on regions, all the way down to pictures of the people you serve, is a stellar tool to get them to stay on your page and learn more about your mission.
- Polls and quizzes. These are low / no-cost social media engagement studs. Create a poll or a quiz about anything from the movie you should show at outdoor movie night to the most impressive miracle in the bible, to Marvel vs. DC Comics.
- Touch or click-through photo galleries. Use these to journal about ministry events, service projects, or before and afters.
- User-generated content (UGC). Encourage your regulars to post their own photos, comments, and videos and tag or hashtag your organization. It gets your users involved, helps them learn about each other, and #bonus, UGC earns a ton of street cred for your ministry.
Experiment. Give people a chance to interact with you, with each other. Plant the seeds and watch them take off.