18 Oct What’s Working in Social Media
Dear Christian Radio,
Social media is an ever-changing enigma that few have solved and even fewer will ever master. The constant question for those who routinely wrestle with it begins with why: Why did this video work? Why did this post tank the page? Why did this post only get 10 shares?
Why is the largest unknown of social media. Challenges such as changing algorithms and shifts in users’ viewing habits continue to perplex companies of all sizes. The reality is that it’s a lot for anyone to manage—even the pros. The path toward gaining viewers, subscriptions, customers, and donations remains centered on an organization’s ability to effectively engage its users. Gone are the days of entrusting your brand to any willing team member who has a Facebook account. Social media can no longer be an afterthought; rather, it is a critical outlet for your message and should be a major consideration when establishing a brand strategy.
What is working?
People lie at the heart of social media. They are what make it tick. People want to see other people. People want to feel that they can relate to others. Therefore, people want to connect with like-minded individuals. Social media makes this possible in a safe, enclosed environment.
Radio and social media go well together—both are in the people business. Both platforms provide a safe space for listeners and users to share their lives with us and vice versa. We can engage, open up, and share our deepest experiences in these open forums without necessarily sacrificing security. In many cases, there is a shared sense that we are among friends and that they are just as much in the thick of things as we are. What works in Christian radio is equally applicable to your social media landscape. Offering a space for encouragement, laughter, and hope strengthens your brand. Sharing your struggles and vulnerabilities with your online friends strengthens your relationship with them.
It would be Pollyannaish for any of us to ignore the dark side of social media. Negativity, hate, crudeness, and disrespect dominate the headlines, as those within the industry struggle to tame this technological leviathan. The bad press has certainly shaded people’s opinions of all that social media can be and has kept many curious companies on the sidelines. Both present an opportunity for Christian radio.
Being Christian implies being different from the world. Being different is good…especially on social media. Positive content stands out in a sea of chaos. Encouraging posts, uplifting videos and anything funny or family friendly creates an oasis for users who are weary from all the noise. A constant consistent message of hope can point more people to Jesus Christ through your social media. It is an invaluable ministry tool that works.
Here are three tips that will help you think differently so you can be different online:
- Be Real – The world is full of inauthentic celebrities and personalities. Millennials are especially sensitive to facades—real or imagined. Be willing to reveal who you really are. As you grow more comfortable with opening up, go deeper. Sharing hurts and struggles allows people to relate to you as a person. Sharing your victories will give others hope. One word of caution: being real doesn’t mean sacrificing your privacy or personal safety. Be real, but be smart about it, too.
- Be Wise – Share your content internally with others before posting it. Consider all the possible ways one could misinterpret your message before hitting Send. Truth: someone out there in cyberland is ready to reinterpret your message in the worst way possible. Don’t give your detractors ammunition; a masterfully edited message can greatly reduce their stockpile of slings and arrows.
- Be Confident – God has blessed you with this platform. Someone on your team has the necessary skills needed to reach people for His kingdom in this way. On days when you feel you have nothing to offer to the world, try posting something honest and relatable. It could very well be the story that changes a person’s whole outlook on life.
It’s all too easy to sum up social media as a collection of compelling videos, creative hashtags, and well written posts. However, people who are willing to offer themselves up as genuine examples of life’s highs and lows and as recipients of God’s grace and mercy are the key ingredient to your site’s success. Your online friends are eager to know more about who you are and what your struggles are, and how God has helped you overcome this world.
Wanted: broken, torn down, messed up, chosen, forgiven, and renewed people.
Dear Christian Radio…
1. Be Real – Let Jesus be perfect, you do you.
2. Be Wise – Know who will receive your message and think through how it will be perceived.
3. Be Confident – Share your thoughts, feelings, hurts, and lives for the whole world to see.