YWTD #45 – Social Media & Ministry, Do You Have a Plan?

Tip: Make a Plan for How You Want to Use Social Media.

Today is the final post in a short series about Social Media and Ministry. So far I have shared some of my personal thoughts as it pertains to social media and some of the pros and cons. Today, I want to wrap this up with a suggestion and a few final thoughts in how to use social media.

My Youth Worker Tip for the Day is this, Make a plan for how you want to use social media.

Over the years, many have shared how to use social media for the purpose of ministry. But sometimes I feel like those ideas come as disjointed thoughts. We hear, “Do this…” and we get excited and we do it. For a while. Then we hear, “Hey try this…” and we get excited again. And before we know it, we are trying all sorts of things without any real direction or purpose behind what we’re doing. This usually are great ideas, don’t get me wrong. But if we develop a plan for how we want to use social media, it can help us shape how we use social media while protecting us from the ideas that sound great, but don’t really fit within our context of ministry.

Consider this…

1. Learn the social media habits of your ministry.
How are your students/church using social media? Is it a play for connection or a place to play? Are they looking to use it as a way to stay informed? Do they want to use their social media in the way you have in mind? Learning how and why your students/church use social media will shape how you can use it. If their not interested in responding to church activity invites, then taking the time to type all the details up and send invitations might end up being a waste of your time.

2. Talk with your Leadership about how Social Media could be an effective tool.
Meet with the visionaries of your ministry and brainstorm how you might use social media in a way that fits with how the church uses social media. If we are going to invest our time in this area, we should know how to best use it.

3. Get Educated!
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more informed and prepared you will be. Take some time to get to know the major social media companies. What do they offer and which ones fits with your vision for a social media ministry? It’s good to know how long they have been operating? Looking into their security and privacy policies. Remember, you’ll be asking your students/church to be part of this venture, knowing that it is safe and secure will be important. Find out what’s trendy, what’s here to stay (for a while), and what’s just a passing thing.

3. Now Make a Plan!
Take sometime to come up with a clear plan of how you intent to use social media. This plan should include which media outlets, based on your students/church investigation, you will use. You should spell out how each outlet will be used and when. Your plan should also establish who we oversee your social media ministry. Maintain an online presence takes time, who is going to be able to dedicate that time. Be sure to include within your plan a way to evaluate what your doing? What were you hoping to accomplish? Were you able to accomplish it? And lastly, consider how and when you will end the areas of social media ministry. Social networking sites are dime a dozen. Many of them come and go in a matter of months or years. Just a number of years ago, Myspace.com was on everyones radar. Today, you barely hear anything about it. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to grow and stay relevant.

Having a plan in place will not only help you structure our ministry, but will protect you from going to place where you really don’t want or need to be. If your students/church isn’t using social media, then reconsider it use for your ministry. You just might not be ready yet. And that’s okay!

– jay

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