The McKinsey Quarterly recently published an interesting article on the six social media skills every leader needs, including a good analysis of social media practices in General Electric.
The ‘competitive advantage’ these skills bring don’t matter that much to church leaders obviously, or at least they shouldn’t matter. But the skills are still important in a day and age where social media can be used and leveraged to a church advantage, even to the advantage of spreading the gospel.
I think social media literacy matters in the church as well. Not to the extent that it should be number one on the agenda or that it should come in the way of actually reaching out to ‘the least of our brethren’, but I’ve seen Christian leaders and churches use social media with amazing results for their ministry. That’s why these six skills (or six roles, even after reading the article I wondered if the word roles doesn’t describe it better) are so interesting:
Being a producer means creating compelling content, content that is worth reading/watching and worth spreading. This takes effort, especially if you want to be consistent in this.
This is about knowing who you key influencers are who can spread your message. It also means embracing ‘messy’ communication, where you can’t really control who sees your message anymore.
Communication is a two-way street. You can’t just send messages, you have to deal with incoming messages as well. This is (still) where a lot of leaders and churches fail. They don’t respond to tweets, comments, etc. If you really want to engage, responding is key.
Being a leader also means helping others develop their social media skills. Many people don’r grasp the complicated Facebook privacy issues for instance, so you may need to explain these. It also involves being open and strategic about your social media strategy and your goals in this. Help your team grow their social media skills so that they can influence others.
It’s important to create an environment where social media can thrive, but people are still protected. Think of ‘rules’ on posting pictures for instance to protect people’s privacy or agreements on who can and cannot tweet via the church’s Twitter account.
Social media constantly evolve. What worked on Facebook a year ago for instance doesn’t work anymore. That’s why as a leader you need to stay up to date on social media developments so you can adapt your strategy when necessary.
I think that if Christian leaders were serious about these six roles in social media, they could have an even bigger impact on the world.
[Image via McKinsey Quarterly, free registration required to access this article]