Let’s be honest: There are tons of great tools and web services out there but not all of them are the right ones for your ministry and organization.
It’s this key difference, and you’re ability to spot it and make the right choice, which will determine not only how you engage in online but also your relative effectiveness and success.
There will be temptation and pressure, from within and without the organization, from your staff, volunteers, congregation, and more, to jump on the newest service and social network.
Resist this at all costs.
Your job is to provide guidance and verifiable truth that your investment not only matches your core mission and vision, but is in line with your goals as a ministry. Not all services will help you get there so you don’t have to endorse them officially.
More thoughts after the jump:
Assessing Core Strengths, Assets, and Resources
Social Media is only as good as the results that it ultimately brings about. This is especially true as it aligns with your core strengths and assets.
The truth is that you have only a few core strengths, only a few number of assets, and a limited number of resources to pull this “social media” thing off. To do it well requires an investment that typically most ministries are pretty unaware of.
The groundswell and build of successful social media is equal to the amount of time, energy, and money pumped into it. At the core of it is the “social” aspect of it all, which requires personal attention and engagement.
That’s why anything “automated” in the social web is severely frowned upon. Authenticity, personalization, and real attention is glorified and celebrated; people love it when Executives of extremely large corporations find the time to blog and twitter, because this is ultimately the heartbeat of this new and exciting medium: Everyone, even the most “important” people, can conversate and engage.
But this requires an explicit and intentional practice of doing so. In fact, to varying degrees, it’s sometimes a cultural one as well. Businesses that naturally flourish in this social economy are ones that have a culture of openness, transparency, and a willingness to dialogue.
Unfortunately, most ministries either weren’t culturally “built” that way from the beginning and/or are having an extremely tough time of retrofitting their organization to be as such.
Again, choosing your social media outlets and services is critical to your success, and the closer you align the tools with your core strengths, assets, and available resources the better. All options are “good” ones but not all of them are “great” ones.
But you’ll feel the pressure (and burn) of the temptation to jump on the “social media bandwagon” just because everyone else is doing it.
Just remember that the vast majority of those “everyone’s” didn’t have a strategy when they dove in either. Time to be different; time to do it right.