Friday, November 28, 2014

Unsync Your Twitter & Facebook Accounts!

For most churches and organizations that don't have a full-time social media person, creating content is a real schedule killer. It is hard enough to put regular bulletins and newsletters together, let alone managing multiple social media accounts. Many organizations have tried to offset the demands of content creation by syncing social media accounts. You post something on one account, it automatically posts to the other. This might be easier, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, but I have found that easier is not always better.

Since content creation is such a challenge for busy church and non-profit leaders, why not take this shortcut? It does, after all, keep all of your social media sites updated at least, right?

You're right! It does, but updating your pages is not the end of the social media success story. Kivi Leroux Miller, non-profit veteran, wrote in a blog on this subject, "If you are lumping Twitter and Facebook together simply as 'social media' that needs updating, you are missing the bigger picture." Here's the biggest reason why syncing accounts does not work:

Different social media networks are really different channels for engaging constituents. Each one has its own audience, its own quirks and its own types of successful content needs. Although channel in this context is more like "medium," the channel metaphor might be helpful for understanding.

Cable and Satellite come with dozens - or hundreds - of channels. Each one has its own unique programming. Think of ESPN, Fox Sports, etc. These channels air college and professional level sporting events. Lifetime, on the other hand, airs programming on the dramatic side, usually based on real life events. Consider what would happen if ESPN started airing Lifetime movies between hockey games, or if Lifetime began programming football games between movies. Each channel's primary audience would be confused, ratings would drop and a lot of money would be lost. To put it simply: The same content does not work on all channels. This is why the shortcut of syncing social media accounts just does not work. 

Each social media network functions differently and has its own audience. Instead of seeing the multi-channel approach as just another site to update, consider it as an opportunity to connect with different people in different ways.

Here's a simplistic way to think of Facebook and Twitter as channels for your non-profits:

Facebook: more passive channel, best for fostering relationships with those already connected with your organization, good for informing constituents of organization happenings, posts have a longer "shelf life" for viewers, graphic appeal (pictures and designed content) is important.

Twitter: in-the-moment channel, broader reach with those outside your organization, potential to form new relationships with other organizations or individuals, great for sharing summarized thoughts (microblogging), tweets have a shorter active shelf life. 

How do you personally engage with non-profits on various social media channels? Drop a line and leave a comment below. Make the contact form to the right feel useful and send me a note if you're looking for more training for your organization.

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