1. Think about your audience.
It’s easy to think about all the things you want your reader to do, the ways you think they should give their money and the places they should divert their attention. But you have competition from other ministries, celebrities, even food videos that are attracting attention away from you.
Instead of thinking about yourself on social media, think about what your audience would most want and how they’re reading what you have to say. You could say:
"We’ve just launched a brand new app from Cru, EveryStudent.com for Evangelism"
But instead, think about how your reader will be looking at the text:
"You can now read hundreds of stories that will instantly help start spiritual conversations with people in your life."
2. Every post should be a story.
Stories are how Jesus spoke to people during his ministry on earth. Stories are what move people from the heart and is a way unlike any other to connect with others.
For social media, treat every post like it is a story with characters and actions. It’s a short story that you’re sharing with your reader.
For example, instead of saying, "Learn more about using digital media for your ministry with the Digital Ministry page on Cru.org," find a way to connect with your audience. An example could be:
Katie was a 19-year-old girl whose mother had left her and father barely spoke to her. Knowing a Father’s love didn’t come easily. Then, she saw a quote on Facebook that spoke to her and showed her that God had always been there for her. Social Media is a way to reach people like never before. Check out the Digital Ministry page of Cru.org.
Making it relatable and telling a real story is a way to bring people in and keep them there.
3. What’s the value?
Before you share anything on your social media, or your website for that matter, ask yourself what value is in the content you are giving to your reader.
Make it clear why they should care about your posts, stories and events. The same can be said for any calls to action you elicit from your audience.
4. Keep a consistent voice.
You will likely have interactions with people through your social media sites, website and email. It’s important that each interaction feel like it’s from the same organization – not from individuals who work at that organization.
Your ministry’s voice or personality should be consistent with every interaction. Check out Mail Chimp’s example.
For Cru, we have said that our character is professional, our tone is personal, our language is fun and our purpose is to engage with our readers and to have our readers engage with Cru.
5. Write in second person.
Social media is meant to be personal, so write to your audience like you’re talking to them. Pronouns like “you,” “your” and “yours” help connect your audience to you with fewer words.
6. Keep it simple.
It’s not an unknown fact that people have incredibly short attention spans – shorter than that of a goldfish. Keep your posts short and simple. Your audience doesn’t need you to write the next great novel.
The average newspaper writes on a 6th grade reading level, according to William Ackerly’s “Creative Copy”. Don’t try to show off your extensive vocabulary. Use simple words and write to your audience like they are one of your friends.
7. Use emojis – you know you want to.
More than 6 billion emojis are sent every day, according to Digiday. Emojis in posts have a 33 percent higher share and comment rate, and a 57 percent higher like rate.
8. Ask questions.
You know what makes a really good conversation? When someone actually listens to you and then responds! The same is true for social media.
Instead of stating something on your social media, ask a question of your audience to spark real conversation.
Instead of, "Here are 3 tips for doing evangelism on your summer break," say something like:
"Have you tried sharing your faith with someone, but didn’t feel like you knew what you were doing? Here’s 3 tips to help"
9. The fun of punctuation.
We’re not in English class anymore. Punctuation isn’t about grammar on social media; it’s about getting your readers attention and helping them see your tone in each post.
Experiment with punctuation in your content and don’t worry about that old journalistic adage that you get a mere three exclamation points your whole life. Posts with exclamation points get 2.7 percent more interactions and posts with question marks get 23 percent more engagement, according to HubSpot.
As a college student you’re likely to spend hours every day on social media, so how do you use time to share your faith with friends.
Many people have pushed Google+ aside and with good reason, it's been dubbed a "ghost town" platform by social media scholars, but there's still worth in this platform.
It’s no longer about the coolest looking fliers you can print up or even the innovative prize you offer to get the word out about what’s going on in your ministry. It’s about how you’re using social to get your audience’s attention, and a big part of that is the hashtag.
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