In talking with pastors, churches, and representatives from other organizations on Twitter, I usually ask them what social media channels they’re using (Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, etc) and how successful they feel they’ve been with those. But I always qualify the question by asking how successful they’ve been according to their particular goals, because success can only be measured based on that factor.
For churches and similar organizations, there is no one overarching indicator of success (you’d think a million “likes” on a Facebook page, for example, would be a pretty good indicator, but if no one actually engages on that page, what do all those “likes” really mean?).
So I wanted to share a few tips to help you set goals for social media at your church or other organization. Here’s how you can get started:
1. Do your homework – research pre-existing social media use at your church. Before you can formulate goals, you need to make sure that those goals would be reasonable based on how people in your congregation are already using social media. That’s not to say that you’re forever “stuck” with congregants who only use Facebook and don’t touch Twitter, for example, but you need an accurate assessment of where you are to determine future areas of growth.
The easiest and fastest way to do this is to use a free online survey tool like SurveyMonkey. Make your survey and ask questions that both get a sense of where and how people are using social media and that also give clues on where you might take them. Email it to everyone on your church email list, and when enough results come in, analyze the results. What patterns do you see? Where do you see potential for future growth? Use the results to help you with all of the following steps.
2. Determine the purpose of using social media. It’s easy to skip this step and move right into using it, but it’s really crucial in figuring out goals that make sense for your church. Why are you using social media? What needs does it address? Is it simply another tool to communicate information about your church, or do you plan to use it for ministry applications as well?
There really needs to be a strong “why” here to focus not only goal formulation but overall usage. Of course, this purpose and the needs social media will address will evolve over time as you see patterns and refine your usage, but it’s good to have a place to start.
3. Set large, less specific goals first. What do you want social media to be at your church? How is it going to be a tool for communication or a channel for ministry? Some examples of these large goals might be:
1. We want social media to become the primary means of communicating information about our church/organization, taking the place of the paper newsletter.
2. We want our Facebook page to be a place where people from our congregation and those wishing to learn more about us can see what we’re really like as a church and get a sense of our life and ministry.
3. We want to start using Twitter as another platform to reach people in our congregation and elsewhere who rely on it for information.
4. Set very specific goals last. These are really the most important for actually setting a standard for how successful your social media use is. The more specific you can be here, the better. Here’s some examples:
1. In six months from now, we want to have 50 “likes” on our Facebook page.
2. We want to have at least 2 comments on our blog posts.
3. In three months from now, we want 80% of the people in our church that use Twitter to be our followers.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your goals should be goals: achievable but not necessarily easy. Use them to challenge both the church leadership team and people in the congregation to think in new creative ways about using social media at your church.
It’s up to you whether you want to keep them private or make them public. Making them public might engage more people and help you actually achieve them, but you don’t want people to feel like you’re manipulating them or playing a game with them. You know your church or organization best, so do what you feel will best fit there.
Other tips/comments on social media goal formation? Add them below. Thanks!