Now that you’ve listened to what your target – Christian youth, ministers, laymen etc – wants, needs and is saying about their faith and their lives, the next important thing to do is learn how to reach out.
How many times have you seen Twitter accounts and Facebook groups set up for churches or ministries which lay dormant, or are updated irregularly, ad-hoc and only when something’s happening FOR the owner-church of that account or group?
Most ministries think:
‘now we’ve set up our Twitter account/ Facebook page, the youth will come flocking to us.’
Why? Why should they? Are you giving something away for free? What are you doing for them? They have ten thousand other things to look for and interact with online than your dry, non-interactive and non-essential existence in the Web 2.0 environment. The social space is social only because it is a TWO-way dialogue.
The old adage: ‘if you build it they will come’ may apply to large scale, expensive newspaper and television advertising, but is the biggest down-side of social media. The more appropriate phrase would be if you talk WITH them instead of TO them, they will talk back and – and this is the most important part of your evangelisation, no matter how much you think its something else – get more people into the conversation.
So how do you do this?
Read. Subscribe to great blogs about blogging and social media. I’d highly recommend MarketingProfs, Chris Brogan’s blog, Seth Godin’s blog. Among books, I’d highly recommend Syrup by Maxx Barry, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith with a very strong nod towards All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin.
These can get you started on the right track. And once you’re done with these, pick up Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice. You could start off with this book, but its always better to learn the marketing basics behind social networking before getting straight into the how-to of it. Its like talking to someone about Christ and getting to know more about His ministry before actually reading the Bible. You can start with the Bible, but if you don’t have any understanding of what Christ can become for you, you’d simply be reading it like a self-help book.