What's in a number?

Bigger is better, right? Well, not really. Especially when it comes to social media. If you have an ounce of marketing savvy running through your brain the natural thing would be to think that having a high number of followers on your Facebook and Twitter pages would equal more sales of a product, draw in a larger attendance within your church or event, and so on. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend who was paying for ads on Facebook. He was blown away with how many people were “liking” his brand and how amazing this was for their business. True, Facebook ads are great and very effective. But the question I asked him was, “OK, so you have the fans...how are you engaging them? How are you getting them involved with your brand?” He hadn’t really thought much past the number.

A quote that I reuse all the time is this, “Your Facebook followers are consumers. It’s your job to turn them into customers.”  Because you have 10,000 fans does not mean you are going to have 10,000 sales or 10,000 new members to your congregation or ministry.

Engaging with your “fans” is absolutely key. Think of it this way: do you trust a recommendation or information from a friend or a stranger? The answer is obvious. Your followers have to learn to trust you and what you have to offer. Will this take time? Yes. Is there an easy or quick answer? Not really. Gaining followers is easy...earning their trust takes time.

Social media isn’t a quick fix to your marketing problems. If you want to develop quality, lasting, and trusted customers or followers, social media is a brilliant resource.

So how do you engage with your followers? Here are a few tips:

1.) POST: This might seem obvious but many people don’t actually do it! Like any relationship we have we need to talk with the other person. You just happen to be doing it on a grander scale.

2.) PICTURES OR VIDEO: If you are a church or ministry wondering how to engage your congregation, take pictures or video of the next event that you have and post it on Facebook. Have members tag themselves and others & share with their friends. A youth event, a potluck, anything...it’s all great material for social media. Get creative!

3.) QUOTES: Post inspirational quotes that you find that will encourage or challenge your members.

4.) REMINDERS: Remind members of special events that will be taking place at your church.

5.) RESPOND TO POSTS: This is a big one...once engagement begins to roll and more people start to leave posts on your page, respond to them in a timely manner. 6.) ASK QUESTIONS: Ask your fans how you can improve your page, to take a survey, or even what they are doing this weekend. It’s give AND take!

7.) KEEP POSTS SHORT: Think in terms of Twitter posts...you have 140 characters to get your thought across. Keep that same idea with Facebook.

Once you get to know your fans the easier it will be to become more engaged and active on your social media outlets. Take note of what your fans respond to, what they want to be involved with, and you will be encouraged by the outcome.