When asked about social media in most meetings, Facebook is by far the primary platform. I highly recommend meetings pick one to start with – and Facebook is what I most recommend.
I do get asked about other platforms for digital engagement, and it seems right to consider a few of them here. IF you already are feeling quite competent with your digital presence with a great website, and active Facebook page – experimenting with these other platforms might be for you! For these I would consider very carefully their individual uses, and how they might work for your particular meeting/context. I also would seek out meeting members who might already be very skilled in thee platforms, and use their knowledge to guide the technical parts of your experiment at first. The amount of energy it takes to become adept at any of these systems is often not available to most meetings at first. Steward your time as a resource – and the benefits to your meeting in any particular digital outreach effort must balance other efforts of pastoral care, education, other concerns of the meeting life overall.
Instagram is a VISUAL medium. It is recommended you post 1-2 times per day. It uses a visual image to tell a story. It is also highly searchable with hashtags. This is a great opportunity for you to share pictures of your meeting attenders. It can be used to easily share quotations contained in graphic posts. Most churches have found this platform successful by using specific hashtags (up to 30 per post), scenes from events that serve to hare the culture your meeting, and posts with minimum text on a picture that has dramatic impact.
Twitter has sometimes been described as “drinking from a firehose.” It can be overwhleming, has no limits on number of posts, and can be followed by anyone easily. It is often too “big” for advertising and connections with overall Meeting outreach. It had a limit of 140 characters – which now has been increased to 240. People need to “follow” your twitter account to see what you have posted.
However, sharing and reposting can be helpful. Having an account where others can tag posts, and share widely with an event hashtag, can be helpful. Some folks use twitter often for direct messaging communications. Political follows and statements can often be shared directly and have an impact with legislators. As a particuarly popular hashtag trends, you may be able to link a popular post or bit of current news directly to your Meeting event or concern. I would not recommend it as a basic form of outreach and communication, unless someone in your meeting has a specific knack for using twitter. You may however, ask individuals to use twitter and retweet you meeting information and events.
Pinterest is not a useful outreach platform in itself. It is a way to “bookmark” useful sites and posts, and can be searched and shared with other Pinterest users.
If your meeting has a lot of resources (for a workshop, or about legislative issues) you might use a Pinterest board to keep track of them. rather than have a massive list of curated links on your website, or linking them to facebook, having resources from others clearly marked and sorted on Pinterest might make the easy to find and share for folks. Again, ind someone in your meeting that uses Pinterest well and ask them to start the board!
Your videos have to “live” somewhere. Having a meeting youtube channel, where you can easily upload video content from workshops, and witness events, might be helpful. Set it up beforehand when you have the time to do it properly, with good controls and links back to your website.
What else have you found helpful in digital outreach/connecting for your Quaker Meeting?