Starting a Social Media Strategy for Ministry Settings

Social media strategy is a plan for how you intentionally engage your young people and families through your websites and social media channels.  It about how you create and curate content and engage your audience.  A great primer to setting started with a social media strategy is to adopt the P.O.S.T. method as a practice for how you use your social media tools and website.  

What is the P.O.S.T. Method?

Many years ago, Forrester was trying to help businesses learn how to "do social the right way". They created an acronym called P.O.S.T. which stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology.  Here's a brief overview of what it means for your ministry with young people:

People
Who are you trying to reach?
What do you know about this audience? What are their technological capabilities?

  • Youth / Specific Groups of Youth – High School Age / Middle School / Juniors and Seniors / Confirmation Candidates / Youth in Leadership Roles / Youth who participated in a Retreat – Conference or Mission Trip
  • Parents
  • Leaders / Team
  • Parish Community
  • Wider Community

Objective
What are you trying to achieve? 

  • Communicate opportunities
  • Provide resources
  • Engage in dialogue
  • Learn about needs and interests
  • Share about vision and mission

Strategy
How will you achieve your objective?

  • Be clear about what you want to be different after you implement the strategy
  • Name the elements of your strategy, your timing and who will be involved

Technology
What technology will serve our strategy?

  • Once you know your people, your objective and strategy, you can decide on technology with confidence. 

​An Example of the P.O.S.T. Method for Parents of Middle School Age Youth

  • People – Parents of Middle School Age Youth – Looking for resources / Gen X / Comfortable with Technology / Uses Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram
  • Objective – We will foster family faith formation by providing parents with resources and networking
  • Strategy – We will recruit a team that will include parents and adults in the parish. We will provide a series of resources for parenting middle school youth and providing practical ways to encourage faith conversations, family prayer and family service.
  • Technology – We will collect potential content from team and by using Feedly (content aggregator) and Hootsuite to schedule posts (Facebook/ Twitter and Instagram). We will also use Survey Monkey to assess needs of parents and get feedback.

Leverage Social Media Tools

  • Save time with social media by leveraging scheduling tools to manage multiple social media channels.
  • RSS Readers are useful to aggregate news and posts from various websites and curate content.

Be Mindful of Safe Environment Concerns

  • Be pro-active in how you use social media and your website.
  • Ask questions and encourage conversation to encourage engagement.
  • Utilize platforms and methods that allow for accountability
  • Know the features and concerns for new social media sites. Read the article below on social media apps that young people are using today.
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18 Social Media Apps and Sites Kids Are Using Right Now | Common Sense Media

Learn more about the most popular social media apps teens are using. The bottom line for most of these tools? If they're used respectfully, appropriately, and with a little parental guidance, they're mostly fine. So take inventory of your teen's apps and review everything you need to know.