Should you ditch facebook?
Do you use facebook for your youth ministry?
In the past we have been huge advocates for using facebook to communicate with teenagers in your youth ministry. We wrote posts called, Timeline for Facebook Pages: The Almost Complete Guide, and Social Media Strategy: Facebook. Facebook is a great tool to connect with students in your community. We still think that facebook is a great tool for communicating and connecting with students. Is it the only way to communicate? No!
We are not too sure that facebook has plateaued. It seems like a ton of bloggers are switching to google+. Jeremy Smith(author of 78p.tv) linked to a post this week called, The state of facebook. Facebook is visually cluttered, and if you use a page for communicating within your youth ministry you are only getting the message out to a 1/4 of the people if you are lucky. There are work arounds for this problem, but my guess is that facebook is going to change this with the new update coming soon. I think it will be a blend of facebook, twitter, and pintrest.
I personally am not ready to ditch facebook yet. About a year ago I was frusterated at how poorly I was able to communicate to people from my page. Then I had an idea. I need to diversify the way I communicate today. Facebook is still a great way for new people to try out the youth ministry without having to be active in the community. I have seen tons of new students like the page, and then show up within a few weeks. This alone is worth keeping a facebook presence for me.
What social media platform do your students use? If you could get all your students connected with three communication platforms you are doing great! I personally don’t think you should be on all of them. Each social media platform you take on means more work being a social media manager, and not a disciple maker. Don’t get bogged down trying to do it all.
Here are a few things I use:
1. Texting. I just jumped on the texting service before christmas as I was trying to play with how to communicate better with students and parents. I was amazed at how effectively this works. When I was looking at the stats after the first free trial week with the service I use called tatango (affilate link: use the promo code, NPDISCOUNT, for 20% off), I was amazed that 100% of the messages went through. I remember looking at the screen thinking to my myself, is this true? With facebook, I was only getting 36-50 percent views. Fast forward a few months and I will not look back. I will always use a texting service because it is effective!
I personally checked out all the texting services and the best one I came across is called tatango. We love being able to recommend companies that we use and love to other youth ministries to see them impact cities. Here at youth ministry media we only become affiliates with companies we use and love.
We set up a student list, and we are working on a parent list for emergencies(ie. the bus broke down and we will be late…that never happens right?). We will let you know on the progress.
2. Facebook. I don’t see any reason to ditch facebook yet. We keep growing our facebook page, and it is a great way to communicate. It isn’t the only way to communicate, but it works. As I said before, it is a great way for new students to be casually involved in your youth ministry. One way to get more views each week as you promote your mid week program is to get your core volunteers to like the post. This will make it more visible in other peoples news feed.
One feature we haven’t played with yet is ads for my youth ministry facebook page. I have used ads for youth ministry media, and will continue to use ads because they work! I love that I can target all 280,000 youth ministry workers. I want to take an ad out next august leading up to kick off. The goal would be to see new students out.
3. Email. You might look at this and laugh. I really didn’t want to put this on the list. I use an email program called mailchimp to send out monthly newsletters to parents. It is a great way to communicate with parents in the youth ministry.
Again, I am going to play with this to see how we can get parents engaged more through this communication tool!
Those are the big three for me. I might include twitter eventually, or instagram. I don’t want another thing to manage. I am not called by the church to be a social media marketer, I am called to care for families in my church. In the end it’s all about time, and how much of it do you have to spare?
What social media platforms do you use? Are you going to ditch facebook anytime soon?