The Strategy of Using Social Media at the Episcopal General Convention
by Susan Kleinwecher, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church brings the opportunity for participants to share so much of their experiences in the governance of TEC and the shaping of the future of the church. And it is vital to do so, in ways perhaps unfamiliar to many. It’s insufficient in 2012 to simply go home and write a 2-page article and publish it along with the rest of your July news and email or snail-mail it to your normal recipients. Yes, by all means, do that, but do more, and do it during General Convention.
The “more” is important. It is vital to the life of our church in a time that we so clearly need to grow and reach further, especially to younger audiences, ones that will become the leadership of our church. It is vital to help “folks at home” understand the topics and discussions and decisions that shape our church. It is important that we do this in a social context, because that’s where our reach is both strategic and effective.
It is heartening that so many dioceses have launched their convention publishing initiatives and sites, realizing why social media coverage is so important now:
- Social networking has twice the click-throughs as email, reaching more of your audience.
- Conversation about a subject engages more people than reporting about a subject.
- Pictures and videos elicit more engagement than other forms of digital publication.
- Social networking is a powerhouse for encouraging online engagement, improving and driving how people connect to your information.
- When people feel more connected, they participate more and give more.
When we embrace and follow a new model of engagement and conversation, while not abandoning less timely, traditionally authoritative ones, we won’t leave any listeners behind, and we’ll grow new ones. It’s win-win.
Serious nonprofits use the social web in intentional ways, not as a gimicky playground, but as part of a larger communications strategy, driven by solid content. Add to the content. Be social at General Convention, on social media, perhaps in ways that are new to you. Check in using Facebook or Foursquare so your peeps know you made it. Blog; perhaps enjoy the brevity of Tumblr. Post to Facebook, and Tweet about it all with hashtag #gc77. By all means, point us to your blogging on Twitter using #gc77 and a link shortened with bitly.com or goo.gl. Pin your good visual stuff, and tag it so we can find it. Add your ideas to the commentary every way you can.
The Church will be richer for the experiences and information you share in a timely manner and in newer ways.