Many of us use the online space (social media, emails, websites) to inform and update people already connected to our organization. All kinds of entities—other nonprofits, businesses, and sports teams—use online platforms to promote the goods, services, and information to the organization’s target audiences. We do the same as leaders of churches and ministries. Nothing is inherently wrong with using the space as a bullhorn of sorts. But what if organizational updates and bits of information are only part of what we could offer our online audience? What if we could continue to grow in how we impact people online, not just inform them? I invite you to consider three approaches to shape how you craft your online presence.
3 Steps to Better Online Audience Engagement
Approach 1: Engage people
The first approach is to focus energy on engaging people. Don’t just inform people with information for them to consume, but present them with content they can engage with. How? Focus on questions and prompts that your people can process right where they are—at home, in an Uber, or waiting in line to check out at Trader Joe’s. Engaging people means speaking to the whole of who they are and inviting them to take action.
Example: Post a simple scripture graphic on Facebook and Instagram and include 2-3 questions that encourage reflection and application. Don’t just inform people online; engage them!
Approach 2: Encourage people
The second approach we can take online is to encourage people. Most news and information people consume on the internet, especially in the last few years, can instill negative emotion and controversy. What if the bits of content you publish could be different? What if your online presence stood out because it was uplifting and encouraging? We can make this a reality by using humor, sharing inspiring stories, and “cheering on” people interacting with our content.
Example: Post a funny meme about Mondays and include a short prayer for your people as they return to work, school, a new week, etc. Don’t just inform your audience; encourage them!
Approach 3: Equip people
A third approach to move beyond just informing people online is to do our best to equip them. Instead of trying to get something from your people (like asking them to “attend this event”), give them something that adds value to their lives. Equipping could include resources, helpful content, or simple spiritual practices that help them grow as followers of Jesus, as a parent, or as married couples. You can create or curate helpful resources by taking 15 minutes to peruse the internet to craft a running list of articles, webinars, or other online tools that would benefit your audience.
Example: Post a stock photo of a father and son with a link to a helpful resource on having hard conversations as a parent. Don’t just inform your people; equip them!
So, what do you say?
We have a tremendous opportunity to use the online space to engage people, encourage them, and equip them to grow in their faith and navigate the moments we find ourselves in each week. Let’s do it together!
This article about better online audience engagement originally appeared here, and is used by permission.