for Social Good
cedes. “Those kinds of connections can lead to all sorts
of other relationships.”
Building a following for an online Bible reading guide
may not be a typical use of social media, but you could
argue it’s all part of a wider trend among non-profit
organizations wanting to use social
media for social good.
Whether it’s a Facebook status
update encouraging friends or fans
to sign a petition; tweeting links to
a You Tube video educating about
a cause; engaging in group discussions on LinkedIn to heighten name
recognition and an organization’s
profile; or posting gorgeous photographs and quotes to Pinterest in
the hopes of inspiring and attracting
new supporters, the not-for-profit sector was quick to
recognize the value in spreading the word about their
work through such popular channels.
After all, when you need to reach the people, you go
to where they are. And today, the people are hanging out
in online social networks.
The influence of social media is truly staggering. Facebook claims more than a billion monthly active users.
Twitter reports their platform “lends itself to cause and
action.” Statistics Canada reports 80 per cent of people
aged 16 and older in this country use the Internet for
personal reasons. A majority of those – 58 percent – use
social networking sites. Maybe that’s because in this age
of carrying connectivity in our pockets (close to half of all
Canadians now own a smartphone), folks have learned
social media can empower the powerless.
Scripture Union Canada may be late to the social
media game, but they’re not alone. If your church or organization hasn’t yet jumped into the social media pool
– but is dipping its toes in the water – take a few deep
breaths before you get your feet wet, and consider some
Even if you’ve been doing social media for years, it’s a
good idea to stop and think about why you do what you
do – and try to do it even better.
and mid-size firms develop Internet marketing strategies.
Strategy Cube, his consulting firm, offers training sessions
several times a month.
“Not everybody’s message lends itself to social media,”
Burns cautions. Citing Facebook, Burns says the world’s
largest social networking site sug-
gests four reasons people “share”
there. “They are: to make life easier,
to build relationships, to help others
and to craft their identity. So the key
question to ask is, ‘Does whatever
I’m doing fit well into one of those
Even if you think your organiz-
ation’s mission and mandate will
lend itself to one message that goes
viral after another, it’s important to
know the audience you want to communicate with be-
fore you attempt to engage them. Are you reaching out to
church members or people in the broader community?
People who already believe in the work your organization
is doing, or people who need to be convinced? Donors or
potential prospects? Adults or teens?
“There are organizations that work on things that are
When you need to
Ideas From Others
reach the people,
you go to where
they are. And today,
the people are
hanging out in online
Develop a Strategy
Taking time to think about what you hope to accomplish
through social media is a critical first step, says Jonathan
Burns, a Toronto-area digital marketing strategy expert.
Burns spends most of his time helping CEOs of small
When devising your own social media strategy, it can be helpful to look at what others are doing. Check out these Christian organizations for some ideas:
• In addition to having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and
You Tube, Compassion Canada offers discussion forums and a
• SIm Canada has a weekly blog and photostream on Flickr.
• MEDA held a video contest and posted finalists – offering
inspiration and information – on Vimeo. They’ve got blogs by
interns working overseas and have developed quite a following
• world Vision Canada has developed a significant following on
LinkedIn and a website that’s devoted to engaging with churches.
• Kelowna Christian Center makes sermons available by podcast,
and in a video format for viewing on mobile phones.
• The Salvation Army in Canada is doing something right on Twitter – where they’ve amassed more than 28,000 followers. Ft