Social Media. Simply put, use it to your advantage!!

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Okay, let’s go ahead and state the obvious.

Social media is everywhere and as youth workers, there’s no doubt that we have to make a decision. To tweet or not to tweet. While there are those who feel that it’s best to stay out of the “Instagram arena,” we dive head first into all that this world of emojis can possibly offer us.

Two Reasons for this:

  1. This reminds students that we are engaged in their world, meaning that we are able to stay up-to-date in their lives. Also, it reminds them that we see what they post. In other words, it can help hold them accountable.
  2. One of the biggest areas we struggle with is communication and connecting with all of our students. Constantly posting and updating allows us to be engaged with students, parents and the community at large as to what all is going on at Element Student Ministry. However, this is also the catch. Having all these social media outlets are great but if you’re not updating it, then your student ministry begins to look like MySpace. Sad, outdated and irrelevant.

In order to keep ourselves from this, I’ve crafted up ways to ensure we are staying current, constant and clear at all times with our students.

1 – Current. Students are not on Facebook anymore. This is a known fact now and it is okay! This doesn’t mean don’t post on Facebook anymore, because we all know parents most certainly are still on Facebook. It means know the audience you’re communicating with and always be on the ready to change who and how you’re communicating. Six years ago, Instagram was just a photo editing software and now it’s the main way to connect with students (in our ministry at least).

**Nowadays, we use Facebook primarily for uploading pictures from any service or event held as well as weekly blog updates about the ministry. Parents love seeing pictures of their student at worship!

2 – Constant. We as youth workers are constantly on the go so just adding one more thing to your plate may seem impossible, but I promise you, it is worth it! Find ways to schedule out when and how you will post, what you will post and what your posts are trying to accomplish. Use third party sites like TweetDeck or Buffer that allow you to schedule out tweets months in advance. For example, one of our recent series Love Does, we wrote up tweets (at least two a day for thirty days) that were either scripture or quotes from Bob Goff’s book Love Does.

3 – Clear. Make sure that with everything you post, it is clean and clear about whatever information you’re trying to get your students to see. On average, students look at a picture on Instagram for three seconds before scrolling down. Make sure that whatever you post, it engages the students and allows them to download that information before they move to the next picture.

Finally, one of the best things we’ve done that allows us to ensure we are staying current, constant and clear is by making a weekly schedule that includes all the social media outlets, what we’re posting and when we’re posting.

Below are all of the ways we communicate via social media and the schedule!

Have some other social media tool out there that we’re missing? Want some more information about a specific way we communicate with students? Shoot me an email anytime! rsturdivant@trinitybirmingham.com or contact me on twitter at @robertsturdi.

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Robert is the High School Youth Pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL. Robert has been working with students for over seven years; four of which at Trinity UMC. Robert grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2012 with a degree in religious studies. Currently, he is working on his masters in Youth Ministry at the Center for Youth Ministry Training. He and his wife Brittany love great coffee, hiking, bon-fires, tacos, CrossFit and N*Sync. You can follow him on Twitter at @robertsturdi.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent points! A
    great way for youth ministers to stay connected with teens is through the use
    of texting. However, using a personal
    cell phone can present problems.
    SendTree (www.sendtree.com) is a solid and reasonably priced tool that
    allows for texting groups and subgroups using the web rather than a cell
    phone. Youth ministers can upload
    contacts, create subgroups, and even schedule messages ahead of time. Messages can include event reminders,
    cancellations/schedule changes, encouraging quotes/verses, etc.–and SendTree
    connects with both Facebook and Twitter.
    Try SendTree for free–see blue button at the top right of the website!

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