6 Common Sense Steps to Jumping Into Social Media

by Ken Mueller on October 6, 2010 · 1 comment

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a session on technology and Social Media at the National Worship Leader Conference being held at my church, LCBC. One of the speakers during the session was my friend Adam Hann, who was giving a bit of a case study on how LCBC (full disclosure: one of my clients) is working with Social Media. Adam gave a nice common sense approach as to how churches, and businesses, should approach Social Media, especially when starting from scratch. I thought it might be helpful to recap the steps in this nice basic, common sense approach. Thanks to Adam, who has guest posted about his use of Twitter here before, for this reminder. Here are his bullet points, with some of my thoughts mixed in with his:

1. Pick the right person – Before you even decide how your going to jump into Social Media, you might want to consider who will be in charge in house. This is what speaker D.J. Chuang refers to as your “Tech Steward.” This should be someone who is in-house, understands your “brand,” and also has a passion for (and understanding of) Social Media. Think carefully about whom you appoint to this position. And this isn’t your nephew/son/whomever who “knows all about that Facebook stuff.”

2. Web Strategy – This is the lead up to actually determining your Social Media strategy. For LCBC, the Social Media strategy was part of an overall assessment and re-design of the website (which is still in the works). How will you integrate everything? What do you hope to accomplish? What are your goals?

3. Know your audience – Who are you trying to reach? You can do all sorts of research here, but perhaps you might come up with a profile of your typical customer or user. What Social Media channels are they using, if they are even using them at all? Who are they and what are their interests?

4. Create your accounts – For many, this is the first step, and it shouldn’t be. Don’t create a Facebook or Twitter account and THEN move on to the first three steps. You might find out that those platforms don’t work for you. Plus, as Adam points out, even if you are quiet about it, people will find your accounts. You don’t want anyone finding them until you are ready for them to find you. An incomplete profile with very little activity is like hanging out one of those “pardon our dust” signs. If people see that, they may not come back when you want them to.

5. Find out what tools work for you -Play around a bit and see what works. In order to properly maintain your Social Media presence you need to find what works for you. Adam mentioned things like Seesmic Desktop (my favorite) and Tweetdeck, as well as some of the iPhone apps that help you when you’re on the move. There is no “one size fits all” tool. Find what you’re comfortable with and what has the capabilities you need.

6. Listen…and engage – Social Media is not about broadcasting your messages. Instead, begin by listening…and once you have a handle on how it all works, then jump in and engage. And by engage, I mean talk to people; dialogue; have conversations. Engagement might just be what sets you apart from your competitors.

Part of engaging is finding a rhythm and being consistent. In other words, if you’re on Twitter, don’t tweet a lot one day, then disappear for weeks. Being consistent will give your customers and constituents realistic expectations. For that reason you might want to start slow and build up. If you start all-out and then slow up, people will notice.

What are your experiences with starting a Social Media program? Anything that you wish you had done differently, or anything that worked particularly well for you?



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