Welcome to our second installment of our three-part series on how missionaries can use social media to connect with friends and supporters. Be sure to check out our first post where we shared tips on how to use Facebook for your ministry!
We frequently hear the same questions from missionaries about Facebook, Twitter, blogging and more, and have compiled some general ideas and suggestions based on these conversations. We understand that there are countless resources for learning about and managing social media; our hope is to simply invite you to discover new ways of using these tools to connect with others and engage your audience more fully in your ministry.
*Please note that we discourage using social media if you are in a security-sensitive area or situation. Always use discretion when choosing what to share publicly.
Today, let’s discuss how to make the most out of your blog.
According to recent reports, 77% of Internet users read blogs. So since your supporters want to know what is going on in your life and in your ministry, blogging is the perfect way to keep them up-to-date.
While some of your supporters may not want to read a blog or even know what a blog is, that’s okay. Many of your friends and supporters desire to know more about you and your ministry; they want to know how to support you and pray for you. If you aren’t sending out consistent communication, you aren’t giving your supporters a choice to get more involved in your ministry. Don’t miss out on this chance to involve others in your work!
Here are some tips on how to create a great blog that will keep your readers coming back for more:
1) Write from the heart
Don’t feel like you have to write with the same tone as Beth Moore or John Piper. Your readers want to hear from you, in your own voice and style! Write about what’s going on in your life and what’s on your heart, using the same kind of tone that you would talk in. If you aren’t comfortable using words like “paradoxically” and “verisimilitude” in everyday conversations, don’t feel obligated to include them in a blog post.
2) Elaborate on your newsletter
We hope you’re already writing regular newsletters to your supporters! A monthly newsletter update is a great opportunity to briefly fill everyone in on what’s been going on in your life: did your son just get married? Did you just take a refreshing family vacation? Did you learn something new? How can your supporters be praying for you? A blog is a great place to tell your supporters and friends the entire story, include pictures and expound upon your newsletter. Don’t forget to include your blog link in your newsletter!
3) Write when you have something to write
While it’s good to be consistent in posting, don’t write a blog post just so you have a blog post. If there’s not a lot going on, or you just don’t have the time or energy, it’s perfectly fine to stay quiet for a time. Let your motto be “quality over quantity.”
4) Keep focused
According to this study by Medium, the average reading time is seven minutes, or about 1,600 words. Anything longer than that and your readers will start to get distracted, so try to keep your post focused on one main idea or theme.
5) Include visuals
Incorporate photographs and other elements (like bullet points, headers, and videos) to break up what would otherwise look like a wall of text. You don’t have to be a National Geographic-level photographer; snapshots and videos of your everyday life will make your post more interesting, visually appealing and easier to read.
6) Include calls-to-action
Don’t just share a great story and then sign off – leave your readers with something they can do! A brief, simple follow-up action item at the bottom of a post is typically called a call-to-action (or CTA) and gives the reader a tangible way to invest in your ministry. Whether it’s asking for prayer, encouraging your supporters to give or sharing another related story, blog post or article, there are plenty of ways to keep your readers involved even after your story is finished.
Social media is all about connecting, and what good is a series of posts about social media if our readers aren’t given a chance to join in on the conversation? We want to know what questions YOU have about using social media! Comment on this post with your question, ask away on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll answer your questions in a future blog post.