Last week I attended one of the most diverse gathering of Evangelicals, the annual CCDA conference — the Christian Community Development Association. I met dozens of people working in communities across the United States to bring reconciliation and peace to their neighborhoods. I also got learn during several workshops, like “Building church- and school-based partnerships” and “Toxic Charity.” It was encouraging to hear about what these community developers are doing “on the ground.” I especially appreciated the sound advice from the social media workshop.
In their presentation “What’s Tweeter?” Andrew Hoffman and Sarah Quezada didn’t just talk about shiny social media tools, but rather, they framed social media within the larger context of communications philosophies.
Andrew and Sarah are both part of the CCDA Emerging Leaders Cohort. Andrew is the one-man show at NeighborLink and Sarah handles operations (and the blog) for Mission Year. Both have found a way to maximize social media with limited resources, and to mobilize neighbors and interns near and far.
Their anecdotes explained how they have practically implemented core communications philosophies into their social strategy:
Relationships matter. Social media doesn’t replace traditional media; it’s a way to extend relationships, a way to dialogue until the next time you meet face to face. Ironically, Andrew and I met earlier in the day when one of our mutual friends (@monifree!) saw that we both posted photos from the CCDA conference onto Instagram. Andrew tweeted me, stopped by my booth, and then I attended his workshop. Voila!
What is my goal and purpose? Sarah has used social media for recruiting candidates into the Mission Year program — primarily because audience (young adults aged 18 – 29) are heavy social media users. She also leveraged a conversation with one of her blog readers to encourage her to apply to the Mission Year program.
What about development and fundraising? Andrew explained that he is using crowdfunding websites, like Kickstarter to hire employee #2, a Digital Storyteller. (In another CCDA social media workshop, Rev. Andy Bales explained how Union Rescue Mission raised a ton of money and leveraged the voice of a celebrity to keep Hope Gardens open).
Education and training via video. Content is not just sales all the time. What ELSE does your audience care about? Link to related your broader topic. Build yourself as a hub. Social media is about inviting people into it, and sharing content in unique ways that aren’t “sales-y.” (See above comment about the importance of video for fundraising!)
While this is not a comprehensive outline of their presentation, I found the above a good reminder that social media is not just an “extra” but rather, a core part of a communications strategy when implemented properly.
Read the tweet-by-tweet of the conference from @RedeemedRachel’s Storify account.