FrontGate Social MediaIs it just me, or does social media seem utterly exhausting at times? Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, oh my! Social media has become an overwhelming smorgasbord of options and a pretty distracting way to ensure we stay connected 24/7. As with anything else, this comes with its own set of opportunities and problems.

I would argue that for faith-based brands, social media presents more advantages than disadvantages. The opportunities for specifically targeting appropriate audiences are now, quite literally, endless. However, there’s pressure to some degree to be present everywhere at all times.

With limited staffing and resources, it’s important to narrow your focus when it comes to social media and hone in on the networking sites that fit your audience best. Here are a few tips for streamlining your social media efforts:

1. Choose a handful of social networks to focus on.

In a world of constant accessibility and numerous social networking platforms vying for our attention, it’s easy to believe that we have to be all things to all people. The seemingly simple answer is less is best. Evaluate what social platforms align best with your goals and focus on 2-3 social networking sites, pouring your time, energy and money into a few social entities versus risking spreading yourself too thin and attempting to maintain all of them. Keep in mind that where faith-based content is concerned, there are a few significant Christian social media platforms that make it easy for you to connect directly to your target audience, such as GodTube for videos and crowd-funding social site FaithLauncher, among others. However, the most active social sites are generally the best places to focus time. You  shouldn’t focus all your efforts simply on the Christian sites any more than you should disregard secular media in your PR efforts.  When we create and manage social strategy for our clients, we look at the social networks as places where we establish embassies for our clients.

2. Find out where your audience lives.

According to a recent study by www.ebizmba.com, Facebook and Twitter still remain the most popular social networking sites, with LinkedIn coming in third. Pinterest and YouTube are also among the general top contenders. However, when planning where to narrow your focus when it comes to social media, it’s important to research exactly who your audience is and where they spend their time. Who are you trying to reach with your faith-based product or service? Your social media audience should directly correlate with your online presence. Is your product more visual in nature? Are you targeting females? If so, then Pinterest is likely to be a network where you’ll want to focus your efforts. Are your consumers tech-savvy teens? Then, you may want to make Twitter your top priority. Find out where your audience lives and be present.

3. Be intentional with your content.

A social network can’t be completely maximized to its full potential until you invest some time in creating an intentional content strategy. Once you’ve narrowed your focus down to 2-3 social platforms, take the time to map out a content plan. Be intentional about when you post, how often you post and, most importantly, what you post. Content differs from site to site depending on what social arena you’re in. Twitter is great for concise soundbites, whereas Facebook is better for longer updates. Instagram and Pinterest are best for visuals. Choose your content wisely to maximize your presence on social networks.

4. Educate yourself about all platforms.

Last, just because you are focusing on 2-3 social networks that you deem as the priorities for your unique audience, that doesn’t mean you should be ignorant about the ever-changing world of social media. Educate yourself. Read blogs about social media platforms. Sign up for personal accounts on new platforms and take them for a test drive. It’s important that you’re familiar with the basic user aspects of every platform and the features of each one, so as new platforms become the latest rage, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently meet your customers there.  We may be seeing that Facebook has “jumped the shark” here in 2013, so what’s the next big thing?

We’d love to help you define the social media mix that’s right for you! FrontGate is offering a brand-new coaching package for social media set-up and consultation aimed at helping you understand social media and how to use it. We can get you set up on your desired social networks, optimize pages, and offer weekly one-hour consultations to get you up and running with your social media efforts. For more info, ask for a free info session by contacting us here.