Practical social media strategy tips from Jon Acuff
Do you want to get the most from your time on social media? One of the best people we can learn from is Jon Acuff. He’s timely, smart and funny. He knows how to develop a platform and bring value to those who follow him.
Jon spoke at the Orange Conference in Atlanta and shared his social media tips and tricks. Below you will find great notes from Jon’s session taken by my friend @CherylKneeland.
This year’s Orange Conference will be held in Atlanta during the last week of April. This is the last week for registration. I’ll be there blogging the conference and would love to connect with you. Click here for more information on how to attend this year’s Orange Conference.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVICE FROM JON ACUFF
How do we engage in social media, navigate it? A few words underscore what Jon tries to do in all social media interactions:
Empathy: Understanding what someone needs and acting on it. As leaders we serve the community we live in.
Generosity: Giving more than what’s expected. People always remember your generosity and they never forget your greed. Be generous with time, content and re-tweeting others.
Stubbornness: You have to be stubborn, keep going. It never stops. Social Media will always be there, the exact platform may change a little, but the interactions on the internet are here to stay.
PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Figure out where to plant a flag. Go everywhere. Google+ seems like a ghost town to many social media experts; however, for some it’s working. Jon planted a flag there, to let him at least establish his name there. Go to as many places as you can.
Namechk.com shows you instantly where your name is still available on various social media sites.
Recent college graduates have moved into Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook is old to them.
Get out of the way. It’s about starting the conversation, not owning the conversation. Maybe you create a private Facebook group. Jon created a group called dreamers and builders. Be careful not to own everything, the ego sets in. You want to create a space for people to connect with each other and share with each other, building relationships; do not make it so everyone can only respond directly to you or through you.
Be part of community. Pinterest is great for this. One out of every three women uses Pinterest. You can have shared boards. Let everyone be part of the community.
Don’t over-commit. Don’t do everything, just because it’s out there. He created a Tumblr account and realized he didn’t know much about it or have time to maintain it. It’s okay to ease into social media. He choose to stick to his blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
Use the accordion effect for promotions. This means you need to create content that’s helpful or funny, it’s just content; DO NOT do all promotional tweets/posts! A promo is promoting something specific. If you want to promo a lot you MUST start doing all the other posts a lot too. (Otherwise, you’ll be ignored or un-friended/deleted).
Don’t treat your social accounts like Las Vegas. What happens on social media does not stay on social media.
Why is it that people with the most grace filled bios on social media are the meanest? When you say things on social media that are rude or egotistical, people are watching and they will look into you, see who you are. Don’t be the Christian that types a nice bio and then acts like the biggest hypocrite.
We previously used social media to document moments that were created. Now we create moments to use in social media.
Think multi-platform. When you have an idea, think of the other platforms to see if it would work somewhere else too. You can turn a tweet into an image and put it on Instragram and Pinterest. Often we waste an idea on one platform.
People’s attention spans are not getting longer. We want to fast forward everything.
Be honest. We have to be honest about what we are posting/tweeting/photographing. Are we doing it because we’re trying to serve the audience or because we are celebrating ourselves?
Learn the difference between satire and mockery: Satire is humor with a purpose. Mockery just causes a wound.
Write about issues, but not individuals. How am I an expert on someone I’ve never talked to, never seen live, never met? (I’m NOT).
Jon’s goal is to seed the clouds for ideas and conversations instead of chumming the water for sharks. You can write about controversy and get a lot of hits real fast, but it’s not worth it to be rude or mean.
Blogging: Never come up with categories before you write. The best way to figure out your voice is to write. Social Media is a great place to experiment because it’s not permanent, it’s not an encyclopedia.
Have some fun with it, experiment: Go slow, when you start a new blog, don’t post constantly or set high expectations to blog multiple times a day. Sometimes blogging sucks, you feel like you have a deadline. Jon posts 3-4 times a week.
You don’t control how people read your blog, you control how you write it: Sometimes people will interpret things differently, don’t try to control that. Share the things God puts on your heart.
Always use a picture on your post. Your audience wants a short idea and a picture.
Don’t end it with a question if you write something heavy or you don’t want to start a conversation about something (usually personal): Questions are a great tool if you want to start a conversation with people about a topic and watch them interact… you very well may get a new idea for a blog post from this.
Is this something that I really care about, that I need to say something about? Some topics are too big to put in a tweet or a blog, some topics are better for a face to face conversation.
Deep theological conversations are weird on a blog. It’s okay for some things to be taken off-line. Especially when it’s something that you and others will be really impassioned about.
Feel free to use old content.
Always test anything you hear on the internet with your community, sometimes it doesn’t fit where you are.
Treat your blog like a magazine, have a content calendar.
Guest post, but figure out what the blog is really about. Don’t repeat what they’ve already talked about or post something that is completely irrelevant to the blog.
Twitter: Think about your audience. What are they going through during that week? Tweet some funny things, but try to tweet some serious things too. Mix it up. Only tweet or post things that you would talk to your Senior Pastor about. Don’t be weird…”I don’t want to sound like a stalker, but your bushes are prickly.” Do not do a public announcement of unfollowing, it’s like the middle finger of tweeting. Jon doesn’t say “repost” if he’s repeating his own content. Make your profile complete. Pick a photo like actually looks like you, don’t keep the egg.
Public speaking: Change your tone, you have to have ups and down. Don’t be monotone online either. Always mellow or always loud is not so good.
Facebook: Millions of people are on there. Not everyone sees what you post. They limit who sees your content. Only 10-15% of followers will see what you post. They pick and choose who sees it. You may have to post over and over to get it out to more people. You have to over-communicate. Create private groups. Sometimes your group needs a little wall, it’s amazing what people will say because they know others aren’t there. It feels a little safer. Would a private group help? Do a poll on Facebook. Example: “Parents what are the things you are most concerned about going into this school year?” And let them add their own to the list. It’s okay to ask them what they want.
Instagram: Always credit your sources. Do visual countdowns; you can use picklab to add words and numbers to your photos. Use a photo of the event that’s coming each day up until in the event. (Example: Fall Family Fun Night 30 Days away! with photo of pumpkin… FFFN 25 days away w/photo of the event flyer… FFFN 20 days away w/photo of spaghetti…etc.) It’s all or nothing. You can’t follow only some of a person’s pictures… you get the all-access pass regardless of if it’s what you want to have. There is a balance of selfies. Don’t take a picture of every angle of your face. Make a diary or scrapbook if you want something private or all about you. Know that it’s a window not a mirror. Don’t be egotistical!
Pinterest: It’s not a dead-end. When you pin-it, it can lead them to something. You can attach a link. In general, the worst people online are the peopel that just got engaged because they post like they just invented love. You can follow just one board. If you create a church Pinterest page you don’t have to follow the whole church, you could follow just the age group of your child or a certain ministry area. It’s about your personality, your images. It’s about the content, not the content creator. You can co-manage it with others from your church.
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Jon Acuff (right) at Orange Atlanta with Jeff Foxworthy (center) and Reggie Joiner (left).