You know social media marketing is necessary, but nailing down a strategy still isn’t easy…

…Until now. The Sprout Social Index 2018, a new study from social media management tool Sprout Social, asked a random sampling of 1200 active social media users about how they spend their time, what they value, what they click, and what they share.

They also surveyed 2000 social media marketers about their approaches, philosophies, and strategies. While most of these marketers thought they knew what consumers wanted, there was a clear disconnect in 2 out of the 3 areas.

However, a big opportunity was revealed in the one area of overlap.

And it’s something almost any ministry organization can do—whether you’re a community services center, a church, a school, a radio station, or even a conference office.

AdWeek’s David Cohen published a helpful summary of this survey, available to subscribers. But you can view the full article through the NewsCred publisher network.

While the majority of this information is most helpful for entities that sell products or services, here’s how these results best apply to a ministry/nonprofit audience.

Sprout Social found the 3 top priorities of social media marketers fell into these categories:

  1. Posts that TELL A STORY
  2. Posts that INSPIRE
  3. Posts that TEACH

That all sounds pretty good, right? It may even echo some of your own organization’s strategies.

When it comes to social media specifically, however, what consumers actually want is different:
  1. Discounts or sales
  2. Posts that showcase new products or services
  3. Posts that TEACH 

But surely you spotted the overlap!

Audiences love to learn something new. In addition, when you create posts that demonstrate or teach, whether it’s how to replace a watch battery or how to make a page for your business on Facebook, it serves as proof that your organization is the real deal. Your audience can trust you to provide useful content, and it shows that you have enough knowledge and authority in the area to be able to teach.

This can be accomplished in several ways.

Videos are ideal, of course. Visual and auditory learners are engaged, and it further demonstrates your credibility since your audience can see you teaching, or see what you’re doing on your computer screen.

Infographics can also be highly effective, especially for step-by-step processes.

Even if you have to teach through text and images via a blog post, it can still be effective. Be clear in your social posts about what your audience can learn and how that will help them in life.

According to HubSpot, “focus on topics related to your industry, not only your products.” Remember that what you teach doesn’t directly have to do with what you sell, provide, promote, etc. (though sometimes it can be fun to teach lifehacks or secondary uses for certain popular products). As long as it’s related to your niche and useful to your audience, you’re good to go. Bonus points if what they learn makes them better informed about the true value of your ministry.

For example, one community services center’s Facebook page posted videos that taught people how to save on groceries by doing bulk price comparisons, opting for store brands, and locating coupons and sales.

Also, when one conference office rolled out the KidCheck system for certain larger churches and VBS events, they created a demonstration video to teach families how to use it, also highlighting the safety and convenience that system provided for those types of events. They posted this video on their website and also sent it to the churches or events that were using it.

All of our organizations have helpful, useful information to share, whether it’s about just getting through life or about getting to know Jesus and the Bible better. We encourage you to brainstorm all the different ways you can teach valuable skills to your audience. Chances are, these will become your most popular posts!

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