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Social media solution: TweetDeck saves time

How can a church effectively and efficiently engage people on many different social network platforms? Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and Plaxo can be linked together, but the process is cumbersome and can be problematic. Tweetdeck can help expand your audience without multiplying efforts.

Give all you can
The John Wesley quote (paraphrased) "earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can" could inspire young adults as well as teens and would be great to use online. Online audiences could be grouped like this: young adult business executives and managers checking their social networks (such as LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook) around 5:30 p.m.; teens checking in (at Facebook, MySpace and Twitter) around 3:30 p.m. In order to maximize the inspirational power of this quote, you might consider posting on five different networks at two different times.

Social solution
Tweetdeck is one solution that allows churches and pastors to post thoughts, Scriptures, events and other church-related information on the right networks at the right times. Tweetdeck incorporates the major social networking platforms and all of your pages into one "deck," plus it has a useful, built-in scheduling feature. Another advantage is that Tweetdeck is available for all three major operating systems (Windows, Mac and Linux) and there are apps for the iPhone and Android platforms. While other services can maximize social media content and accounts, Tweekdeck is one of the most effective free services available today.

Some additional features:

  • Send longer messages through service.
  • Use the scheduling feature to check-in or send a tweet in the future.
  • Share and view photos with support for Flickr, Twitgoo and Mobypicture.
  • As well as other features

Powerfully post
With Tweetdeck, you have the ability to post information whenever you want to do so through an automated scheduler. Anything your congregation may want to receive (Scriptures, prayers, discussion questions, action steps, etc.) can be scheduled ahead of time. If you're not at the computer, the word still gets out through the networks you choose. You can maximize the strengths of the social media outlets, while maximizing the efficient use of time.

Scheduling effectiveness
The scheduling feature is important because during peak times, many more people are checking in. The church also can tap into specific audiences at specific times of the day. Some demographics can be intuitive, but for more precision, you will find numerous marketing studies compiling different user trends. Basic studies from Hubspot and Mashable report similarities in timing, but within the church, you should identify your media output. Some examples: 5 a.m. tweets may be inspiring to some, but will miss the late night crowd you may be trying to reach. If you want to connect with stay-at-home parents of preschoolers, the best time to use social media would be during naptime or after 8 p.m.

This integrative tool saves hours and helps to insure that information reaches your followers and friends when it will have maximum impact.

Plugging in to potential
Try these three basic steps to plug into and use TweetDeck in powerful ways.

First, determine which social media outlets are effective for your situation. For example, a church might choose to maintain a Twitter and Facebook account (along with its website). You can read a number of articles on MyCom about the choice, advantages and effectiveness of social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) and micro-blog sites (e.g., Twitter).

Second, determine the information and inspiration appropriate for the audience to whom you're reaching out. Some churches have weekly discussion questions and action steps so individuals can continue their spiritual journey throughout the week. Other churches post prayer requests, church happenings, ministry openings and community events. The Rev. Adam Hamilton, from The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, sometimes uses his Facebook account to ask questions that prompt his congregation to respond to upcoming sermon topics.

Third, download and install TweetDeck. TweekDeck, in particular, operates within the Adobe Air framework, so you might be prompted to install that as well. Once you have installed the program(s), input the account information from the different social media sites with which you are registered and plan to use to disseminate information. Remember that your personal sites are also important to your ministry (whether you are a pastor or a lay person) so you might want to include them into the deck. You'll see all the accounts appear at the top of the deck in icons. You simply click them on and off.

Give it a try, and see how TweetDeck can help you connect over multiple social media networks. May your inspirational impact be multiplied.