Keep an Eye on the Periphery

Social media is an ever-shifting space. If your young, technically-savvy team says they’re “keeping up,” it could mean they’re behind. Keep your own eye on trends so you can ask specifics. | by Brian E. Boyd

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is.
A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

—Wayne Gretzky

Don’t get comfortable. Don’t get comfortable in social media and digital media. It all moves too quickly. Not long ago, I sat down with a twenty-something young man who works in the social media space for a large Fortune X corporation. I was consulting with their firm on social media strategies. He looked at me and said, “You know, Brian, I really get our demographic for our company.”

I said, “Oh yeah? That’s great!”

“I really get it...because I’m twenty-five and not old,” he said as he looked at me across the table.

This got me thinking. Just because you’re in a certain age bracket, it doesn’t mean you can communicate with others in that bracket. Nor does it mean you can allow yourself to get lazy in social media, trusting your youthful intuition to carry you, when you really need to roll with the rapid changes and adapt your approach to succeed.

Social media is an ever-shifting space and moves so quickly that you need to run to keep up with it (at least), to get ahead of it (at best). In this case, the young man I was talking to has the technical experience and the “geek cred” to know quite a few platforms—Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Quora, Keek, and others—but he didn’t have the business acumen to know how to correctly turn them into business tools.

As a Christian leader, you want to know what a social media platform can do for your church. You ask, “What does this platform do for our goals, our mission?” You want the people handling your social media to ask these questions before you have to, and not only to understand the functions of the technology but apply them as business tools that will meet your goals.

Don’t get comfortable. Make sure those handling your social media stay nimble, knowing the tools in use today, or the ways they use them may well change six months from now.

Get Eyes on the Periphery

“If you worry about where everyone else is right now, you’ll always be playing catch-up. Instead, strive for innovation and stay on the lookout for your next move. If you aren’t in a position to anticipate and be nimble, determine how you can start changing your organization.” —Brian Murray

The key to knowing what’s on the horizon is keeping your eyes on the periphery. Get eyes on what’s going on around you so you can remain nimble, deploying to new platforms and tools as they are introduced.

To do this, your social media point person should regularly ask knowledgeable friends or consultants who live social media 24/7, what they see happening, which platforms are gaining in the space, which ones are losing, and where they see the trends happening.

It’s important for members of your communications team or assistant to spend a portion of each day reading blogs, communicating with influencers, and making sure they stay on top of the trends and technology. Don’t waste time building your entire communications strategy on a platform that won’t even exist in six months, or won’t reach the right people anymore.

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