Updated May 2, 2017
Social media provides an exciting opportunity for Quaker meetings to connect with Friends, newcomers, and seekers online. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have millions of followers eager to engage with other individuals and be engaged by content that adds meaning to their lives.
Organizations like FGC are using social media to:
- Build relationships with individuals and groups
- Tell stories
- Listen and observe
- Show transparency
So, how does a Quaker meeting connect with Friends on social media? It begins with a conversation within your meeting on the following questions:
- Who is your audience? Knowing who it is you want to reach (examples: Young Adult Friends, seekers, life-long Quakers) will help your meeting to determine which social media tools make the most sense to reach that audience, as well as inform the type of messages and content you share with them.
- What action do you want your audience to take? If there is a specific outcome you wish your followers (that's what individuals who subscribe to an organization's social media profile are called) would would take, use that goal to drive the type of content your share online. For example, if the goal is to get seekers and newcomers to attend an upcoming meeting for worship and newcomer potluck at your Quaker meeting, think about messaging that would encourage them to do that. Use language that is easy-to-understand and does not feature jargon that may be an obstacle to a prospective Friend's understanding of the Quaker way. And include pictures that convey the warmth of your community!
- How will you measure success? In other words, how will you determine if your audience is receiving your message and taking action as a result? It could take the form of the amount of followers who "Like" your Facebook page, or the number of times your tweet on Twitter is retweeted (shared publicly). Reading Friends' comments on your content or hearing Friends discuss the worthwhile articles and messages you share on your social media pages after meeting for worship is a success indicator, too!
Social Media Beyond Facebook
Presented by the Quaker Cloud* Admins
Does your Quaker meeting want to go beyond Facebook and become more active on social media? Are you curious about what other meetings are doing outside of their Quaker Cloud websites? You might be surprised at some of the places we have found Quakers popping up on social media!
List your Quaker meeting's worship location and contact information for free through FGC's searchable online directory for anyone who feels moved to attend Meeting for Worship. Access the QuakerFinder directory here, or submit a request for a new listing or a correction to your existing listing here.
Yelp is known as a place where people often rate restaurants and businesses. Millions of people visit this site to decide where they want to spend their time and money. Anyone can write a Yelp review about anything; someone you’ve never met could write a review about your meeting. Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting has a Yelp profile with several reviews!
Trip Advisor also allows people to review and rate places, particularly around travel. If your meetinghouse has a special feature that might make it a tourist destination, like Arch Street Meeting House in Philadelphia, you might be on Trip Advisor!
Meetup is used by people who have similar interests so that they can find each other. Friends use Meetup to let others know about worship times and activities. It can be a tool to bring in Seekers and new attenders to your meeting. Birmingham Friends Meeting has a wonderful Meetup page worth replicating.
Things to Consider When Using Social Media as Outreach
Check your Meeting's social media accounts at least once a day. New attenders may have questions about Meeting for Worship ("Can I bring my kids?", "Does you meeting have a sign language interpreter?"), or you may get a negative review or comment from a recent visitor. It is important to engage and respond to the individuals who leave comments, reviews, and pictures on your accounts. Consider appointing one person (or more) in your meeting as the coordinator of social media engagement.
If it's on a public page, anyone can see it. Some social media channels allow users to restrict access to and visibility of some postings. If your meeting shares a message, picture, or video publicly, anyone can see it at any time. Make sure you receive permission before sharing pictures or contact information (such as an email address or phone number) on a public-facing page, and never post personal identifying information for an attender (such as their home address).
Be ready to make visitors feel welcome. To paraphase a famous movie quote, "If you invite them, they will come." If you want new visitors to attend your Quaker meeting, make sure you have information for them to take home and read (FGC's Quaker Newcomer Cards are great resource for purchase at QuakerBooks & More) and most importantly, make sure there are regular attenders present each week to greet them and make them feel welcome so they will come back. For ideas and suggestions, check out Transforming Quaker Welcoming, FGC's guide to greeting diverse Newcomers.
Click on the links below to discover more tips for making your meeting's outreach efforts on social media successful.
Online Resources to help Meetings with their Social Media Presence
Social Media Cheat Sheet from FGC - A one pager of helpful hints for developing content on social media
Quaker Meetings Toolbox: Outreach and Publicity - An all-in-one guide to conducting Quaker meeting outreach in the digital age
Mom This Is How Twitter Works - a crash course in how to use Twitter, made by a designer who wanted to teach her mother
Social Media for Religious Groups - a guide for religious institutions from a social media marketing company
Why Your Church Should Be On Social Media Right Now - Christianity Today uses numbers to make the case for online outreach
9 Things You Need to Immediately Stop Doing on Facebook - online company Social Media Today offers 9 actions to avoid at all costs as you reach out to followers on Facebook
*What is the Quaker Cloud? A good question you ask - click here to learn more about the FGC-powered web toolkit supporting Quaker process and community.