The E.E.R.I.E. System Of Social Media Networking And Marketing

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications,Music Business

Some people are so compelling on social media networks that we can’t help but follow them, whether they are celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or normal, everyday people — perhaps folks we attend church with, or people we knew in high school (and who didn’t seem nearly so interesting then). What makes their Timelines, Walls and platforms so interesting? It’s almost eerie how we’re drawn to them.

Maybe those normal, everyday people just have an instinctual feel for the kind of status updates others like to see, but stars like Shaq and The Rock benefit from social media strategists. In fact those two have learned from Amy Jo Martin and her Digital Royalty company. Digital Royalty advises clients to vary the kind of updates they provide, based on six categories: entertainment, education, inspiration, information, reciprocation and exclusives.

As Sojourn Church Director of Communications, when I advise pastors, worship leaders and others on social media strategy, I eliminate “information” from the list, since tweets and updates in this category typically fit within “education,” or one of the remaining four categories. Eliminating “information” allows me to group the others into an acronym of categories that demystifies the social media update process — the E.E.R.I.E. social media networking and marketing system.

When you balance your updates from different E.E.R.I.E. categories, you ensure your followers won’t find nothing but a stream of food/cat/baby photos in your feed, or nothing but inspirational platitudes, or links to educational articles. In short, E.E.R.I.E. will help Jack to not be such a dull boy. Without further adieu, here is E.E.R.I.E:

E is for Entertainment

Here is where you’d tweet pictures of your crazy cat, your cute kids and your scrumptious lunch at that new gastropub downtown. The much-maligned “photo of someone’s lunch” isn’t a problem if you aren’t doing it all the time. So just don’t make “Entertainment” your only bucket, and don’t make photos of your lunch become your only form of entertainment.

Entertainment is also the place in the E.E.R.I.E. system for retweeting hilarious quips from spoof-celebrities, for tweeting your own jokes and witticisms, comments about films, other fun observations and goofy pics with Over captions.

E is for Education

Here is where you tweet links to articles and books — whether your own or those you recommend — that will educate your audience about your core topics. For me, that includes writing (especially songwriting), church communications, worship leading and social media.

Of course you don’t always have to tweet links; whenever you can educate and inform your audience in 140 characters, go for it.

R is for Reciprocation

Reciprocation is “Mutual interaction,” back-and-forth conversation, an exchange (particularly an exchange of information) and any form of “paying back.” Examples of reciprocation include responses like “Thanks for following me/tweeting my link/reviewing my album/commenting on my blog,” etc. This also includes a running exchange of tweets between specific people, Retweets, and “shoutouts” like “You should follow _____; her updates are interesting.”

I is for Inspiration

This is where quotes come in handy: Bible verses, song lyrics, proverbs and famous sayings. You can also inspire with original content that builds people up, helps them remember where their strength comes from, or points to an example of someone who has overcome adversity. And of course you can inspire people with links to inspirational blog posts, songs or video clips.

E is for Exclusives

It’s natural to think of Exclusives as exclusive product offers, like a contest for free books, a 20% sale on CDs or a special package on a variety of products, perhaps only available to those who tweet a certain hashtag or “Like” your Facebook page.

But Exclusive are more than that. An exclusive status update can be any “behind the scenes” insight, photo or video. For instance on Saturdays, Kristen often practices songs she will be leading in worship the next day. Sometimes I record a twenty-second snippet from one of the songs she’s practicing, then upload it to one or more of my social media accounts with a note that says something like, “Here is Kristen, practicing a song we’ll be singing tomorrow at Sojourn Church.”

A Final Thought

You’ll quickly discover that some updates fit in more than one category: an Exclusive can also be Entertainment, and an Inspirational quote can also be Educational, for instance. This is good. Don’t think that you have to craft updates that fall strictly within these lines. Rather, be intentional about hitting all of these categories on a regular basis, instead of dipping into the same one time and again.




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