Just as you should not use your social media outlets to exclusively post about products you are selling or events you are hosting, you shouldn’t use it as a “push notification system.”

What do I mean by that? I mean that you should not use your social media accounts as virtual bulletin boards, where you are only posting updates or announcement. There is a difference between the content you should post on social media and the content that would be appropriate for a bulletin, website, or handout.

If your Facebook page has no other posts other than: “Be sure to bring your money for our class/church trip to tomorrow’s meeting,” or “religious education will be held in Room L14 tonight, don’t forget,” or “there will be a bake sale after Mass, join us,” you’re doing it wrong.

This is often something that surprise my clients, or even elicits negative responses from people unfamiliar with the social media mediums in question. “If I can’t use it to post those things, what can I use it for?” they often ask, disgruntled.

The answer? You can use social media for urgent announcements about events or happenings that apply to all of your followers, and you can even ask them to spread the word. So, for example: “We are closed due to snow” or “Important announcement about ongoing strategic planning” are perfectly fine to post, but “religious education will be in room L14, don’t forget to join us,” is not.

You can also use social media to indirectly communicate your goals, objectives, and vision. Instead of posting directly “We strive to be a welcoming, open community of faith,” you can post pictures of fully attended functions with captivating captions, videos sharing the importance of community, and relevant graphics that show how faith intersects with every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

In other words, be strategic about what you communicate and show, don’t tell!

How else can you use social media for communications purposes? I often answer that question with another question: if your followers can see one thing about your organization today, what would you want it to be? You wouldn’t want it to be an inconsequential announcement that either doesn’t apply to all of your followers or doesn’t stay with them. You want it to be something that sticks with them. Communicate content that stays with your followers. Share content that means something.

So yes, it’s okay to post announcements on your social media every once in a while, just as it is okay to post events and product information sparingly, but those are like the lettuce and tomato on a BLT- necessary for the overall taste, but not the main attraction.

We’ll discuss more about the “meat” of a good social media strategy in our exploration of “Social Media as Public Relations” later this week on Social Media Minute and Blog.