By Chris Martin
This might be a bit of an overstatement, but I’m going to say it anyway: if you are a leader, you have a responsibility to be on social media.
Now, there are obvious exceptions, like if social media is leading you into sin or otherwise affecting your walk with the Lord. But, in general, if God has gifted you with the ability to lead people, you should be using that gift in the digital space in some way—the most common of which is being active on social media.
But, if you’re overwhelmed by social media or you aren’t sure of how to best be active on the platforms, you’re not alone. Start by avoiding these three mistakes:
1. Serving yourself instead of others
Leaders: God has gifted you. God has given you these gifts with the expectation that you will use them to serve others, not yourself. This applies in whatever leadership role you hold, ministry or otherwise, and it applies to what you do on social media as well.
Too many leaders use social media to build their own kingdoms without considering how they might use their gifts for the Kingdom. Whatever gifts God has given you that translate to the digital space—whether speaking, writing, or otherwise—have been given to you for the building up of others, not the fame of your own name.
As you build a social media presence, you must do so with the good of others in mind. Consider the needs of others before you consider how social media might make you famous or land you a book deal. In reality, social media provides a lot more opportunities for us to make fools of ourselves than it does opportunities to make us “famous.”
Using your gifts online to serve others isn’t only the right strategy—it’s the most effective strategy. Leaders who constantly promote themselves and their content online without any consideration for their audience or others in the space are ultimately less effective than those leaders who build community and lift up others with their online presence.
2. Buying “influence” instead of building influence
This is a natural manifestation of the first mistake.
Spending money on social media advertising is wise but only if you know how to do it properly. Too many leaders spend money hoping to trick social media platforms into making themselves look more important than they actually are.
Do not buy Twitter followers or likes on your Facebook page in an effort to look important. If you’re going to spend money on social media platforms to serve a broader audience, make sure you’re spending your money wisely. You will likely be tempted to buy fake “influence” in order to look important when your money and efforts would be better spent building real influence.
Building real influence takes more time and work than buying fake “influence,” but it’s worth it in the end.
3. Wasting time on irrelevant platforms
One of the most common mistakes I see among leaders on social media is trying to do too much on too many different platforms. It is not wise to try to be creating content for every single social media platform every day. If you try to do that, you’ll spend more time creating social media content than actually leading people.
So what do you do?
Find the one or two social media platforms that are most commonly used by the audience you hope to serve online and only be active on those.
Trying to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and everything else is silly. Figure out who you are best gifted to serve, learn the top two platforms they use, and use those.
Maybe you’re still nervous or confused about how to properly use social media. To learn how LifeWay Social can help and to get a free copy of 5 Ways to Grow Your Online Presence Without Selling Your Soul, head over to LifeWaySocial.com. Sign ups forLifeWay Social open on October 23rd.