Communicating in the 21st Century: A Social Media Resource for Congregations

Inside Leadership

Communicating in the 21st Century: A Social Media Resource for Congregations

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These days, nearly everything has moved online, including the art of socializing. Congregational leaders know that to remain in touch with and connected to their members (and those they’d like to see join their congregation), their online presence must include active social media channels. With rapidly changing technology, though, it can be difficult to know how to be successful on social media.

That’s why the URJ has created “Communicating in the 21st Century,” a new resource in The Tent, the communications and collaboration platform for Reform Jewish leaders. This new resource rounds up the best advice available online for helping congregational leaders grow and strengthen their social media presence, including best principles for congregational usage, guidance from social media professionals, and links to more than two dozen articles, presentations, and other documents that will help synagogue leadership to navigate Facebook and Twitter, in particular.

Social media strategists quoted in the resource include Kate Bigam, the URJ’s social media and community manager, and Lisa Colton, founder and chief operating officer of Darim Online, an organization dedicated to helping organizations succeed in the digital age. Colton advises congregational leaders to consider three broad areas of social media when developing their synagogues’ online policies and practices:

  1. Content: Consider what kinds of content you want to create, post, and curate, and how you want to balance that content, along with any privacy considerations.
  2. Frequency: Think about the expectations you’re setting – and can realistically adhere to – with regard to both posting your own content and responding to followers.
  3. Tone: Social media should be social, casual, friendly, and personal, but if it’s under the brand of the synagogue, it also needs to be professional and consistent with the congregation’s voice, brand, and values.

The resource also includes information about crisis communications, social media usage policies (including photo permissions), and a sample policy on cyberbullying.

“Communicating in the 21st Century” provides a perfect starting point for your congregation to create a more engaging and dynamic social media presence that will best appeal to current and prospective members. Check it out – and we’ll see you online.

Have something to say about this post? Join the conversation in The Tent, the social network for congregational leaders of the Reform Movement. You can also tweet us or tell us how you feel on Facebook.

Robin Riegelhaupt is the manager of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Knowledge Network resources. Prior to joining the URJ, she worked with the Washington Action Office of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A native New Yorker, Robin lives in Astoria, N.Y., and writes about the arts at Reviewing the Drama.

Robin Riegelhaupt
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