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Catholic Contradictions and Social Media

Posted by JC Costarino on Feb 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM

How_to_use_social_mediaIf you have even one friend who is Catholic, you’ve probably heard the term “shopping cart Catholic” referencing lax members of the church who pick and choose which parts of the doctrine they ascribe to…that is NOT what this post is about! I would like to think I am much smarter than to start that debate. This is however, a story about the contradictions of emotions I faced during mass one Sunday a few weeks back…

For a brief moment in time, I lost my mind…I actually thought about standing up in the middle of my priest’s homily to defend social media. That’s just what happens when are as passionate as I am about your job and the medium in which it operates—you are constantly hyper sensitive to any comments casting dark shadows upon the social mediasphere and quick to jump to its defense, like standing up for the small kid at recess.

Sadly, I cannot remember the readings from that particular Sunday, but Father’s homily centered around stepping away from the updates of everyone else’s lives and getting more in touch with God and his teachings. He kept referring to the egocentricity of social media and the fact it served no purpose outside narcissistic braggadocio. Are you all starting to understand my knee jerk reaction to leap to social media’s defense?

Ironically, a few weeks ago I wrote about the 80/20 rule in social communication and my priest’s philosophy simply reinforced the importance of this rule.

A few years ago my Facebook feed overflowed with baby pictures, wedding announcements, and random updates about “friends” emotional status that particular day. As I peruse my feed today, there are still a few of these posts in the mix, but I’ve started to see a great shift towards education and product promotion, instead of simply sharing updates. Even my friends who post their baby pictures, do so with an informative twist: “I used x formula last week and Baby slept better than ever…here’s a link to try it yourself for free”. The celebratory post about meeting or crushing a personal fitness goal includes links to the protein powder that supported their training, or the amazing shoes that carried them through the mud, over obstacles, or across 26.2 miles of road.

These are all the things I wanted to shout to as my priest demeaned the great value social media has in our lives, not to mention how he and the church (like ANY business), could use social to better connect with the subset of their audience he was trying to push offline. Hey, even Pope Francis is on Twitter! By reaching out in social media, where you already know everyone is, you are able to speak their language and have real-time impact. Would you rather post an ad in a newspaper where a limited number of people may see your information, or share with a targeted audience already interested in your product/service?

I am not trying to propose a strategic inbound marketing campaign for the Catholic Church, or even my local church, although…this might come up in conversation at one of our upcoming Lenten dinners. I am simply emphasizing that truly any company can find success when the integrate into the world their audience already frequents and provide them not only with education and information, but answers to their questions in a timely manner! In this information-saturated world, it is much easier to find clarity amidst the clutter if you hear directly from someone you trust in your network, instead of random noise hammering you to buy, buy, buy.

Hopefully my decree to defend social media reached you in someway, so the next time you post in social you remember while your network may be super excited about your upcoming nuptials, they really want to know who did your announcements, engagement photos, and who you’re using for the cake. I’ve given you your assignment, but if you need a bit more direction, feel free to access our great guide to executing your own inbound marketing campaign so I don’t have to send the defender of social media out there to strike you down.

Topics: social media marketing