Social Media: Are You Just Broadcasting Noise?

Social media is just the new “bad flyer with typos” as far as masjid communication goes.

There may have been a point in time where simply being “on the Facebook” or “having a Tweeter” was sufficient, or even cutting edge. Now though, your organization’s status updates fight for attention in the barrage of information in a user’s timeline (click to Tweet).

All of us own our own media companies now. We each have the ability to speak up, to tell our stories, and if we’re good and if we’re lucky, to be heard.
Too often, though, there’s no signal. You may be pumping noise through your social media outlets, but noise isn’t signal. It’s merely a distraction. You’re talking, but you’re not saying anything, at least nothing that’s being heard.
You get to choose your story. If the story you’ve chosen doesn’t get through, it’s up to you to fix that. Pick a story that reflects your work, sure, but also one that resonates with the receiver. –Seth Godin

Your online presence is meant to connect with your audience. Being a one-way medium that simply produces announcements is no longer sufficient. For someone to stay connected to you, to give you precious real-estate in their timeline, and actually read what you have to say, you have to give them a reason. The story of your organization must not only resonate with them, but make them feel a part of your actual community.

If you post an update on Facebook, and ignore or delete comments, you’ve essentially hung up the phone on a community member.

It’s actually quite easy for a masjid to incorporate story-telling to connect with audience members. How many masjids have you attended where you actually know their history? Do you know who founded it and why? Who are some people from the community that have gone on to do important things? Does your masjid have any stories to share of its impact on the community?

These stories – even anecdotes – are much more powerful than reducing your social media presence to announcing fundraisers and family nights. How many people actually attend these events as a result of social media announcements? How many even saw the announcement? Take a look at a Facebook event for any type of event, and see how many people have confirmed to attend that event from other countries. That lets you know you’re broadcasting noise.

Focus your social media on your community. Share your story to engage them and make them feel a part of the community. There’s a difference between throwing an announcement at someone and presenting a narrative that draws someone in and makes them want to be involved.

You’ve already got the platform – put in the effort to use it properly.

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Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. He works full time in the corporate field, is a PMP, and certified Leadership Trainer through the John Maxwell Team. You can follow him on on Twitter @ibnabeeomar, and check out his latest project - The Fiqh of Social Media.

Omar UsmanSocial Media: Are You Just Broadcasting Noise?

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