Social media can be a chaotic place sometimes, but how can we use it to the glory of God? In this video, Vice President for Institutional Communications at Reformed Theological Seminary, Phillip Holmes, gives three tips on how to best use your social media platforms to shine a light in a digital world.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
As someone who is a digital marketer, heavily involved in social media and helping people figure out how to communicate clearly and accurately over social media platforms, I’m often asked what Christians should do or how Christians should engage and use social media.
There are a few principles that I like to use when I’m thinking about this question:
Number one, I want to be helpful. That’s first and foremost. So as I’m thinking about what tweets I’m gonna put out, as I’m thinking about which type of Facebook post I’m gonna post, as I’m thinking through my overall content strategy, most importantly, I just want to be helpful.
Because at the end of the day we need to use our platforms—with every platforms God has given us, whether you have a friends list that is 100 people or a friends list that’s 100,000 people—we need to use those platforms to glorify God and to try to add value to other people’s lives.
Even if I’m taking my faith out it—which I never do—but even if I’m just consulting somebody who’s not a Christian and who’s not a believer and they’re trying to figure out, “Man, how can I do digital marketing and social media effectively?” One of the first things I tell them, always add value.
Think about other people before you think about yourself, because if you always use your social media platform to promote yourself, to talk about how awesome you are, to tell people how great you are, listen, it’s naturally wired in us to not be attracted to that and not to want to engage those types of platforms. But when we see people who are thinking about us before they’re thinking about themselves, people are drawn to that.
This is a Christian principle. This is a foundational Christian belief. We see Paul pointing to Jesus in Philippians chapter 2 when he’s saying, “Listen, count others as more important than you count yourself.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
So the first thing I want to do, I want to be helpful and the only way that I can be helpful is by being knowledgeable.
We live in the age of misinformation or “fake news” and a lot of people are really quick to share things that are not true. They’re also really quick to spread lies that are not true. Part of it is because we want to stay relevant and we feel like we have to say something in order to keep our name and our face and our recognition and our platform in front of people.
But at the end of the day, we need to make sure that when we’re saying things that it’s based upon truth and it’s based upon facts and that we’ve done a good job of researching whatever it is that we’re talking about to make sure that what we’re spreading and what we’re giving to people is actually going to be helpful. Because if it’s not true it cannot be helpful.
So we want to make sure that, number one: we’re helpful, number two: in order to be helpful we want to make sure that we’re knowledgeable. And then finally, we just want to be selfless at the end of the day.
When it comes to being helpful and when it comes to being true and knowledgeable and all those things, it does not necessarily mean that your platform has to be boring. It does not mean that the only thing you do is tweet out facts.
Sometimes social media is a place of comfort and to some extent that’s appropriate, right? If you go to social media to be entertained, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So some people use their platforms in order to make people laugh and I think that’s great and I think that’s awesome. I think that’s adding value to people’s lives.
So as we think through social media usage, let’s be selfless, let’s be knowledgeable, and at the end of the day, more than anything else, I think we want to be helpful. We want to make sure that we’re making the space, the platform that we’re on, a better place because of the content and because of the resources and because of just a helpfulness that we’re providing other people.