In developing the “The United Methodist Church in the US – Social Media Presence” spreadsheet, one of the first things I had to do was find each annual conference’s social media account on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. However, this actually proved to be a bit of a time-consuming process (two hours, according to Google Sheets) because of the differences in social media account names and usernames across networks. So, I wanted to give a few tips and tricks on identifying your conference (or any organization, including churches) easily enough to where anyone can find you with a few quick keystrokes.
- Use the same username on each social media network.
When you use the same username, you help to unify your conference’s brand AND make it easier for people to find you. It’s a lot easier to say “Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @xyzumc” instead of “Find us on Facebook at XYZ Conference, Twitter @xyzconf, and Instagram @xyzumc.” For instance, one of my favorite bands, Phoenix, uses @wearephoenix on their social media, even on Tumblr! However, out of the 55 annual conferences, only 21 (approximately 40 percent) use the same username across each social network, and 16 (approximately 30 percent) have a different username for every network! I’d like to give a shoutout to the conferences that use the same username across all the networks they use because that is seriously one of the best things you can do for your social media presence:
- Alabama-West Florida: @awfumc
- Baltimore-Washington: @bwcumc
- California-Pacific: @calpacumc
- Desert Southwest: @dscumc
- Eastern Pennsylvania: @epaumc
- Greater New Jersey: @gnjumc
- Minnesota: @minnesotaumc
- Missouri: @moumethodist
- North Carolina: @nccumc
- Northern Illinois: @umcnic
- Northwest Texas: @nwtxconference
- Pacific Northwest: @pnwumc
- South Georgia: @sgaumc
- Tennessee: @tnumc
- Upper New York: @uppernewyork
- West Ohio: @westohioumc
- West Virginia: @wvumc
- Western North Carolina: @wnccumc
- Western Pennsylvania: @wpaumc
- Wisconsin: @wisconsinumc
- Yellowstone: @yacumc
- If you aren’t going to use the same username, at least link to all of your social media accounts on your website.
If you don’t use the same username on every network, people may be confused when they can’t find your conference or organization on their app of choice. From there, they may turn to other sources of information, especially your website, to find out if you have an account on that network. However, if your website doesn’t link to that account, people (including myself, on occasion) may just think it doesn’t exist. That’s not good if you’re using your social media as a big part of your communications strategy.
- (Facebook only) Take advantage of the “page username” feature.
If you give someone a long web address to type in, chances are they won’t be too happy with you, especially if they make a mistake typing it in and they can’t find said mistake. Facebook is no exception, as by default, if you ask for a URL for your page, it will give you something like “https://www.facebook.com/UMTracker-282544658814896/” (which is the link to the UMTracker Facebook page, pre-username.) That is not a memorable URL, and it takes up a lot of room on a piece of paper or a pamphlet. However, with Facebook’s “page username” feature, you can take that URL and make it more along the lines of “facebook.com/UMTracker”, which is a lot shorter and much easier to remember/share. For more information on how to do this, click here!
- Use the same name on the page/account, if nothing else.
If your usernames are still all different, and you don’t link to them on your website, at least use the same name. Every social network will give you the option to put in a “Page Name” or “Account Name”, and if those are consistent, it will result in a higher chance of your page or account being found if someone searches by name instead of username.
Hopefully, these guidelines will help you in streamlining your social media presence, as well as making it much easier for everyone to find you! Feel free to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from it! As always, I share my thoughts and research in the hopes that this ends up being of some benefit to someone, and as always I appreciate any comments or questions. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below! I always love hearing your thoughts or what your conference is doing.
Until next time,