I was asked by my religious community to improve our social media presence. I’m the most active member of our community on social media so I must know something that might help (I have 26,000+ followers on Twitter and a Klout of 72). Our community twitter account has only 1,200 followers and about 0.8% the monthly impressions (views of tweets) that I do. I knew we needed to engage the current audience and a slightly wider reach to spread our message. I knew that we needed to share stuff that others would like and share, not just whatever we had easiest at hand.
I also realized I didn’t know everything. I read a few blogs on how to get lots of shares on social media and more than talked about making sure you have all the right tags so your info is shared right. The next few sentences may seem abstract; if you want to understand what I’m talking about, view a tweet linking to this post – one is pinned atop my Twitter page – and you’ll notice there is no summary like many other sites. They sent me to a page that indicates if this page has the tags for social media sharing. I ran our site and few others (including ProjectYM) and it seemed that none of them had all the tags – most weren’t even close. (This just tests if their present not if they’re the best choice.) Because of things that are incomplete in the non-visible part of the website, when these pages are shared they don’t appear right. In the concrete again: how many of you have seen a friend share a link on Twitter or Facebook where no picture or no summary appears? That’s the result of lacking these tags.
At the same time, my community’s Twitter has no header photo and the profile photo is low resolution so it gets blurry really easily. It even had a typo in the description for months.
These are just basic things that any website should have. They aren’t advanced techniques only known by PhD engineers hidden in the Google basement. These are things that websites have to be up to the modern level. Mind you we don’t need 100% in everything – even websites based around social media sharing like Buzzfeed don’t get 100% in every area but they are far above us. However, I can tell you that I’m much hesitant to click on a link on social media if it doesn’t give the summary first.
We don’t have the need to be reviewing and updating our websites every day to be checking things like this but we should strive to have these basic things. Let’s improve Catholic websites by making sure we put on these tags. I admit that even I didn’t understand this until last week; I thought Twitter was discriminating against ProjectYM as a less popular site. Each of us should try to make our websites professional so the Church can influence the online culture appropriately.