Social media topics were among the most popular and informative sessions at the 2015 LDSTech Conference.

Presenters were chosen from among those who produce online content for the Church and those who maintain and monitor Church social media channels. What they shared was particularly instructive for anyone interested in building social connections online.

You will likely find many worthwhile ideas that have relevance for your particular circumstances. Read more for some key ideas from the social media presentations.

Jared Covington, a senior advisor over social media, shared visual content and adaptations in “Social Media Trends and How the Church is Responding.”

  • The Church does a lot with videos and is using micro-videos and animated GIFs. It is also exploring disappearing content and mobile messaging.
  • The Church encourages user-generated content and has tips for media developers.
  • Church media emphasis is on quality and not quantity, with the Church adopting new channels when they can “make a difference.”
  • Media that is spiritual in nature without being explicitly religious has proven to be well-received.

Mike Madsen, a creator of media content, offered insights into the role of social media with the youth in “Strengthening the Rising Generation:”

  • The Church aims to reach a wider audience by creating content youth will share.
  • Better content results from engaging youth and getting direct and honest feedback.
  • “Face-to-face” events are in response to counsel from the Brethren.
  • “Face-to-face” events are live and unscripted, with youth moderators choosing some of the questions in real time from online participants.

Kelly Gibson, a product manager with the (digital) scriptures, demonstrated how simple messages can reach millions in positive ways from the Book of Mormon Facebook page in “Leveraging Technology to Share the Gospel.”

  • Actions users take (i.e., “Like,” “Comment,” or “Share”) on the Book of Mormon Facebook page help achieve the purpose of the Book of Mormon as noted in the preface.
  • A model that works well as a structure for online messaging begins with doctrine, then principles and applications.
  • Being motivated by love is the best foundation for sharing content. It allows the Spirit to enter into online interactions.
  • Moderators may hide, delete, or ban unwelcome comments or contributors, but they also can have negative effects on an online community and should be exercised with discretion. Often detractors are neutralized by positive comments from other community members.

Casey Mortensen, a social media analyst for the Church, demonstrated how data analytics play a role in choosing content for Church media properties and what that consists of in “Social Media: Listen, Learn, Act.”

  • Software is helping the Church measure the success of its products and services.
  • The conclusions drawn from analytics drive efforts to produce better content.
  • Many of the tools available have free components that anyone can use to measure outcomes and develop strategies for engaging audiences online.

If you want a finger on the pulse of the Church, tune into social media. Many presentations at the 2015 LDSTech Conference have valuable perspectives for your online social connections. As you can, plan to watch all the sessions and adapt the information as you see patterns for successful engagement.

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