Published October 25, 2015, 5:00 p.m.
by Tatum Roessler.
Upon his first visit to the United States, Pope Francis “broke the Internet.” He dominated everyone’s news feeds with Pope Mobile geo-filters, live tweets, Instagrams and heavy digital media coverage. Thousands of attendees captured the Papal Parades in D.C., New York and Philadelphia, but they are not the only ones who love to say what is on their mind in 140 characters. Pope Francis, @Pontifex, is one of the most influential people in the Twittersphere.
Pope Francis is known for being “the people’s Pope” and has been a very public figure. He has spoken out numerous times, calling for action on the recent migrant crisis, global warming and scandals in the Catholic Church. He has gotten “hip” and has brought the Catholic Church to the social media realm, specifically Twitter, to connect with the 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church and the rest of the world.
He has more than 23 million followers on Twitter and accounts in nine languages. Talk about appealing to all of your target audiences.
PR pros and branding aficionados should take notes. Pope Francis has single-handedly changed the presence of the Church through his transparency on Twitter. His messaging is clear and consistent through traditional and social media. This is where a lot of brands struggle, as they try to catch the attention of such a large audience. The pope gets it right.
@Pontifex keeps his tweets clear and concise, making it easy for his followers — in all nine languages — to understand his message.
Upon his recent visit to the United States and Cuba, he simply tweeted: “I ask you to join me in praying for my trip to Cuba and the United States. I need your prayers.” The message is so simple, genuine and real. This is the type of social media interaction audiences want — something that is honest and allows them to connect in a unique way.
According to a CBS News article, the pope has a small team of advisers to whom he communicates his messages, and they help him tweet them. The article also stated how he acknowledges that our world is so digital, and taking advantage of social media is important to reach people.
The Vatican is absent from Facebook and Instagram, but despite that, the pope’s Twitter is a hit. It goes to show that honing in on one particular medium pays off, as only one message is sent out to the people. While most brands are present on multiple social platforms, they can take away from Pope Francis that crafting well-thought-out and consistent messaging on all platforms is the key to reaching your audience without anything getting lost in translation.
Through his presence on Twitter — and his transparency with the media — Pope Francis has resonated with non-Catholics, and even changed the minds of those who once negatively viewed the Catholic Church. Brands should learn from Pope Francis that it is possible to reach the naysayers and convert people from the competition.
@Pontifex has demonstrated how Twitter and social media can transform a brand and the importance of carefully thought-out messaging. He has stepped up the Vatican’s Twitter game and has set the bar high for branding on social media. So watch out, Kim K … you have some competition.