Two of social media’s biggest stars are having a highly anticipated sit-down tomorrow.
I’m not talking about Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Rather, Pope Francis and President Trump—two world leaders who share little in common beyond their ability to harness media, particularly social media, to spread their message and connect with their flock.
President Trump, of course, leveraged his millions of Twitter followers and billions in free media to win the White House.
Since becoming pope more than four years ago, Francis has himself emerged as an unlikely social media star. With his 10.7 million Twitter followers, the 80-year-old pontiff isn’t afraid to wade into divisive terrain, often taking swipes at the president’s policies, particularly his proposed “Muslim ban.”
Though his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, established the @pontifex account, Pope Francis has many social media firsts: the first pope on Instagram (his @franciscus now has 3.9 million followers), the first pope to meet with technology executives like Apple CEO Tim Cook and, as of last month, the first pope to deliver a TED Talk. The 17-minute speech has since been viewed by more than 2 million people around the world.
Why is an octogenarian pope competing with the likes of Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian for retweets and followers? Simple—he knows that you have to speak to people and engage with them where they live. You can’t just assume your audience is listening, even if do you have an important title like president or pope.
Here are some lessons we can all learn from the pope’s social media skills:
You don’t need to be inspired by the divine to maximize your Twitter game, but a lot of can learn from the pope’s mastery of social media. Follow his lead and begin building important bridges to the future.