Using Social Media To Communicate More Effectively

image.jpg

Doing Middle School Ministry looks a lot different today than it did when I first started full-time ministry back in 1997.  In all honesty, any ministry that we were doing back in 1997 will probably look different than it does today.  If we didn’t change and adapt to 2016, we would probably be failing in those areas.

But let’s be honest, many of us are still stuck in some of our old tactics for reaching people as we were some 20 years ago, no matter what our ministry is.  That is why we need to change what we are doing.  This is especially true in how we use Social Media for ministry.

If we want to be successful at reaching people today, we have to learn how to maximize Social Media to communicate better.

Communication

Communication is one of the key ingredients of effective ministry.  After all, how will anyone ever know anything about your ministry unless you are to tell them?  But it is not just about what you communication. It is becoming more and more about where and how you communicate.

For instance, getting information on Facebook and your other social media accounts is very important.  Contrary to early reports, people are NOT fleeing Facebook. They keep flocking to it. In fact, Moms literally LOVE Facebook. It’s true.  Try going to the elementary school at the end of the day when all the parents are picking up kids. What are they doing when they are waiting for their kids to come? They are on their phones checking Facebook.

But just as important as reaching moms on Facebook is reaching millennials.  If you want to reach the next generation for Christ, communication is best these days through mobile outlets and social media.   For instance, these are the key social media platforms you should be aware of and on…at least to some degree:
·      Instagram
·      Twitter
·      Snapchat (not just for sexting anymore)
·      Facebook
·      YouTube
·      Text  (yes even Text is important).

People LOVE to share pictures and what they are up to (Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat), like to ready short witty updates from all sorts of people (Twitter),  and they love to spend countless hours watching funny cat videos (YouTube).  That is why is is so important to have a presencse on these networks so you know what people are up to and are able to communicate with them and all they are doing.

But even with these forms of communication, communicating to them is not just the only thing here.  It is the way you communicate with them that is important.

How to communicate effectively on social media

Communication is not just about what you say but how you interact with others on those networks. What you say CAN and WILL come back to haunt you if you are not careful. Here are some tips:

1. Avoid negative chatter. On social media it can be easy to let emotions fly and say something negative in a post or reply negatively.  However, never have I seen anyone convinced of another persons viewpoint on social media, especially when there is negativity involved.  Furthermore, as a believer and minister, it is so important to communicate Christ (see #4) and, to my knowledge, Christ never convinced others about the love of God by tearing someone down, even if He knew he was right.

2. Be clear. Think through what you are going to say.  There are so many times when, in our head, what we will write sounds great, but then on text it comes out wrong.  Again, as a believer and minister, we really have to be crystal clear what we send out online and on social media.  One mistake can come back to haunt you so make sure you read and re-read what you are going to send before you send it.

3. Be creative. In a world of short, witty video clips or creative pictures, teens and millennials are doing so much because they have these tools at their fingertips.

That is why how you communicate is equally important to what you communicate.  You do have to be creative in your postings.  Years ago, just typing in what you are doing and giving the details was good enough.  Now you need more than that.

You need images or videos that tell the story.  I know, I know…you think you aren’t creative at all.  That may be true, but even if you are like me and don’t have a creative bone in your body, there are Apps for that.  Apps like…
·      Instaquote
·      Word Swag
·      Adobe Post
·      Videohance

These are all easy apps to get to know and that you can use to help tell the story and engage people.

4. Represent Christ. This is a no-brainer, but we need to be reminded that as believers and ministers, we need to represent Christ to everyone we come into contact with on social media.

As we seek to reach more and more people for Christ I am reminded by the old saying from Young Life, “go where they are”.  Where are people today? They are on their mobile devices communicating with the world.

Step into that world and see what kind of conversations you can be having online that lead people to Christ.

What do you think? How are you using social media to communicate and minister to people today?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Tom has a background in Student Ministry working over 17 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Student Ministry and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA.

Tom started YMSidekick.com back in 2007 (under “Not a Mega Church” branding) with the purpose to help ministry leaders do ministry more effectively. Tom writes, create videos and podcast weekly. In addition to the work he does at YMSidekick.com, Tom blogs regularly forOrange Leaders and is an official Orange Blogger. Follow Tom on Twitter @tapounder

Stop Treating Social Media As Binary: All or Nothing

image.jpg

Social media.  Greatest invention ever? Or not?

Just say it to anyone who is responsible for publishing and managing social media for a church and the word “overwhelming” immediately creeps into their mind to differing degrees.

So much to do. So much to monitor. So much to create. So much to schedule. So much to handle.  And that’s just with the channels you’re managing now.

There’s also so much that feeds the FOMO (fear of missing out) machine with whatever the latest trend people chatter about or whenever a new kid on the block pops up (snapchat or peach anyone?).  It is easy to get buried with a sense of crushing weight on your shoulders.

 One of the biggest mistakes I see with organizations I partner with to help make sense of their digital communications efforts is that they assume they need to do it all.  But that’s not true at all.

 Meaning, the big lie is that you have to do it all on social media.

For social media managers, while social media promised to be the world of mouth, it has become the weapon of mass distraction.

For the novice, social media looks a lot alike. No matter the platform, it’s the same stance: people hunched over their phones scrolling and thumb typing away endlessly.

I’m here to tell you: You don’t need to do it all.  You don’t need to be on every platform.  You don’t need to have an account on the list of hundreds of social networking sites that even Wikipedia can’t keep track of.

 THE TRUTH: Each social media platform has a different sweet spot for audience and mode of engagement with the community.

image.jpg

And as I’ve been using them more, I’ve found that each one is good for different things.  You can’t assume any or all social media platforms with help you achieve what you want in the same way or even at all. Each social media network has it’s own personality.

 So how do you begin to learn the differences between social media platforms?

 Start with one, become familiar with it and you’ll see your capacity to handle more will grow.  Just as social media is about using technology to mediate relationships, you’ll have your own relationship with each social platform too.

 If you are at a total loss for where to start, begin with the biggest one of them all: Facebook.

 Why? Here’s some sobering stats about Facebook for what you’re missing out on:

  • 72% of adults online are active on Facebook. They check at least once a month. And it’s growing. Which means, it’s the most efficient way to reach your people.
  • 65% of Facebook users logon daily. Not many other places even Starbucks can claim this characteristic of being the true watering hole for your community.
  • The average person spends 20 minutes on Facebook daily.  If you had to guess where to meet someone in town on a given day, this is it.
  • Want to reach millenials (15-34)? 91% of them are on Facebook. Why would you avoid showing up where everyone else is already?
  • Average number of friends teens have on FB: 300. Women: 250.  They’re connected.

 After Facebook, you should take up Instagram, or Twitter. You can save LinkedIn, Peach and Snapchat for later.

 So I hope that gives you some permission to stop treating social media in a binary way.  You have more than just two choices: All or Nothing. 

 Choose some with incremental gains.

 What else is contributing to your anxiety around social media for your church? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 Kenny Jahng is the Church Online Pastor at Liquid Church Online - a multi-site Christian church with multiple locations across New Jersey. He also advises nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations on strategic content marketing initiatives. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter at @KennyJahng. Or check out his blog at www.KennyJahng.com

Tech Tip: How To Podcast From Your iPad

   

 

 

Today I want to share a Tech tip with you. It's a tip on how to podcast in an easy and portable way.

There are so many podcast shows available ranging from things like sports, politics, food, Church sermons and more!

Chances are, you, your Church or your business will someday decide, "We want to launch a podcast and share our thoughts and opinions on what WE are passionate about."

So knowing that is going to probably happen,  I wanted to share a quick tip that will relieve some of the stress from the seemingly "daunting task" of figuring out how to record and create a podcast. 

 There are many people and sites that tell you that if you want to launch a good podcast you need to be prepared to drop many hundreds if not a few thousand dollars on microphones, mixers, recorders and other "must have" podcast equipment. While it is true that if you invest in really nice equipment and create a home studio, your podcast will sound really professional, BUT it is not ACTUALLY required to record a HIGH QUALITY and GREAT SOUNDING podcast. 

How do I know? Am I an expert? No. What I do know is that I have created a portable, high quality podcasting setup that will cost you a lot less than a professional podcast studio and it's sounds great! 

                                                                   "Ipad Podcasting Rig" 

Here is all you need to begin podcasting today in an affordable and portable way.

1. iPad.

image.jpg

One of the best inventions ever. The Apple IPad. It is magical. The internet, games and so much more literally under the screen in your hand.  The price on an IPad continues to go down as technology becomes more affordable every year. Even if you don't own one currently, you can easily pick one up starting at a couple hundred dollars. 

Did you know that your IPad can literally be a recording studio and mixer?  

How? That leads me to the second part of my podcasting setup.... 

2. Bossjock Studio

image.jpg

Bossjock Studio is an app for any IOS device that turns your device into a live mixing console just like if you were sitting in a radio studio! SO COOL! You can use loops, pre-record elements and import music files from multiple cloud services for you to use in your podcast show! 

How much does this app cost? You ready for this......$9.99!

That's it! You don't have to buy an expensive mixer or radio studio equipment. Everything you need to record, mix and export a podcast is included in this ONE app. Go check it out HERE

Then the next element needed in our podcast rig is.... 

3. Blue Yeti Microphone

image.jpg

There are many microphones to pick from, but I chose this one because of the price and flexibility. This microphone only cost $129.00. You can get it even cheaper if you catch a sale or get a used one. This microphone is so cool because it can be used to record a one person podcast, an interview with another person or even to record a round table podcast with multiple people from all directions. It is a well built device and extremely durable. 

 

                     Here is a quick video showcasing the microphone and what it is capable of.  

This is a great microphone to start with if you are just getting into podcasting. Find out more info and where to order on Blue Yeti's website HERE.

                                           

                                              The secret ingredient that makes this all work.... 

 

4. Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. 

image.jpg

You may not know, but the Blue Yeti is designed to work with a laptop or PC. NOT AN IPAD. That is because the microphone is powered by a standard usb cord that plugs into the computer.  

With the Lightning to USB adapter though, you can trick the Blue Yeti Microphone and it will power up from the IPad just as if it were a MacBook or PC!  

So you want to start podcasting? Do you have an iPad? Do you have $130-$150 dollars for a Microphone and adapter? Do you have $9.99 to buy a digital recording studio app like BossJock?  

If you say yes to the above, then you my friend can have an awesome, affordable, Apple branded IPad Podcasting rig! 

Hope this Tech Tip helped you see that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start creating an awesome Podcast that sounds and looks AMAZING!

___________________________________________________________________________

David Hearne (SocialMediaPastor.com) is the Lead Pastor at GraceOnline.Church and also the Venue & Production Pastor at GraceSeaford.Church in Seaford, DE. In addition to speaking and teaching at his Church, David is a Consultant for Churches on how to use Technology and Social Media to reach their community. As part of this mission, David is the Editor-In-Chief of the SocialMedia.Church Blog. He is married to Kristin and they have two adorable kids, Noah and Gracie. Connect with David on Twitter at @SocMediaPastor

 

 

 

 

 

Technology & Social Media Are Not The Starting Point

Polaroid camera was once a dominating force in the camera business. Their instant photo camera with the white edges around it made them a recognizable brand as their pictures were hung up all over the rooms of high school teens and photo albums across the country. 

However, in the mid-1990s, with the advent of one-hour color film processing, single-use cameras from competitors, videotape camcorders, and digital cameras Polaroid struggled to keep up. No matter what they tried to do, nothing seemed to stick.

They even tried to reinvent themselves a few years ago with Fotobars. However that didn't change much and Polaroid went through years of Bankruptcy filings.

Today, even though you can still find Polaroid cameras and film, it is a shell of what it once was.

What are you getting at Tom?  What’s the point?

As churches and ministries seek to adapt to changing styles and interests of young people, one knee jerk reaction seems to always go to technology and social media.

 For instance, the problem with you not reaching more of the younger generations is “probably" be because you feel that your website is old and dull so you need to make it edgier. Or, you feel you aren’t really active on social media so you need to start to doing more funny things on Facebook or other social media platforms to gain attention.

While those things may be necessary action steps to take, the reality is that you should not be looking at technology as the first, knee jerk reaction step to take.

Technology can help and will be a really great tool for you to use to reach the next generation. But it should not be your FIRST step. 

Rather, your first step needs to be more of a focus on the mission and vision of your Church and how that overall plan works to reach the next generation. I’m not a church consultant in any way, but the issues of your church not reaching a particular group of people or the younger generation has less to do with technology and more to do with how your church is functioning. 

Dig deep and ask tough questions as you evaluate your church and your mission.  Look at how you are viewing young adults today. Do you treat them with respect or as young “hooligans” who don’t get it?  Do you actively listen to their needs and desires?  Are you meeting the needs of the community you are located? Do you even know the needs of the community you are in? Are your messages relevant to where they are in life?  

Those are some of the questions you need to ask first. Now, I’m not encouraging you to change your principles and core beliefs…those should not change. But, as you seek to be a relevant part of the community you are in, reaching young adults today goes far beyond adding a funny video or great Pro Presenter worship theme.

The more effective you can be at knowing and understanding the needs of your community, the more likely are you going to be able to reach them.  

But only after you know THAT will you be able to know how you can use technology as a tool to reach them.

What do you think? 


Tom has a background in Student Ministry working over 17 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Student Ministry and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA.

Tom started YMSidekick.com back in 2007 (under “Not a Mega Church” branding) with the purpose to help ministry leaders do ministry more effectively. Tom writes, create videos and podcast weekly. In addition to the work he does at YMSidekick.com, Tom blogs regularly forOrange Leaders and is an official Orange Blogger. Follow Tom on Twitter @tapounder

 

 

#1 App for Ministry & Productivity

If you are anything like me, you probably struggle with keeping your life organized.

On any given day we all have appointments, meetings, receipts, homework assignments etc.

The question is, how do you keep track of all this?

As a Husband, Father & Bi-Vocational Pastor, I struggle with this on a daily basis. I am constantly getting emails, phone calls, meeting with people, Bible study, attending school, running kids places and I often have no real way to keep track of all the “paper trails” in my life.

Enter Evernote! 

Evernote is the #1 most used app on my Phone, Tablet and Computer. 

The simple definition is that: Evernote is a note-taking application. 

But it is so much more than that. 

Think of it as a digital filing cabinet. The idea behind Evernote, is that our lives would be much more organized and stress free if we got rid of all the paper trails & thoughts on our sticky notes that line our desks, pockets, random notepads & our brains.

What if we digitized everything?

When I get an important email I save it to Evernote.

Those important notes from the meeting: Evernote.

My Shopping lists, todo list, reminders? I put it all in Evernote.

Any important idea, sermon thoughts, reminders or cool quotes I put them in Evernote.

Anything you want to remember and store: you can save it to Evernote.

In Evernote, you can store pretty much any type of file format like PDF, Word Docs, Power-point, pictures, pages etc.

Here is the cool part…

This is not just a digital equivalent to a paper pile.

Everything you have saved in Evernote can be organized into appropriate notebooks and categories.

Another mind-blowing feature is that everything you have saved into Evernote is searchable! That even includes words inside of pictures.

So you don’t even have to remember where you saved a note, just start typing words that you know are in your note and instantly that note pops up.

There are almost endless uses for Evernote in your personal life, ministry or job. 

So if you have a smartphone, tablet or computer, EVERNOTE IS FOR YOU! 

Best of all, IT'S FREE!!!

If you want EVEN MORE awesome productivity and power you can upgrade to a premium account for $49.99 a year!

Here is a quick video from Evernote on ways it is being used by people and businesses all over the world.

I challenge you to try using it for 30 days and just start saving things in there. You will see the difference it makes in your life. 

Go to Evernote.com today and check it out!


David Hearne (SocialMediaPastor.com) is the Lead Pastor at GraceOnline.Church and also the Venue & Production Pastor at GraceSeaford.Church in Seaford, DE. In addition to speaking and teaching at his Church, David is a Consultant for Churches on how to use Technology and Social Media to reach their community. As part of this mission, David is the Editor-In-Chief of the SocialMedia.Church Blog. He is married to Kristin and they have two adorable kids, Noah and Gracie. Connect with David on Twitter at @SocMediaPastor.

Online Life Groups

Are you doing online ministry? If so, what is your goal of online ministry? Is it simply to stream your church services to the world so you can reach more people? Or is it for something more?   

Although it is good that many churches stream their services to help people who are sick or traveling stay connected to the church, I have discovered that Online Church can be so much more than live-streaming.

What would it be like to not just stream your services but to actually build a community of people striving to figure out life and how God is apart of it?  If that was your goal, how could you go about doing that?  

One of the ways I have found successful is by starting Online Life Groups.

“Online Life Groups?  That’s not possible Tom!  You can’t build community with people online!  You need to be face to face and meet people in person for real community and spiritual growth to happen”

Yes, that would be ideal, but the reality is not everyone is able to meet in a home group or life group.  What do you do with those people? Say they are out of luck?  Of course not! You want them to connect and that is why online life groups are a very viable and effective option. Real community CAN and DOES develop online.  Just ask all those online dating sites and fantasy football leagues.

So how do you do Online Life Groups?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Facebook Groups.   I like to use Facebook groups because most people are on Facebook and it provides an easy entry to experience what an online group is like. Each day I will post a scripture, challenge, image or video to encourage them and to also get a discussion going.   The more interaction that happens the better the discussion and trust that builds up where people begin to share “real life” issues with each other.
  • Google Group.  Google groups are great to have a set number of people together discussion questions or topics in a forum type of way.  I tend to run these for 8-10 weeks at a time centered around a topic or a book in the Bible.  A new lesson is posted every Monday and the people have a week to respond to this.  As with the Facebook groups, the more interaction the better the conversations that happen.
  • Text Message Apps.  Group chats work great as a way to share scripture and encourage each other daily to grow in Christ. I have used apps like WhatsApp for a while with a group and it has been great.  This is really effective for International members of our church…although hearing the text alert sound in the middle of the night when they are up and I am not isn’t always great. ☺
  • Video Conferencing.  If using social media and forums aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe video conferencing using Google Hangouts or Zoom.  You can get together online at a certain time and actually have interactions LIVE as you discuss life just like a “physical” life group.

Life groups are vital to helping people develop and grow in their faith. Unfortunately not everyone is able to participate in a traditional life group.  That is why technology is great.  The more technology evolves and changes the more opportunities there are for people to experience a life group online.

What do you think? Have you tried online life groups before? What format do you use and how have you seen people grow in their faith because of it?  Share below. 


Tom has a background in Student Ministry working over 17 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Student Ministry and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA.

Tom started YMSidekick.com back in 2007 (under “Not a Mega Church” branding) with the purpose to help ministry leaders do ministry more effectively. Tom writes, create videos and podcast weekly. In addition to the work he does at YMSidekick.com, Tom blogs regularly for Orange Leaders and is an official Orange Blogger. Follow Tom on Twitter @tapounder


App or Website? The Question That Haunts Us All

I was in a meeting with an incredible organization recently. They train missionaries all over the world; hundreds and thousands of them.

I was there to discuss a partnership between their training team and TrainedUp, but once they found out that I have a background in mobile app development, the conversation shifted to one big question:

Should we build an app or just a website?

I’ve heard that question dozens of times. It’s a reasonable one. There are hundreds of millions of people with smartphones that can download apps. Apps are generally better at engaging someone on their mobile device than a website.

However, the benefits of an app are only worth the extra expense (apps usually cost many multiples more than a website with similar functionality) if you meet the following criteria.

1. The interaction you need to facilitate is only possible with an app; like, it literally can’t happen with a website. For example, if you need to allow people to take photos and upload them to somewhere, that’s something only an app can do reasonably.

2. You need realtime push notifications. I want to emphasize the realtime aspect of this need. If your notification isn’t time-sensitive, then there’s no reason to make it a push notification instead of an email.

3. Your functionality leads to or requires daily interaction with features, not content. For example, if your idea requires that users login and perform actions on a daily basis, make it an app.

4. Your desired user experience is far better with native interactions rather than web-based interactions. For example, if your idea requires animation or gameplay, build an app.

That’s it. Most churches don’t need an app for the features they want to build. Things that don’t require an app would be online giving, reading a blog, watching a sermon, submitting a prayer request, finding information about the church, or receiving a message from the church leaders.

These are all things that websites do. In fact, free/cheap websites on Squarespace or Weebly can do all these things for you and they generally come with mobile friendly layouts, too. Get a short url and tell people to bookmark your website and signup for email updates from the church. That’ll give you 99% of the functionality your church or organization probably needs to target mobile users…and it’ll save you a ton of money.

Finally, when it comes to on-boarding new users, it’s far easier to get someone to visit a website than it is to get them to download and use an app. Far, far easier.

If you can avoid the app route, please do so. Apps are expensive, hard to update, and hard to get people to adopt. Websites are free/cheap, easy to update, and simple to get people to visit.


Scott Magdalein is the founder of TrainedUp, the learning platform built for ministry. Formerly, He was the Digerati Coxswain at Life.Church where he was responsible for leading the team behind YouVersion, Church Online, Church Metrics, Open, Church Online Platform. He writes on Medium about leadership, discipleship, and technology. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottMagdalein

 

How a Small Church Can Leverage a Church Online

I had coffee with a friend who planted a church a few years ago and he asked me how my job as an online campus pastor could in anyway help his new church. I loved the question because at first I wasn’t sure, but after some conversation and caffeine I had an idea and I wanted to share it with you.

All brick and mortar churches offer up a limited amount of church services on a weekend. You can’t offer more than 8 services at a given location because of daylight, volunteer time, and resources. This means every week there is on average around 4 hours your church location is ready for a new attender to experience your church and 164 hours underutilized. What if there was a way to leverage all 168 hours a week? What if there was a way for a new attender to experience what your church is all about on-demand anytime? Church online is the answer.

Five Steps to Get Up & Going:

1. Weekly capture your church service in high definition quality (welcome, music, & message).

2. Launch a church online experience page

3. Apply for a Google Grant to get $10,000 a month of online advertising through Google AdWords

4. Set up an advertising campaign targeting people within a 30 mile radius of your church address and direct traffic to your new 24/7 church online service page with your Google Grant money.*

5. Create a video and banner advertisement (place invite video/banner directly under your video player on your church online page) for everyone who visits your new online church experience to attend your local church (have your senior pastor do the invite video).

With five simple steps you will have a church service running 168 hours a week for new attenders to watch and get connected to your church targeting your local community.

*When setting up a Google AdWord campaign with your nonprofits’ Google Grant money use local language in the headline of the ad copy people from your city can identify with like “Watch LA Church Service” or “Live New York City Church Online” (insert your city name where the underline is located).

Examples:

If you want to accelerate the learning process sign up for my free 3 part video course here!


Jay Kranda (JayKranda.com) is the Online Campus Pastor and Extension Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. The Online Campus brings in over 20,000 people every week and 1,000 small group hosts open up their homes across the globe. Jay is the author of “Social Media Made Easy: Inexpensive Online Marketing Guide for Non-Profits” and is the Vice President of the Savannah Golf Classic charity. Jay is married to Jody and they have two boys.

5 Easy Ways For Your Church to Thrive on Social Media

I meet pastors and church leaders all the time who are asking the same question: How do we use social media properly?

This is a great question to be asking. In our culture people are spending time on social media everyday. In fact, research shows us that people are spending an average of 1.72 hours a day on social media.

Those numbers will only continue to rise.

Here is a shocking reality......

 "People in your church are spending more time on social media in one day than they normally spend at your church in a whole week." 

So how can your Church thrive on social media?

5 Easy Ways

1. Know where your people are gathering online.

This may seem too simple but it is in fact the first place to start. You as the leader need to see where people from your church are gathering online. This varies depending on where your Church is located.

Some regions of the world are more likely to use Facebook more than Twitter. The different ages of your Church will utilize different social media platforms. For example, teenagers and college age kids are big users of Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

You need to think through the makeup of your organization and the target age of people you are trying to reach and ask: Which social network would they be on?

P.S.  This means you as a church leader need to be active on social media. Be authentic. You can only reach people where you are.

2. Realize that less is more.

Almost every year there is a new platform or network that launches. Your church could try to be on everyone of those. The question is whether you can literally be active in all those platforms. Just because you can be on 5 different social networks doesn't mean you should be. Start small. Start where the majority of your people are and slowly branch out as needed.

You need to be effective wherever you are on Social Media, not just be there.

3. Have more conversations and less advertisements.

People don't want to see your megaphone announcements all the time. They want to have conversations. If you engage with your congregation online throughout the week and know what is going on in their life, they feel valued and it actually will enhance the weekend experience for them because they will feel known and feel community no matter how big your church is. Treat people online like they are real people, not just passive avatars.

4. Be consistent.

If you know that people are spending almost 2 hours a day online, then that means you have the opportunity to have a regular voice into their life. Too often though, Churches think that just because they have a "presence" on Facebook, Twitter, etc, that they are being successful. That is not true. You are not successful if you are posting once or twice a month. That means barely anyone is seeing your content and as a result, conversations and reach are not happening.

To remedy this....

  • Decide what days you will post each week
  • What times you will post
  • What type of content you will post (text, picture, video etc.)

When you start doing that, people will begin to get a feel for how often they will get content from you. This will result in more engagement. 

5. Add value to people's lives. 

At the end of the day, people don't engage with things that don't add value to their lives. That means that whatever you post needs to be filtered through the lens of value. How will this post, picture or video add value to someones life by them seeing it. In fact, this way of thinking will actually help you craft your post and stories that you do share on your social media networks.

People are asking the tough questions online. People are searching for truth. People are looking for community. They are searching for value.

Are you bringing God's light, hope and truth into peoples lives on Social Media, or are you just advertising your latest event?

Always remember, add value to peoples lives with your online presence. 

David Hearne

www.SocialMediaPastor.com


David Hearne (SocialMediaPastor.com) is the Lead Pastor at GraceOnline.Church and also the Venue & Production Pastor at GraceSeaford.Church in Seaford, DE. In addition to speaking and teaching at his Church, David is a Consultant for Churches on how to use Technology and Social Media to reach their community. As part of this mission, David is the Editor-In-Chief of the SocialMedia.Church Blog. He is married to Kristin and they have two adorable kids, Noah and Gracie. Connect with David on Twitter at @SocMediaPastor.

Think Mobile and Social

As we look forward to 2016, let’s look at how to be more focused on growing our online platforms and increasing engagement with our online audiences. While there are no shortage of ways to do this, it seems that creating an online strategy is quite elusive for many organizations. One of the most important aspects of building an online presence for your organization is to develop a digital strategy, “before” you join any networks or start communicating online. This strategy includes:

  • Gathering the content from different departments within your organization
  • Organizing the team that will help gather, distribute the content and interact with your online audience
  • Determining which platforms you will utilize to get this content out to masses and connect with people online

But there’s two more important aspects to consider, let me explain.

When we hear about digital strategies, we always hear people say “Think Mobile First.” This perspective is quite understandable and I find it to be very true, but not the whole truth.

Thinking mobile first will help us in 2016 because according to Comscore.com, there are more mobile only users than desktop only users. Google has also said that as of March 2015 there are more searches on mobile than on desktop, therefore when you want to connect with the growing digital mission field of over 3 billion internet users, since 2 billion of them are mobile, you should think mobile first. The caveat in all of this is a simple question, what is driving this explosive mobile growth?

There are many factors that are leading the growth in mobile, those include over 6 billion mobile devices, over 4 million mobile apps and the growth of SMS/Texting. But above all of those factors lies one major reason and that is social media. Social media has exploded due to mobile and mobile has exploded due to social media. Social media has undeniably transformed the way we use the internet and it has surpassed email as our main form of communication. Additionally, we have seen social media quickly become the top usage on mobile devices based on which top apps are downloaded when someone receives a new mobile device.

This article is not one to rehash the reasons why you should add social media to your digital strategy, I believe that’s understood by the majority of organizations. This article is also not to convince organizations to understand the importance of mobile, that’s understood by organizations as they look at their employees and audience and see how many of them have mobile devices.

The focus of this article is to help you understand how important mobile and social are, together, as foundations for digital strategies to take your message to the masses. When you think about a digital strategy, consider that the majority of people will read your content and connect with your organization online from a mobile device as well as they will connect with, share and discuss this content and your organization via social media. Mobile and Social go hand in hand and it would benefit our organizations to make strategies that highlight this trend.


Jason Caston is the author of The iChurch Method (ichurchmethod.com) and an Internet church strategist. In addition to speaking and teaching around the world, he enjoys spending time with his family while using an Apple product to browse Google software.

Connect with on Twitter for more great insights!

 

 

Sources

https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Number-of-Mobile-Only-Internet-Users-Now-Exceeds-Desktop-Only-in-the-U.S

 

http://searchengineland.com/its-official-google-says-more-searches-now-on-mobile-than-on-desktop-220369

SocialMedia.Church Blog is LIVE

We are so excited to announce the launch of the SocialMedia.Church Blog today!

Our Podcast here at SocialMedia.Church is continuing to grow and thrive. This is all thanks to our faithful followers who listen to us on a regular basis.

As you know, our heart is to equip Church leaders around the world to reach their world through technology and social media. It is from that heart that we decided it was time to launch the Social Media Church Blog.

3 Cool things you will find on The Social Media Church Blog

1. Awesome Content

Our blog will contain the very best content on all things Social Media, Church Leadership, Technology and everything in between. You will find the same types of tips and tricks, how to’s and humor as you listen to on the podcast, but now you will have a written resource on all these awesome things!

2. Qualified Writers

One of the cool things about our blog is that not only will you continue to hear from the regular voices of SocialMedia.Church, but you will also hear from leaders just like you from all across the world on various topics.

Did you catch that? I said JUST LIKE YOU?

We are looking for qualified and talented writers who would like to contribute to the blog. If you love to write and you connect with the SocialMedia.Church we would love to hear from you. You can contact us HERE if you are interested in being a contributor to the Blog. We would love to connect with you!

3. Community

If you are a listener to our Podcast then you know we love hearing from our listeners! We want nothing more than for our Blog to be one more way that we as Church leaders from around the world can connect, collaborate and encourage each other in our mission. So don’t just listen to the podcast and read the blog. Let us hear YOUR thoughts and questions in the comments and on all of our Social Channels. This is a journey and we are on it together!

So get ready to engage with SocialMedia.Church in a brand new way!

The SocialMedia.Church Blog is LIVE!!!