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Here are my 8 Tips for the Social Church.  I hope that you find them helpful.

1.  Have a Voice
Even if there is a team of people putting out your social media content, you need to have a unified voice or else it will seem that your church does not know what it wants to be.  In your next social media strategy meeting, and yes, you should be having those, discuss your voice if you have not done so already.

2. Be Authentic
People can tell when you are putting on a show.  You have to be real with your followers.  One way to do this is by sharing things you and your church are passionate about.

3. Be Intentional
You need to have a plan or a strategy or else you are not going anywhere.  You need to have realistic, attainable, measurable goals for yourselves in order to see where you have been and to better focus on where you want to be going.

4. Use Visuals
We are visual people.  Photos catch our attention more than words.  And oftentimes photos communicate and touch us more than words ever could.  We respond to photos.  Photos evoke emotion, which leads to number 5.

5. Be Emotional
In the book Contagious, Jonah Berger says, “When you care, you share.”  Make your followers feel something and they will be more likely to share that post than one that did not make them feel anything.

6. Find your Magic Number
Many churches are trying to find their magic number for how many times they should be posting each week or even each day.  You do not want to post too often because then you will oversaturate your social media and people will start to tune you out.  On the other hand you cannot post too little because your followers will forget about you.  The number of times you should be posting is magic because it will differ for every church and every audience.  You need to practice and see how your audience responds.  Find what is best for you.

7. Engage
Answer questions.  Comment on and share other people’s posts.  Respond to comments.  Build a strong community and create a relationship.  Relationships are power for any company, but for churches in particular.

8. Do Not Delete
If someone says something negative about you, respond to it and try to fix it.  Never just delete it.  People want to be a part of the conversation.  They want to be heard.  If you delete a negative post without addressing it, you have lost an opportunity to reach out to that person and fix the problem.  If you make a mistake in social media, do not delete it.  Apologize, correct it and make it right.  And remember, if you delete, it’s never really gone.  Someone will find it, and covering something up usually makes it worse.

 

What would you add to this list of tips?

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I recently read this scenario out a book called, “Fusion”.  It’s all about getting visitors and keeping them.  This is the best case scenario for a visitor coming to the church.

“Jon and his family drive into the parking lot of the church and are immediately impressed by what they see.  The building though not large or even new, is obviously well cared for, right down to the lawn.  Everyone is entering through the main front door, where a nice-looking couple about Jon and Liz’s age is speaking warmly to each person and handing him or her some kind of program.  (You might call it a bulletin, but since Jon and Liz are unchurched, they are more likely to think of it as a program.)  Once through the front door themselves, where they are welcomed with a smile and a “Glad you are here,” Liz immediately spots two signs telling her exactly what she needs to know: One points the way to the restroom that her four-year-old urgently needs, and the other points toward the child-care area.  After stop number one, Jon, Liz and the kids check the child-care sign again and start in the direction it’s pointing.  A volunteer spots them and offers to lead them directly to the right place for each of their children.  When the kids have been dropped off, Jon notices the smell of coffee and donuts wafting towards him.  He turns to discover a table piled with Krispy Kreme boxes, fruit and coffee.  He and Liz exchange pleasantly surprised glances, and then each grab a donut and a cup of coffee and start timidly toward one of the aisles.  Immediately, another volunteer pops up and directs them to two open seats. “

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every visitor could have an experience like this?  I would even be impressed if 1 out of 50 visitors had this kind of perfect experience.  Do we have this goal in mind?  I cannot help but think of the growth in churches if every interaction with visitors went like this.

Have you ever had a perfect visiting experience like this?

Have you ever helped a visitor have an experience like this?

While I was reading this I answered those two questions myself, and I began to wonder if my experiences as a guest truly shape how I interact with guests.  Do my experiences affect how I treat a new visitor at my church?  On Sunday mornings do I remember what it was like to be a visitor?

I am afraid that I do not.  I am afraid that on Sunday mornings I get busy and in a church groove which prevents me from noticing visitors and thinking about how they feel.

This scenario should be the goal, but it will not happen without intentional actions of the congregation to make sure that it does.