Monthly Archives: June 2010

Online Outposts

Online outposts are key to a successful social media strategy. Outposts (also known as satellites or embassies) are places on the web where you maintain a presence beyond your home base, i.e., your own website, blog, or online community.

Some of the most notable outposts are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Ning, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Posterous, Tumblr, FriendFeed, online forums, and even the comment sections of other blogs.

Outposts are great places to grow your ministry’s online presence, and build trust, credibility, and relationships. They can generate ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, and community. Outposts are ideal locations to engage and interact with persons who might not know of, or visit your home base. 

At outposts you can add content, test ideas, and set up listening posts (e.g., using Twitter Search) to harvest insights. You can use these insights to inform ministry decisions and actions, as well as, share with your home base. Just as your home base feeds your outposts, outposts can also feed your home base!

Maintaining a presence at online outposts can drive traffic back to your home base. It can also build the influence of your ministry online. Activity at outposts can even take on a life of its own where community can emerge outside of your home base.

Outposts are different things to different people. From a ministry perspective, they can be seen as missionary fields on which to engage in Kingdom building!

(Many thanks to Chris Brogan at ChrisBrogan.com, Darren Rowse at Problogger.net, and Cody McKibben at Socialmediamarketing.com for some of the ideas used in this post.)

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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Building An Online Home Base

A successful social media strategy should include at least two elements: 1) an online home base, and 2) outposts elsewhere on the web.

The home base is your online home. It is your own website, blog, or hosted online community. Your home base is the central focus of your online presence. For example, Faith Based Media 2.0 is my home base.

Outposts (also called satellites or embassies) are other places on the web where you maintain a presence. My outposts include Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and LinkedIn. Outposts allow you to grow your online presence by  building relationships, adding content,  listening, testing  ideas, and just trying to be helpful to others. BTW, outposts can also drive traffic back to your home base!

Your home base is the place from which you establish online credibility. It enables you to directly engage your target audience, to listen to them, and to describe the benefits of  your ministry or organization. Your home base gives you a personal voice online. It feeds your outposts. Your home base allows you to direct conversations around your ministry, and influences how others perceive and interact with it.

It is a good idea to establish goals for your home base. For example, your goal may be to share information and resources, tighten internal communications, keep your community updated, or gain insight into the community’s needs and desires through their comments and feedback. Your home base’s goals will determine its structure and direction.

Examples of effective home bases include Northland Church, T.D. Jakes, 10 Thousand Doors, and The Purpose Driven Connection.

Building an effective home base, definitely, requires planning, commitment, and a message worth sharing. And Lord knows we have the greatest message in the world: the Good News of Jesus Christ!

What are your ideas for building an effective, online home base?

(Many thanks to Chris Brogan at ChrisBrogan.com, and Darren Rowse at Problogger.net for some of the ideas used in this post.)

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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Social Media and Christian Community

In “Using the Machine”, blogger Calvin Park* relates a story that reveals some of the amazing possibilities that social media and Web 2.0 technologies can provide a local church community.

One Sunday, the pastor of a local church preached a sermon from the book of James about helping widows and orphans. Near the end of the sermon, the pastor recommended an excellent book on the subject.

The next day, John, a congregant, discussed the sermon with his wife but couldn’t remember the title of the recommended book. So, he logged on to  LibraryThing, where the church had a group, and located the book. John read several reviews and posted them to his Delicious account where other members could read them.

John then visited the church’s website and downloaded a checklist of things his daughter needed for the youth ministry’s annual summer camp. He left a comment on the page recommending the camp to other parents.

A few days later, the church’s youth ministry volunteered at a local orphanage. Some of the volunteers took pictures as they talked and played with the orphans, who really enjoyed the attention!

Some youth volunteers uploaded pictures to their Flickr account and tagged them “orphanage trip” and “fun times”.  Word spread quickly through MySpace, blogs, and other social media platforms about the trip. Other church members were able to read about the trip and see the photos.

The next day a church elder uploaded a video to YouTube commending the volunteers on bringing the pastor’s sermon to life by putting it into practice at the orphanage. The elder confessed he, himself, needed to do more to assist widows and orphans. The youth ministry invited him to accompany them on their next trip.

The pastor realized that his sermon of the previous Sunday hadn’t just lasted for two hours. The church community had stayed connected, active, and engaged the entire week! Digital social media can, indeed, be a powerful tool in helping to build Christian community!

How is your church using social media to build community?

*”Using the Machine”, Calvin Park, Voices of the Virtual World

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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Nailing A Successful Social Media Strategy

Just as any successful team needs an effective strategy to win, any ministry which wishes to successfully employ social media needs an effective strategy! Here are some basic strategic ideas for getting started. 

  • Establish a Vision – What is your purpose for using social media? Winning souls? Increasing church membership? Sharing information? Tightening group communications? The idea is to birth your strategy through the vision you have created.
  • Identify Your Audience – Who is your target audience? Youth? The Unchurched? Current church members?
  • Integrate – How does social media support other components of your ministry’s Internet strategy?  It should harmonize with the objectives of your website and other outbound communications efforts (e.g., email marketing, CRM, and SEO).
  • Culture Change –  How do you get your organization to own the social media strategy? How well does your ministry tolerate change?
  • Capacity – Who will implement the strategy? How much time each week can you allocate to implementation?
  • Tactics and Tools — What will be your home base? Will it be a website or blog? Dialog: This is about creating a conversation, i.e., engaging your audience. Maybe Advocacy is your goal: spreading information about your ministry via your social media platforms. Select the platforms that will work best for your vision, strategy, and  go where your target audience is.  I suggest you include, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a Blog (e.g. WordPress). And don’t forget to listen and learn from other online outposts. Harvest insights!
  • Measure Your Effectiveness – What hard data points or metrics will you use to track your effectiveness (# of event attendees, new members, or blog subscribers?)
  • Experiment – Pilot low-risk experiments to learn what works and what doesn’t!

Wishing you the very best in implementing your ministry’s social media strategy!

(Many thanks to Beth Kanter, blogger, Gary Hayes, Laurel Papworth, and Forrester – the POST Method for great ideas included in this post.)

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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Reaching Millennials Through Social Media

According to Dr. Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, a shocking trend is emerging among the Millennial Generation in America, those born 1980-2000. Estimates are that a mere 15% identify themselves as Christian! That translates to only 10 million out of a massive population of 80 million.

Only 13 percent of the Millennial Generation rank spiritual matters as important to them. They are not necessarily angry at the church. Millennials are just indifferent, as they view the church as basically irrelevant, and not meaningful to their day-to-day lives.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100510/five-major-trends-for-churches-in-america/index.html

In today’s Digital Age, the communications media of choice of the Millennial Generation is, without doubt, social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al). As we seek to carry out the Great Commission with which Jesus has charged us (Matthew 28:19-20), social media provides  a fantastic tool to reach the Millennial Generation, and help to reverse this trend!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things through Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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Honoring Dad on Father’s Day

Sunday, June 20th is Father’s Day! It is a day set aside to honor fathers, and to celebrate paternal bonds. While I remember giving my Dad Old Spice cologne as a kid, T-Mobile is offering free cell phones on  this Father’s Day. Man, how times have changed!

My Dad, Horace R. Lillard, Jr. (June 19, 1925 – April 5, 2008) was a remarkable man.  He was from Beckley, WV. While in the U. S. Navy, Dad served in the Pacific Theatre during WW II. He retired from the Navy, and worked for years at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA. In addition, Dad was a professional musician (alto and tenor saxophonist), descended from a line of musicians. Most importantly, he was Dad, the husband of his wife, Rev. Dr. Rosetta C. Lillard, and the father of four sons, Ronnie, Kenny, Calvin, and Carlton.

What I remember best about my Dad was his love for people, and how much people loved him back. Dad possessed that rare gift of friendship, and never knew a stranger. Now, that’s a gift that we all can use! Jesus taught “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19). I thank the Lord that my Dad eventually was saved. He always made people feel welcomed, comfortable and valued.  I honor my Dad’s memory for his fatherly love, and for teaching me the invaluable life lessons of friendship, and service to others!

Father’s Day is a reminder that we all have a Father in Heaven, who loves and cares for us more than we even know.  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless

Kenneth Lillard

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What’s New – The iPhone 4

On Monday, June 7, 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPhone 4 at Apple’s Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. http://www.apple.com/

 The iPhone 4’s most remarkable feature is “Face Time” which allows video calling between iPhone 4 users! It’s new, sleek design makes the iPhone 4 the thinnest smart phone ever. Like its newest competitor, HTC’s Evo 4G, and other smart mobile phones, the iPhone 4 is a great ministry tool because it:

  • allows connectivity to the Internet
  • enables instantaneous mobile communications
  • allows access to many church apps, and to personal productivity tools
  • places the Bible (in multiple translations and languages) right at your fingertips (see http://www.YouVersion.com)
  • enables access to and sharing of text, photos, blogs, videos, podcasts, sermons, music, etc.
  • allows tighter communications with small groups, colleagues, and family
  • supports connecting on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

See Wired’s Priya Ganapati’s iPhone 4 review in “Showdown: iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo 4G” http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/06/iphone-4-vs-htc-evo-4g/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Definitely, the iPhone 4 is an incredible Faith Based Media 2.0 tool for sharing the Gospel!

Until next time, remember, you can do all things thru Christ Jesus!

God Bless,

Kenneth Lillard

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