Category Archives: social media marketing

2014 Church and Social Media Year In Review, Part 1

Best of 2014

Can you believe that 2014 is almost over? Yes, we just have a few more days until the start of a brand New Year! 2014 has flown by like a jet plane. However, it has truly been an exciting and eventful year in Church and Social Media.

FAITH BASED MEDIA 2.0 continues to tell the fascinating story of how today’s churches are using the latest technology and social media to share the Gospel. Here are some of the top #churchsocialmedia stories shared online via social media over the past twelve (12) months.

4 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Count – Relevant

10 Apps to Grab for Your New Smartphone or Tablet – Spiritual Living, Christian Faith/ crosswalk.com

10 Best Religious Personal Finance Blogs – Shared via @ChristianPF

10 Social Media Tools That Make Everything Easier – Chris C. Ducker

11 Imaginative Ways to Use Social Media for Your Church – Steve Fogg

20 Great Ways to Use Instagram at Your Church – TheCreativePastor.com

20 Tips to Tap Into Your Divine ‘Instinct’ for Business Success: T. D. Jakes – blackenterprise.com

21 Of the Best Social Media Articles This Year – SocialMediaToday

31 Days of Thanks – Our Daily Bread

49 Church Blogging Tips – Dave Hakes/ Internet Toolbox for Churches

55 of the Best Church Website Designs – Vandelay Design

100 Years of Glorious History From the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference – Huffington Post Religion

Stay tuned for ‘2014 Church and Social Media Year In Review, Part 2’ where we’ll share more of the top #churchsocialmedia events and stories of 2014!

What were your top #churchsocialmedia stories of 2014?

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

Be Blessed

Kenneth Lillard

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Facebook and Today’s Church

Facebook

Is your church on Facebook?

Chances are many of your church members already are on Facebook – posting updates, commenting on messages, ‘liking’ posts, and otherwise engaging with others online. You may well be reading this post on Facebook right now. And while many may feel Facebook is a complete and total waste of time, there are actually many very good reasons for you to be on Facebook, as evidenced by the many churches and ministries that are already there.

There are over 1 Billion, with a B, people on Facebook today! It is the world’s most popular social networking platform. Facebook is where the people are. Digital technology has empowered everyday people to connect and interact online, and they are doing so at a rapidly increasing rate.  Facebook has emerged as the most popular social network on the planet, and it’s still growing.  Having a presence on FB is a great way for your church to connect with the very people you’re trying to reach.

Being on Facebook is a great way to introduce people to your church. In fact, Facebook, for many, has replaced the Yellow Pages as the go-to source for seeking out churches to visit in new communities.

For pastors, a personal Facebook page provides a great opportunity to be an ‘online shepherd’, and to stay connected with your congregation  beyond the Sunday service. By establishing a Facebook Church Page you can conduct vital outreach beyond the four walls of your church and immediate community. It enables you to share your church’s message with many people who otherwise may never hear of you. From your Church’s FB page you can also direct others to your church’s website, where they can access more specific information about your ministry’s vision and mission.

While many may complain about the negative things some people post on Facebook, by being online, you can serve as an example of a positive role model of good online behavior and character.  Finally, your intentional presence online can help to fulfill the Great Commission, Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples while still physically here.

My recent book, SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY Sharing the Gospel in the Digital Age, points out ‘100 Ways to Use Facebook to Help Grow a Ministry’ (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes). In addition, here are some links to more information on how Facebook might benefit your church:

Btw, to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest developments in ‘church social media’ be sure to check out SOCIAL MEDIA and MINISTRY NEWS for daily updates.

How is your church positively using your Facebook to share Christ’s gospel?

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

Be Blessed,

Kenneth Lillard

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Instagram and Ministry – Telling the Story

New Life Church Celebration Weekend (above) on Webstagram

In the African American preaching tradition, “telling the story” is highly prized. Storytelling is very powerful. It captures the imagination and connects with people on a deep emotional level like no other approach can. Instagram provides a new and exciting way to connect with others online and tell the story of Jesus, and of your congregation in action, in a fresh and innovative fashion. It’s, virtually, a new way to visually share the Word!

A photograph can tell a story in ways words often cannot express. After all, “a picture is worth a thousand word.” People naturally connect with stories, and sometimes those stories are most eloquently told in pictures.

Because of digital social media and the ubiquity of web 2.0 technologies, the church is becoming increasingly more interactive. Many congregation members are already on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Twitter. And more often than not, they are connecting via smartphones, iPad’s, and other mobile devices.

Rapidly rising visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest are part of a new trend influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. They are moving toward greater visual social sharing. Why? Social engagement appears to increase when pictures are shared. In our fast paced digital age, pictures (with minimal hashtags and/or captions) can communicate lots of information quickly and succintly.

So, what is Instagram anyway? It is a free photo-sharing service, and social networking site launched in 2010. In 2011  Apple named Instagram, “App of the Year”!  In a nutshell, Instagram allows users to take photos, apply filters to them, and then share them with other Instagram users, as well as on other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. It currently has over 100 million users.

Something surprising happened in August 2012. The average number of daily active Instagram users hit 7.3 million, topping Twitter’s 6.9 million. Pictures beat words! In addition, the average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing the photo-sharing site by mobile device in August, as compared to the average Twitter user who spent 170 minutes on that site during the same time period. Instagram has taken storytelling to mobile devices in a really big way!

So, how can the church tap into this remarkable social media phenomenon known as Instagram to help tell its story? The following are just a few examples:

  • “Instagram” church services by posting pictures on FB, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • Post pictures of baptisms, gospel concerts, and conferences. Behind the scenes glimpses at conferences and other special events are always interesting.
  • Use Instagram to creatively market your church.
  • Post pictures of small group activities.
  • Post pictures of volunteers engaged in community service  and other outreach projects.
  • Post pictures of mission trips.

For greater impact, help boost your Instagram pictures with these tips:

  • Try to get the best, most compelling original photos you possibly can.
  • Make sure you photo captures the essence of the story you’re telling.
  • Pull multiple images together in a collage using apps like Frametastic and PicFrame.
  • Deft use of hashtags and captions in picture descriptions can create compelling themes and tags to reinforce the story’s message.
  • Use apps like Hipstamatic, Camera+ and iPhoto to add additional pop to your pictures.
  • Finally, it’s the quality of your photos that matter most, not the quantity!

For more on Instagram and it’s many applications to ministry checkout  the following links:

How are you using Instagram to tell the story?

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

Be Blessed

Kenneth Lillard

 

 

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Social Media Team – Connecting Church and Community

What do the following jobs all have in common: content strategist, cloud architect, and app development manager? They are all new positions which didn’t exist before the advent of the digital age! The tech revolution  has ushered in a plethora of previously unimaginable job titles to reflect the new job functions demanded by the new information era.

Along with other institutions, the church has also been significantly impacted by the social media revolution. Even though the church’s message of hope and redemption through Jesus Christ has not changed, the many ways it communicates that message in the 21st century are changing, both rapidly and dramatically!

One major impact the church has experienced is in the creation of new job functions and titles. This has been necessitated by the recognition that increasing numbers of people, including church members, are engaging on FB, twitter, Google + , Pinterest and other social media platforms and networks. Effectively engaging and interacting with these individuals requires the creation of a dedicated approach, e.g., employing social media teams, to creatively connect the church with this burgeoning online community. Indeed, the congregation is emerging as a new and savvy online community with unique needs, expectations, and requirements!

In the contemporary church, many of these social media teams are led by a Social Media Manager aka Director of Social Media, Social Media Coordinator, Social Media Pastor, or Church Community Manager, among other new titles. Sometimes the roles and responsibilities of the church’s Social Media Manager are folded into the traditional  positions of Director of Church Communications, Communications Minister, or Marketing and Communications Director.

Whatever the title, the essential functions of the position are: 1) effectively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; 2) tell the story of the church’s congregation in a creative, compelling, and engaging way, and 3) connect the church deeply with the community by strategically deploying appropriate social media platforms, tools, and strategies in collaboration with other church ministries. And only a high performing social media team led by a passionate manager/ minister can acheive these lofty goals!

Today’s Social Media Manager supervises the church’s social media teams to accomplish a cohesive, branded message for all aspects of church communications. However, rather than this being like your traditional Church Communications Director, it is more like Church Communications Director 2.0, revised and upgraded for the digital age! The new Social Media Manager will be comfortable with branding strategies, crafting an effective s0cial media strategy, interacting in a multi-media environment, and creating compelling messages and story lines. Excellent listening and customer relations management skills are mandatory, as are a mastery of social media tools and platforms required to keep the congregation and community engaged and excited about the ministry’s vision. However, the most important requirement is to have a heart for the church and the people, and a passion for communicating the Gospel clearly and effectively!

The following are links to more information on the function of an effective social media manager and creative social media teams:  

What exciting things are the social media team at your church doing?

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

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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Social Media Influence and Ministry

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 

How much social media influence does your ministry have? Influence is defined as the ability to reach others and inspire them to action.  Influencers form strong connections with like-minded individuals on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The best influencers fortify these connections by 1) adding value to their online friends and followers, and 2) engaging in meaningful interactions. And remember, as followers of Christ, our interactions should, first and foremost, be “wholesome”!

How can you increase your online influence in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? To expand your ministry influence begin by 1) understanding where you are now – what degree of influence do you currently have? 2) Define the audience you are trying to reach. 3) Develop a sound strategy to increase your influence by establishing a clear purpose, and investing in relationships to provide quality and value to those in your network(s). IRM (Influence Relationship Management) involves ongoing online engagement and community building. You’ve got to be willing to put in the time and effort to creatively manage your online influence!

The following are some useful IRM tools and tips to help you understand and expand your influence: 

Klout – Wikipedia

You Know Your Klout Score, What’s Your Kred Score?– Mashable

PeerIndex – Own Your Influence 

TRAACKR – Find the Influencers Who Matter the Most to You

PROskore – Your Professional Reputation

The Rise of Digital Influence and How To Measure It – Brian Solis

The Day That Influence Became the New Online Currency – Oscar Del Santos

10 Tools for Measuring Your Social Media Influence – Pam Dyer

Kred – Measurable Influence – Slideshare

How are you using your online influence? Thought about ways to expand it?

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

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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Faith And Social Media 2012 – The Year Ahead!

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Welcome to 2012! It’s slated to be an exciting, eventful year – what with the Summer Olympics in London, and presidential elections in France and the United States, just to mention a few! And it’s also expected to be an exciting year for social media and faith, as well!

As you begin the journey into the new year, it’s critically important to know where you’re going, and to have a good roadmap or GPS to help get you there.  Advanced planning is vital for social media success in 2012! 

Do you have your new Facebook Timeline profile ready or activated? What is your social media strategy for this year? How does it differ from last year’s? Do you have  LinkedIn or Google+ strategies for your ministry or church? Have you established daily, weekly, and monthly social media schedules? What are your S. M.A. R. T. social media goals for the year ahead? 

Right out the gate, here are some of the major trends to look for in 2012: 1) An increased usage of mobile devices, especially smart phones and tablet computers (like the iPad 2) – Make sure your website is mobile friendly! ;  2) Social networking will remain huge – Can you believe Facebook will surpass one billion (with a “b”) registered users this year?; 3) Expect to see increased usage of short videos; 4) Social media will continue to play a major role in social and political mobilizations and movements; 5) Trust, transparency, and respect will become even more important;  and 6) Look for an increased adoption of social media by non-profits, churches and other faith based organizations. 

As you engage your social networks in 2012 remember to listen to and learn from them. They have a lot to teach you! Harvest insights and share them.  Use smart metrics to measure your social media effectiveness (ROI). Always seek to be helpful and to add value to the individuals in your networks. Your vision is your compass. And remember, your focus should always be on Jesus! The challenge is adapting digital technology and social media to share the Gospel more creatively and effectively, both locally and globally!  And finally, don’t neglect in person fellowship!

The following are examples, suggestions, tips, and tools that, hopefully, you’ll find helpful on the social media and faith journey ahead:

What are your social media goals for the next twelve months? 

We’re wishing you success, prosperity, and all the very best in 2012!

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

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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Book Bonus: On Writing SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY, 2

The book, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY Sharing The Gospel In The Digital Age, grew out of the ideas, posts, and insights harvested on this blog, Faith Based Media 2.0.  The book is like songs collected into an album with additional compositions added to tie all the songs together!

When I began the book project, little did I realize it would end up on iTunes and in the pages of the New York Times! LOL! The LORD knows exactly how to work everything out in such a way that it just blows your mind!

There are things we are specifically called to do. And when we are given these special assignments, we immediately know, beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt that “no” is not an option! So it was with writing SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY. This  special assignment came unambiguously, crystal clear!

But then, those Moses moments arrive: “LORD, who am I, that I should write? And since I can’t write like Shakespeare,  or even James Patterson, what will I say? And who will listen?”

Now, you know the LORD has already told you He would be with you; that He would provide you with the words and the readers. So, stop already, with the excuses! “Do it. Just write!” 

You realize, ultimately, that it’s not about you, anyway! It’s all about Him! The work is to His glory! Obedience is better than sacrifice.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY was designed as a short format work to mirror the short format form of most social media communications. Brief. Concise. And to the point! All extraneous material was excised.  

After much work, sweat, and prayer, miraculously, the book was completed! Praise Our God!  

And after you finish your special assignment, you exhale, thank the LORD, and then move on to your next assignment!

What special assignment(s) are you working on?

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINISTRY is available at Amazon.com, and also on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks, and on your computer with iTunes!

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

Stay Blessed!

Kenneth Lillard

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