What I am about to say will not surprise you.
As good church communities, leaders and clergy, we all know those who listen to their members and community have an advantage over those who do not. Yes and none of us are surprised if we learn of a church community that closed its doors forever because it failed to listen and engage their members and community, right?
Indeed! We’d be surprised they lasted as long as they did and feel ourselves fortunate because we maintain a different position toward our members and communities. We know it is important to listen, connect and engage.
But…are we listening, connecting and engaging our members and community where they are or only where we are?
Did you know in 2011 social media became ‘social business’? Yes, 5 years ago social media broke through all demographic barriers and now 79-84% of all age demographics (15+) actively participate in social media.
Social media has moved from being hip to necessary for organizations to actively engage and participate with their members and communities. Not only that, but it has become increasingly important for organizations that offer a service over a product and imperative for those that are ‘social in nature’ over those who are not…..
Church communities are social engagement communities.
Having a social media strategy (and listening plan) and actively engaging members online is no longer a nicety but necessary to maintain and deepen relationships with members and communities. This reality didn’t just happen overnight but has emerged over time.Here is a quick and dirty timeline of the happenings in social media you may or may not be aware of:
Interesting facts about this timeline
- 2009 changed the understanding of who controls the brand.
Your brand is “your promise of who and what you are” to the marketplace. Your logo is only the beginning…Previously we’ve assumed we control our brand but today, consumers have the power to make or break your brand. If a member or community decides an organization is bad, social media can quickly kill its brand. This can happen whether the organization uses social media or not. If an organization does not use social media today, it is saying who it is for and who it is not for. Who are we for?
- 2010 began the budget shift.
Organizations began serious investment in social media, dedicating energy to it. From Listening Command Centers to tracking, measuring and reporting social media’s impact on their customers’ experience today’s organizations are taking seriously what is happening on social such that, by 2011, it is business. Since 2010 consumers have been taught and are teaching what good social is.
What does this mean for my church?
Now is the time to assess your online strategy and presence: 1) What social media channels are you on? 2) Are they linked and integrated? 3) Does your church have a website? Is it up-to-date, meeting the market’s expectations?
Each of these areas will be covered in more detail in future posts. Keep a look out for more and of course reach out, let’s connect, pick my brain. If I don’t have the answers I will help you find them.
Yours In Christ, Hope
*NFC is Near Field Communication where devices can automatically connect and share content with each other. Although capability of this has been in place since 2012 it is really set to take off because payment schemes and open source technologies are ushering in more convenience and on-demand, instant sharing and fulfillment. People are now using their handheld devices, sales of smartphones has surpassed the sale of desktops. Everything is becoming mobile. Are we ready?