Church Marketing: Social Media MotivesPosted by Chad on March 10th, 2011
I had the awesome privilege to make a social media presentation to the leadership of my church, C3 Church, last Saturday. My concept for the whole presentation revolved around three underlying motives for successful social media strategy:
Every strategy, every effort you make on the social web should be rooted in these motives. The cool part is that these all work together and fit in with each other. You can’t really have one with out the other two. I came up with this one morning after not having enough coffee. I’m still tweaking my ideas, but I wanted to throw it out there to get feed back.
Engagement is essentially what churches are called to do in their communities. Why not engage people online, where they are? Engaging your audience is about building an active community of followers. Engagement is not about just getting followers but engendering a spirit of community with cohesion and cooperation. I like how Brian Solis put it in a post about his book Engaged: “you must engage them in meaningful and advantageous conversations, empowering them as true stakeholders in your marketiing and service efforts.”
Put simply, you have to make your community feel like a part of something greater. For a church like C3, this is extremely important especially when we don’t have a permanent space and no official groups that meet outside of Sunday morning services. Taking efforts to engage online gives members a chance to be a part of the community outside of the building we meet in.
In the past, marketing experts taught us to brand everything. If you are acting as your company, church, whatever, make sure they know who you represent. Constantly put yourself in front of their eyes and eventually you’ll be a constant presence in the back of their mind. When they need whatever it is you have, then they will think of you first.
There are a few new issues of awareness and visibility that have risen out of the social web that weren’t present in previous marketing strategies.
Transparency, the big bad wolf that everyone is demanding but no one wants to give. Transparency is one of the best and worst parts about the social web. Everyone expects transparency, and it pretty much comes automatically, whether you like it or not. Eventually your crap will hit the fan. What I like about transparency in the church is that it’s freeing and welcoming. Everyone is screwed up in their own way. Why hide it to look more holy? Let’s get together and try to work this life out as a community.
Another new victory brought about by the social web is the proliferation of social good campaigns. Churches have been doing this stuff for years before activists on the web got a hold of it. It’s time the church take it back. Do good, get others involved, online and in person. The more good you do, the more people will connect your brand with positive thoughts.
Traffic can refer to many different things. Most e-commerce sites must focus any social media effort totally on driving traffic to their website. There are different goals for brick-and-mortar stores and churches. The problem with social media is that it’s great at driving internet traffic to your website but it’s not necessarily good at driving foot traffic through your doors.
Getting people to where you are is hugely important for churches. What good is an online community that never comes together for a church service? Businesses can easily offer incentives to get you to come, but I doubt any church is going to give you 10% off your tithe if you come next Sunday.
Most companies nowadays will give you something for free if it means you will buy. Why can’t the church give out a little free encouragement or love if it means they will buy into the vision God has for them. Whether it is seeking people out in your social networks or friending everyone you live near so that you can make an impact. Promote your service projects on your facebook page. Create events that people can join. Even if they don’t make it to your church, at least they came away from the experience better than they were before.
Like I said, I’m kind of throwing this out there. I could go on and on but I had to put this down like it is so I could see it and chew on it. I want you to tell me where you think I’m wrong. How can I take this, improve it, and offer it for every church to use it to grow better communities? Please comment and let me know.