Strategy & Marketing

Is There Anything Pastors and Ministry Leaders Should be Concerned about using Social Media?

When I did my Q&A video on my Facebook page last Friday one of the questions people asked was if I had any areas of concern about pastors or ministry leaders using social media.  It’s worth exploring with a little more depth.  I’m a big fan of using the tools of social media in your overall communications strategy.  But if there are any concerns the top three would be:

1.  Are you in control of your ‘brand’? 
Social media really is “social” so forums, blogs, Facebook groups or even Twitter hash-tags can be used to complain about an organization.  So get in there and take control of your brand.  One of the best ways is to make sure the people in your organization are telling the same story online so you have a unified communication stream.

2.  Listen.  Take the time to engage those who tweet/comment or post on your Facebook wall.  Remember, it’s “social” media, not a one way broadcast where you post a message or tweet and just watch people comment.  You’re simply not doing “social media” unless it’s a two way conversation.

3.  Have a plan.
  Brian Boyd said that a CEO friend told him his social media “ROI” wasn’t working, even though he told his sales people to “start tweeting”.  You need a plan.  Just like an architect uses plans before hitting that first nail, you need a plan before executing a social media strategy.

At Cooke Media Group, we’re committed to social media, as a vital part of your overall media strategy.  If you’re thinking of jumping into the stream, we’d love to help you learn what it’s all about and how to create a successful plan.

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  1. Hey Phil,

    This is SO TRUE. 

    A friend shared a really cool definition of social media last week – “a conversation within a community that is RELEVANT, INTERESTING and HELPFUL.”  What I find frustrating in churches and non-profits is a complete lack of preparation for interactivity – when they talk we have to talk back.  It takes about 20 minutes to sign on to FB, Twitter or LinkedIn – it takes so much more time to develop strategy …

    Concerning strategy – it’s all about driving traffic.  Facebook is one of the best methods of generating brand interest and investment – we just have to know how to use it …


  2. I agree with all this, but I would also add to 1. It’s great and completely necessary to have your organization on the same page, BUT your people need to also know how to take the message of your organization and put it into their own words. 100 people running around the net simply repeating a catch phrase to describe the organization, sermon series, ministry or whatever is just as off putting as those who deny the need to use social networks altogether.

    Be on the same page, make sure your organization knows your missions and goals and how to tailor that message for various audiences. Contrary to belief, not everyone on the net or using social networks is the same… 😉

  3. That’s exactly what I meant, but didn’t express it well.  Absolutely, everyone needs to be telling the common story from their own perspective, position, and personal experience.  But just make sure it’s a unified story that doesn’t conflict or distract from the central purpose and brand of the organization.  Well said Chandra.

  4. Phil,

    Let me add this.  While it’s important for everyone to tell a unified story on the web or anywhere else – we have to adapt the story to CONVERSATION.  Cynthia Ware made a great point on a recent webinar when she talked about being locked in the monologue broadcast mode which plagues Christian culture.  Our messages are not currently constructed with the expectation of response in the dynamics of interactivity – that’s what has to change.

    The key she said is engagement, “an investment in user generated content.”  Jesus was good at asking engaging questions – “Who do men say that I am?” – “Who’s face is on this coin?”  Only by doing the same can we hope to reach a culture that has moved past the form of our content – not necessarily the message within it.

    One last point from a friend.  “Apple computer is successful because their total focus is the experience of the end user.”  Words to live by.

    Good discussion – good points from Chandra.  Appreciate your work brother!

  5. Phil-


    We have started using social media more aggressively with various staff members being fairly aggressive on twitter and posting blogs.  For me as an individual and a key leader in our church, it has also helped me realize what I am passionate about within my job and just life in general.  It gives me an outlet to publicly release ideas, strategies and toughts, and even though at the moment I dont have a bunch of followers or subscribers to my blog it fills me with energy and passion.  That alone can reenergize an organiztion if most of their employees are showing up excited each day.

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