This blog post is a response to Jim Waltons excellent set of questions on social media for churches. I didn’t feel I could do it justice in his comments area, so here is the full list of his six questions and my answers.
How is your church using social media?
Currently at Generation Church on the Gold Coast we are using Facebook pages quite heavily. At one stage were were doing very little with social media and realised a few months back that people in the church were taking it on their own back to start social media pages and profiles for the church! So rather than shut them down we sent out an email blast to our key team and volunteers asking them to add our events staff as admins of their pages. Most of the reason we did this was to bring some conformity to social media pages, such as a consistent brand and logos. We also wanted to make sure that the titles of the pages were all correct, for example we wanted to change “Geno North” to a more acceptable “Generation Church Gold Coast – Northern Campus”.
This was especially true for Place Pages which became the cornerstone of our pages on Facebook. We found that people would unwittingly create pages for campuses, so we wanted to bring it all together and make it all consistent with our brand.
Are you doing anything that you see no one else doing but it’s effective?
I’m not sure if there is anything we are doing thats going to set the world of Church IT on fire, but we are in the process of getting our heads around how to do Multi-Campus social media and websites effectively, and although we currently are faced with a number of technical challenges such as duplicate content issues (how many different versions of the About Us section can you have across all your campus sites?), we have managed to create an excellent WordPress Multi-Site build and Events Plugin that is working well.
The next step is to feed our events automatically to the appropriate FaceBook Place Page. I think the way we could do this is by feeding an RSS feed of our events custom post type through Hootsuite and onto the specific Place Page. Definitely doable, the trick would be to publish events 3-5 days before the event, not when the event was actually published on the site (this could be months in advance) – there maybe some code (using a wordpress hook) we could run in our plugin to do this.
Let me know how you are using Facebook, Twitter and other social sites.
Currently social media is used to let people know when events are happening and how to signup.
We are about to launch a new website to help fund our Global Missions initiatives called How Beautiful Is, it’s a site by our Senior Pastor Vanessa Hoyes for women that sells women’s accessories and shoes! We will use social media and search engine marketing to promote the cause (and products) of how beautiful is to a wider audience.
How is your church using QR codes?
At this stage we aren’t, but with the rise of Android and hopefully better QR integration with iOS in the next version I would envisage using them around the towns we are located. I suspect they would mainly be used for youth as part of their social media campaigns.
I would imagine a grid of services (QR codes) listed on the front doors of our new Soul Centres. Using simple well worded call-to-actions, this would enable people in the community to easily navigate to all our community service initiatives across all our campuses.
The wonderful thing about QR codes is how trackable they are, using the goo.gl link shortening service I would know when someone visited a landing page for the initiative and at what time. This would enable us to measure the effectiveness of these physical urls. I’m hoping that we could also track this as a goal (or campaign) in Google Analytics when someone opts in to a campaign such as a Life Course or any community service we offer.
What other ideas have you had but your church is not doing yet?
I think we really need to start an online internet campus. Whats stopped us from doing this? I’m not entirely sure, but we really need more resources to do it with excellence.
Generation Church uses Facebook to send out messages, but is there more that we can do?
I think it would be great to see all our Pastors micro/blogging on a regular basis. I don’t see the weekend platform as the only means of communicating the cause of Christ anymore, I see newmedia as just another thing you do as a Pastor on a weekly basis.
This thought could be the basis for a whole new blog post, but I will leave you with one last thought; the Apostle Paul was a prodigious blogger who sent tailored messages to churches where they were read out loud and passed around the church to those that could read and write (no doubt passed around through many hands, a good example of 1:1 social media) and then re-tweeted (copied by hand) so that other communities could benefit from his writings.
Blogging is just as effective today as it was in a 1st century Macedonian jail. The only difference is that we have the means to communicate with a much wider audience and much more quickly. The imperative is on us to use technology and social media to continue the work that the Apostles started with just as much vigor and passion as they did.
Leave a Comment: Does anyone else have any thoughts on how Social Media can be used in churches? If so, post them on Jims cutting edge social media for churches blog post, or post a few thoughts in my comments section below.