How Are You Using Social Media to Tell a Bigger Story?

Communication today is real-time, all the time. Thanks to the continuing innovations in technology and the rapid rate of adaption, events that occur around the world – or across the street – are now capable of being seen by millions of individuals. And it’s not just the “viewing” that is important – it’s what effect those views have on the individual watching them.

The social media platforms that exist today, as well as those which are being developed and will be the next big thing, can have a far-reaching impact on the ministries of your church.

Are you taking advantage of them? Or, do you feel like they take advantage of you? Is social media creating communication traction? Or is it becoming a constant distraction?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Trending Up, edited by Mark Forrester

Every church has a story that can change the course of people’s lives but how do you share that story beyond your four walls?

Throughout these pages, you’ll find simple strategies for creating powerful content that can connect your church to the people who need the life-changing story of Christ. Leading church communications specialists break down complex social media themes, providing accessible, practical answers to questions that all churches face, such as:

  • What should I be posting based on my goals?
  • How do I use social media as a tool to foster community?
  • How do I get the people I’m trying to reach with social media?

With this book, your church will be ready to reach one of the biggest missions fields today: the billions of active users on social media. Topics include:

  • Why Social Media?
  • Content Strategy
  • Story: Your Church’s Story & God’s Story
  • Connecting with Your Church
  • Reaching Your Community

The book includes recommended books, websites, blogs, and other tools to help you develop your social media presence.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The power of story to captivate people and move them to action has been used by leaders for thousands of years. From the earliest oral traditions passed from generation to generation to cat memes that have a lifespan only as long as it takes to view them, stories can be a powerful communication tool.

The platform of social media can take the power of story and communicate it instantly to hundreds or thousands of people. With it, you can connect with people at work, at home, in the car, at the store – literally almost anywhere.

However, that same platform can turn off hundreds or thousands of people if it is not used in a way that aligns with the rest of your church’s story.

Your social media strategy should fit into everything your church communicates, which means it must fit into a bigger story.

The best way to bring social media into a bigger story is to use it to help tell the three bigger stories already happening around you: your church’s bigger story, your community’s bigger story, and God’s bigger story. Identifying each one is the first step in understanding how social media can complement – and not compete with – everything you do.

Connect to Your Church’s Bigger Story

There’s a good chance your church has boiled down its work into one simple mission statement. Everything you do as an organization – from program and marketing to human resources – should fit into this concise statement. That includes social media.

Every picture and video, post, and reply is aimed at furthering your mission,

Connect to Your Community’s Bigger Story

If you look long and hard at the community you live in, there’s a good chance you’ll see groups of people gathered around certain ideas. Your community is crawling with bigger stories.

Knowing your city’s DNA can help you use your social media efforts to tell your community’s bigger story. Find one or two of those stories and engage your social media efforts to tell it.

Connect to God’s Bigger Story

If your church incorporates Christian doctrine into everything you do, why shouldn’t you include social media? If we meet, pray, and serve because the Bible tells us to, may Scripture offers direction can be guided as well.

It might seem a bit trite, but the more you can connect your social media strategy to the words God has given us through Scripture, the better. Simply put, obeying God’s bigger story can help your social media to tell a bigger story.

Mark Forrester, Editor, Trending Up

A NEXT STEP

Make a chart tablet sheet for each of the three “bigger stories” listed above. Draw a vertical line down the middle of each chart tablet under the title.

In a team meeting, ask your team to review each of the three chart tablets and list social media actions that you are currently doing for that topic. Complete each of the three chart tablets in a similar manner.

Next, evaluate the lists. Are these actions effective? How do you know? How are you measuring effectiveness? Is there something you could be doing, but are not, to make the action more effective? If so, assign responsibility for someone on the team to ensure that is done.

Next, ask your team to review each of the three chart tablets and list social media actions that you should be doing for that topic. Complete each of the three chart tablets in a similar manner.

On another chart tablet, pull out the actions you should be doing, and group them under similar headings. For example, all actions under “Instagram” will be written under that heading. After you have grouped the actions by category, discuss as a team which are the most important for you to accomplish first.

Pull out the top three items, and assign responsibility, a timeline, and checkpoints for each. At a future meeting, discuss the status of each.

After the top three have been accomplished, measure their effectiveness, and review with the team how they need to be revised, left as is, or scrapped.

Follow the same process with all items on the list, three at a time, until all have been implemented.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 78-1, issued October 2017.


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

> >Purchase SUMS Remix here<<

 

 

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See Social Media Through the Lens of “One Another”

How can you avoid the potential distraction of social media and use it to really advance your mission?

As a leader, you can only influence those whom you can reach (Rick Warren). The social media platforms in use today – and the ones that will be developed tomorrow – allow you to extend your reach and listen to the people God is calling you to serve and disciple.

The danger is that a beginning trickle of social media communication can become a flood of unfiltered information that will wash you away unless you channel it into a useful tool for the irrigation and growth of your message. What are some of the solutions to do keep all of your social media focused? That’s what this SUMS Remix is all about.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Rewired, by Brandon Cox

There’s no going back. Our world is changing at an unprecedented rate. We are connected with people all over the planet with technology that didn’t even exist ten years ago. The world around us is having a conversation about life, meaning, culture, and eternity, and we have an amazing opportunity not just to join the conversation but also to lead it.

Brandon Cox demonstrates the real, connecting power in online social networks, showing you how to connect and tell God’s story relationally and creatively in our social, digital age. He encourages leaders to dedicate their lives to telling the Good News using every means possible, and to be the relational bridge that brings someone into a right relationship with Jesus – even if it does mean jumping on the social media train.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

God approaches us, seeks us, and searches for us. He offered His Son so that we might be reconciled to Him. In turn, God expects us to reconcile others. From one relationship to another, God wants us to reach others.

Social media isn’t an escape from the real world. It is the real world, whether we are ready for it or not.

God is the great designer who has masterminded a plan to put people in relationships with each other. “Viral” isn’t a concept the inventors of YouTube conjured up—God has always determined to utilize the viral nature of human relationships.

God knew we would struggle with this relational thing, even inside the church, so He gave some rather helpful suggestions and guidelines that we often call the “one anothers” of the New Testament.

These may or may not be familiar to you, but try to hear them with the ear of one who is engaging the culture via social media:

  • “Be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:50, NIV).
  • “Love one another” (John 13:34, NIV).
  • “Be devoted to one another. . . . Honor one another” (Rom. 12:10, NIV).
  • “Live in harmony with one another” (v. 16, NIV).
  • “Accept one another” (Rom. 15:7, NIV).
  • “Agree with one another” (1 Cor. 1:10, NIV).
  • “Serve one another” (Gal. 5:13, NIV).
  • “[Forgive] each other” (Eph. 4:32, NIV).
  • “Submit to one another” (Eph. 5:21, NIV).
  • “Encourage each other” (1 Thess. 5:11, NIV).
  • “Spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24, NIV).
  • “Pray for each other” (James 5:16, NIV).

This list is only partial, but it’s a good starting checklist as we answer the question, Am I being relational? Part of the redemption story is the beautiful benefit of our being able to relate to one another within the body in a new way.

Brandon Cox, Rewired

A NEXT STEP

It’s never been more important to produce quality social media content that people actually want to interact with. How can you use social media to practice the one-another commands at your church?

  • Are your social media platforms an integral part of your ministry strategy?
  • Do you use social media platforms to tell the stories of God’s work in your people’s lives?
  • Do you connect with staff and volunteer teams through the use of social media?
  • Do you lead your teams to connect with others through social media?
  • What social media content are you producing that people most want to share with others?

Using social media is just the latest extension of the New Testament’s one-another ministry. When you as a leader understand and practice social media as a one another ministry, you are well on the way to living out the presence of Christ within your congregation– and it becomes very obvious to those who are connecting to others.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 5-1, issued January 2015


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

Growing Connections Through Technology

I’m writing this post sitting in an airport, waiting on my flight. I drove to the airport from my client’s location, navigating via my smart phone. Along the way, I was updated by the airline with a flight time change. Arriving at the airport, I checked in with a boarding pass on my phone. Waiting for the flight, I checked email, websites, and participated in a conference call – all on my mobile phone.

Mobile technology has changed the world, and that includes ChurchWorld.

courtesy mobilecommercedaily.com

courtesy mobilecommercedaily.com

In Leading the Starbucks Way, organizational consultant Joseph Michelli uses two years of research with dozens of leaders in the Starbucks organization to develop five actionable principles that forge emotional connections that drive innovation, grow new business product lines, and foster employee and customer loyalty. These principles are “brief and clear, and put the customers, products, and experiences at the purposeful center of Starbucks.”

Leadership Principle #4: Mobilize the Connection

This principle looks at how Starbucks strengthens the relationships formed in Starbucks stores and extends them into the home, office, and supermarket experiences of customers. It also examines how Starbucks leaders leverage technology to integrate a multichannel relationship with their customer base.

Great leaders continually seek to leverage the options that are emerging through technology and to position their businesses on social platforms more effectively and strategically.     – Joseph Michelli, Leading the Starbucks Way

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How would you assess your success in forging a digital connection of trust and relevance?
  2. Do you have a multi-pronged and integrated strategy concerning digital and mobile solutions?

Two key elements in the Starbucks social media strategy are authenticity and interesting content. Starbucks is committed to making friends, not offers. They feel that Twitter and Facebook are about connecting – there are more appropriate settings for selling and closing.

ChurchWorld Application

  1. How strategic are your decisions concerning the social media platforms through which your brand will engage?
  2. Have you dedicated resources to commit time to thinking about the platform that fits your organization and guest and member interfaces?

Technology will serve our mission, and we will deploy our strategies to engage our partners and customers wherever they spend their time. We will seek to stay relevant to them and uplift them through human connection.     – Alex Wheeler, vice president, Starbucks Global Digital Marketing

SBFacebookpage

A few of the highlights of this principle:

  • Twitter and Facebook approaches should focus on consistent but not overwhelming levels of communication, delivered for the purpose of connecting.
  • No matter the size of the organization, its leaders should designate someone to be in charge of social media strategy.
  • Technology is powerful when you view it as a way to enhance the human connection rather than seeing it as inevitably leading to impersonalization.
  • Technology should not be provided for “users,” but instead should be seen as a tool for serving and connecting with your “people” and your “Guests.”

 

Part 7 of a series in the 2013 GsD Fall Term

Leading the Starbucks Way: Information, Insights, and Analysis Needed to Create a High-Performance Guest-Oriented Organization

inspired by and adapted from Leading The Starbucks Way, by Joseph Michelli

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Social Media and the Divinity School Student

100 years ago when I was in graduate school at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…

Okay, it wasn’t 100 years ago, only 31. The pace of change just makes it seem like 100 years.

Anyway, my version of Facebook was a hardcopy directory of all students, printed the first few weeks of each school year (we called it the Funny Book, for obvious reasons). Mail (including tests and papers) was hand-delivered in post office boxes. Research was done in a physical place (library) using objects (books) resulting in papers (typed on a typewriter). GASP!

Today, it’s a little different.

My daughter is beginning her final year of the M Div program at Campbell University Divinity School. She also works part-time as Communications Coordinator for the North Carolina WMU. She is also beginning her second year as a Resident Chaplain for a couple of freshmen girl’s dorms. She loves her life!

Because of my past history at a divinity school and serving on a church staff, and now in a consulting role to church leaders, we often have interesting conversations.

Like the one that followed this question: “How are students at the Div School and in your circle of influence using social media?” Here is her reply:

The divinity school uses it to post pictures of what’s going on during the week at school, serious stuff and fun stuff too, like birthdays’ of professors and when the staff and students are goofing off, or there is a social event, like today, there is a div school tailgating thing after class before the football game. They use Facebook and twitter. Admissions has their own Facebook page along with the Div school itself. They also use it when they go to conferences to announce they are there and if other Campbell people are there, they use it to find them at those conferences and places and such. They post lots of pictures.

Personally, each of the dorms I work with have a Facebook group page so I am a part of that to keep up with events and announcements (keep up with issues in the dorm that the residence life staff have to address) and what official events and unofficial events are going on to go to and get to know the residents. The residents that I am friends with, I keep an eye on their statuses and stuff and if I notice something is wrong and there seems to be a hint of something not right, I make sure to check on them and see how they are doing. Sometimes, Facebook statuses are more informational than just talking with them casually in the hallways and stuff on campus!

One of my dorms LOVES Twitter. The RAs, RD, and residents tweet ALL the time and have conversations with each other. That’s another way I keep up with what’s going on and stay connected. In fact, this dorm is having a program event this semester that is a twitter scavenger hunt. They will have a list of stuff to find and instead of just taking pictures and showing everybody, they will tweet the pics with a hashtag. Whoever finishes with the most items on the list wins, and if there is a tie, then the earliest timestamp on tweet wins! I thought this was an interesting way to use social media to have a dorm event

Ironically, each dorm program has to fit into a certain category and this one is a physical event, because it’s making them get out and walk around campus even though they are using technology and  the Internet to show it!

Just a snapshot of how social media is used in my life! 🙂

Absolutely fascinating.

Okay ChurchWorld leaders, are you paying attention?

 

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Speed Reading Week, Day 1

Here’s the deal: a book a day, with a few nuggets pulled out for your consideration. Ready?

The End of Business as Usual, Brian Solis

Some of today’s biggest trends – the mobile web, social media, gamification, real-time – have forced us to rewire the way we think about and run our organizations. Consumers are creating a new digital culture, and as they connect with one another, a vast and efficient information network is taking shape and is beginning to steer experiences, decisions, and markets.

The End of Business as Usual will change the way you view the world of business, from sales and marketing to customer service and product development to leadership and culture. Its critical insights include:

  • Shared experiences are redefining brands in digital consumer landscapes, and astute brands can now also create and steer these experiences
  • Consumer influence is growing, and businesses can use this to their advantage
  • Connect with a rising audience (and with audiences of audiences) through new touch points between consumers, brands, and new influencers
  • Create a culture to earn trust, influence, and significance among connected customers

Solis has written a powerful book, deep with implications. Here’s a couple of samples:

The nextwork sends and receives information at blinding speeds, creating an efficient human switchboard and network that in theory and in practice, outperforms telephone, terrestrial, cell, emergency, and web networks for the speed and precision at which relevant experiences are shared and re-shared. News no longer breaks – it tweets. (pp 54-55)

An Audience with an Audience of Audiences

This picture serves as both a time capsule immortalizing this important transition and evidence of the emergence of new information nextworks, a series of audiences with extended audiences. Every single one of these students is a representation of the connected customer. They are each connected to others in the room and around the world, figuratively and literally. They are nodes in the human network, playing an instrumental role in the dissemination of information and also the experiences that unite us online and in real life. Your job is to now influence what they share. (p 61)

Questions for ChurchWorld

  • How has the explosion of social media impacted your ministry – personally or corporately?
  • How are your “consumers” influencing your organization differently today than 3 years ago?
  • How are you harnessing the power and influence of social media technologies to connect with your audience?
  • Is the rate of change greater today than it was a year ago? How comfortable are you with that?
  • On a sliding scale, do you view your organization as rigid, social, connected, adaptive, or predictive?

This is your time to lead, not follow; your time to make a difference.