Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Steps to Help Churches Plug Into Social Media

The challenge is plugging in the right people in the right place.
By Rachelle Ward
At the church I go to, the auditorium doubles for both worship services and a meeting space for meals and special programs. So when we have a dinner after services the congregation jumps in and starts moving chairs, rolling out tables and putting out place settings. The 200 seat auditorium becomes a hall set up for food service in less than a half an hour because, many hands make light work and everyone knows their job.

As the minister you may have wanted to start communicating in a better way to your community and you realize that social media may be the answer. You have lots of ideas buzzing around your head, but there is just no time to get it all done. How is this conundrum any different than setting up tables and chairs? The same philosophy applies. Many hands make light work.

The key is to plug in the right people in the right way to your plan for reaching outside of your walls. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Have a Plan - No communication effort needs to take place before you have a plan in place. Run some general thoughts by other leaders at the church and peers and get their input. Think about which social media outlets you wish to participate in, then put goals and objectives in writing. An example of an objective could be complete a Facebook page by a certain date. A goal could be an actual number of "Likes" by a certain date. Use other churches in similar sized communities for help with numbers. In your plan write down the purpose for each social media venue you wish to engage in. Some could be informative for the congregation others may be specifically outreach. 
  • Plug People In - Throw a way all of your preconceived notions. In our church over 10% of all of our likes come from women over 65 years of age that's ten times the Facebook average. They don't set up tables for fellowship dinners but they post to Facebook like crazy. Try to find someone from each demographic in your church if possible. Keep your team limited to core members. Fringe attenders could raise problems by not accurately depicting your church to the community. 
  • Provide Guidelines - No rules or laws please. This has to be a fluid experience for the participants with general rails to guide the team. Suggested guidelines could include frequency of posts, who is allowed to be an administrator, the process of posting official church information, who can help with proof reading or technical questions or how to handle negative comments.    
  • Let Go and Support - This could be the most difficult step for some ministers, but this will not work if you have to see everything before it is posted. Trust the team that is in place. As minister your job is to provide some content, monitor, general guidance and "Likes" and "retweets". You should also be the biggest cheerleader, reminding people on Sunday and at every opportunity to help the social media team.    
  • Check Goals Quarterly - Have a meeting to celebrate and brain storm. Ask your group why you hit one goal but missed another? Maybe you need to drop one effort to promote another better. Goal revision is often needed and out of the box thinking is a must. 
With the right plan and execution you can increase your relevancy in your community. This will also equip the congregation with one more tool that they can use to let their friends know about God. 

If you have any questions or need help getting social media started in your church please contact Speiro Communications at We are here to help! You can also find out about our ministry at

Friday, January 9, 2015

Marketing - The Church's 4 Letter Word

Watch what you say!
Christianity has its own specific language that you don't find in many places. Terms like justification, grace and sanctification all have their specific meanings that only the "elect" know. But more than that, the church often shuns terms amd some concepts that the world understands and takes for granted. These terms become "four letter" words to the church as there is a negative connotation associated with them.

One of those terms is "marketing". Yes, I know it has more than four letters, but it is still forbidden in some circles of Christendom. I guess that it is understandable. For years it was marketing that drove millions to smoke, drink and engage in all forms of sinful behavior. But, when you look at the definition of the term you come away with a different perspective.

Marketing, according to the American Marketing Association is simply the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

With that definition in mind it should broaden our view of the purpose and how the church has and continues to market, whether we like the term or not.

Consider the Gospels. Four books that all tell the same story. But, if it is the same story, why are they so different. From the perspective of a seasoned marketing professional it is as plain as the nose on my face (get ready to be mad). The answer is marketing. Matthew was written to a Jewish target demographic, Mark to Roman readers, Luke to the Greek market and John to the broadest audience.

This is not saying that each version of the Gospels cannot speak to everyone!!! They do!!! What it does mean is that the intended audience was able to get more out of the specific book because it was "communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings" better suited to their perspective.

For instance in Matthew there are around 50 quotes from the Old Testament. Also, there are 75 indirect or passing references to things that happened in the Old Testament and Jesus is called the "son of David" nine times. That kind of writing would have reached the Jewish readers more effectively.

Mark on the other hand only refers to the Old Testament nineteen times. He also goes into detail about the Jewish custom of washing hands in Chapter 7 because his intended audience would not necessarily understand. Terms are also translated out of the Greek into Roman when talking about money or distance. 

These are just a few examples of how many books of the Bible are written for specific audiences in specific times to communicate specific ideas. Pure genius to the professional marketer. Even more astounding is that the Bible continues to speak depending on circumstance, need or background. We have all seen this in our lives countless times. The Bible speaks to us and cuts us to the heart as we read a certain passage and other words seem to just pass us by. But, then our lives change and the Bible speaks to us differently than it did before. There is no new revelation, the Bible did not change, but we did and the verses become new to us in a different way. 

Back to the point of marketing and the church. I know that it can sometimes be distasteful to admit that we need to market, but are we not to "be wise in the way you act towards outsiders." (Colossians 4:5)? Also, we must realize we are marketing right now anyway. When the un-churched see your logo what does it say about you to that lost soul? If your location can't be found with a simple search on a smart phone how can you reach them? It only strengths the local church when we fortify personal evangelism with good consistent marketing.

At Speiro Communications we feel that it is time to take marketing back and start using it to reach others by speaking to them in a way that they understand and will respond to.

To find out more contact us at or visit our website at