Social Media for Churches

Every type of business is different and requires a specific approach to social media. Churches are no exception. A church functions similar to a business, even though the end result is not monetary profit. Here are some helpful tips in strategizing a church social media plan from a recent presentation done for a church in St. Augustine, FL.

Like in any business, crosslinking social media accounts is important! Church websites, group pages, youth Twitter feeds, the pastor’s Twitter feed, etc all need to be linked together for maximum impact.

FACEBOOK

Analytics are key to knowing how and when to reach your customers!

Posts pictures and “interesting” status updates! Find this data under Page -> Insights -> Posts -> “Best Post Types”

Tagging people, places, and pages in your pictures helps make the image go ‘viral’ (do this by hitting @ and start typing the person/business name)

The more names you tag, the more “VIEWS” you will get

Find out when is best to post based on YOUR fans! Find this under
Page Insights -> Posts -> “When our Fans Are Online”

Use Facebook as your “business” page to comment and like other business fan pages (gains friends & increases engagement) Go to Edit Page -> Use Facebook As…

You should be posting DAILY on Facebook. Check out “When Our Fans Are Online” to decide when is the best time during the day to post. Pictures typically get higher views, try to incorporate a picture with a link when possible. Facebook has its own scheduling tool built in, if you want to schedule posts directly from Facebook

Post Videos!!!! 2014 is the ‘Year of Video’ and with Facebook’s auto play feature it makes videos highly viewed among other posts

TWITTER

From the main Twitter account list/link all other accounts in the top profile display. Makes it easier for viewers to find what they’re looking for!

Should be posting 1-3 times daily (during high traffic times)

BEST TIMES: 11-3pm with prime time being 1-3 on Monday and Thursday

AVOID:  After 3pm, especially on Friday afternoons

“Follow” others. Search for your city and follow those that are specifically relevant to the church i.e. members, businesses, volunteer programs, non-profits, etc.

If you like something retweet it, reply to it, or favorite it! This gets you noticed and can cause others to “follow” you

USE #HASHTAGS! Posts with 2 hashtags are statistically proven to be viewed more than posts without a hashtag. Follow the trending hashtags and try to make a comment or share something regarding that topic (as long as it is relevant to the church)

Post 1-3 times daily. Post pictures! Tag specific people in your twitter posts. Use #hashtags (2 is best)

Use the 4-1-1 ratio rule: 4 posts of useful content for the viewer (i.e. relevant blogs, bible verses, pictures, etc)
1 retweet (either from the pastor, the main page, a church member, etc)
1 self serving tweet (meaning a direct advertisement for church service, etc)

Customize your background and top header

PLANNING POSTS

Create and utilize a “Content Calendar” that provides specific post themes/ideas for each day

This will help if multiple people are tasked with posting

Include post ideas for both Facebook and Twitter

List everything! Events, sermons, holidays, community events, volunteer opportunities, everything!

CONTENT IDEAS

Share sermons from your website.

Blog/article posts from inspirational artists, pastors, etc.

Create and use EVENTS! Concerts, special worship sessions, movie night, kids events, etc. Events are designed to share easily!

Weekly bible verse that is related to the week’s sermon

Colorful, graphic, make your own or share someone else’s (Examples)

Promote different groups (one each week)

Holidays! Add a Christian view in celebration of various holidays (i.e. President’s Day and share a picture or article of a president with strong faith)

BEST PRACTICES

Subscribe to newsletters that are industry relevant (fellow pastors, sister churches, associations, etc), sign up for Sway or Google Alerts

The more information you can have delivered straight to your inbox will make it easier for you to use for social media content

Pull content from member testimonials, events happening within the church, holidays, etc.

Crosslink your social media sites (i.e. share ‘Pins’ on Facebook, or Pictures posted on Facebook on your Twitter)

If you haven’t already, develop a social media policy for the church to clarify what is appropriate to post and how/who should be posting

This site is very helpful! Internet Toolbox for Churches”

See the full presentation here.

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Posted in Social Media

4 Tips to Use Twitter Wisely

Twitter can be a useful tool for promoting your small business, but can also present challenges along the way. Follow these five simple tips to ensure you’re tweeting like a pro.

1. Be Nice
A Twitter account that is directly tied to your business name is NOT the place to talk politics or rag on your competition. Save yourself the trouble of a publicized scandal and maintain a positive image with the words you post on the web.

2. Change Your Password Often
No one likes receiving spam messages, especially from a ‘professional’ business account. Change your password often to keep hackers locked out of your account. Use numbers and special symbols to make a stronger password and stay away from words that are directly associated with the account (i.e. your name or your company name).

3. Your Twitter page should reflect your brand
Take advantage of the opportunity to BRAND your Twitter page. Add your logo to the profile picture. Create a customize background (see this tutorial to learn how). Most importantly, set your account up with your business in mind. Select a handle that is relevant to your brand and business.

4. Download the Mobile App
Tweeting during the work day isn’t enough, especially if you’re audience is engaged on the platform during ‘work’ hours. Download the app to your phone and connect to your business account from anywhere so you can share information and reach your audience, even when you’re away from the desk. You may also need to look into a tool like HootSuite in order to schedule your posts in advanced.

See more tips in this great article from Entrepreneur.com.

Posted in Twitter

Metrics Worth Tracking

Social media can be overwhelming. So many different sites, tons of analytic data and an ever-changing industry make for a stressful combination. When using social media for a small business, it is tough to know what metrics are worth your time. Here’s a simplified list from Rand Fishkin’s “10 Big Social Media Challenges”.

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Most of these figures can be pulled from existing analytic tools already built in. Taking these measures monthly helps you gauge the improvement over a course of time. Check out these five spreadsheets to help start tracking your results.

Posted in Facebook, Google+, Social Media, Twitter

Tips & Tricks: Pinterest

A picture is worth 1,000 words, and with 25+ billion pins to explore on Pinterest, we can guarantee this FREE tool can be used to effectively market your small business. Pinterest enables you to communicate your message visually and connect your social media sites back to your website.

If you’re new to Pinterest, first and foremost, go set up your Pinterest account. Make sure you set up a “business” account so that you can access valuable analytic tools. Sign up, edit your profile appropriately, add a profile image, and get to know the basics of the site. Start a minimum of three categorized Pinterest boards and make sure you add at least 10 pins to each board.

Once you have done this, check out the infographic below titled “The 10 Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business,” from Socially Sorted. Follow these simple rules for a successful start to your Pinterest experience.

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Posted in Pinterest, Social Media

Obsessed with Infographics

Infographics have taken the digital world by storm, dominating every form of social media. Personally, I love infographics. They are visually appealing, easy to read and often very intriguing. In the form of a picture, infographics can be easily shared across multiple sites. In addition, there are a TON of them in available online and new ones are creating every day!

In case you’ve been under a rock the last few years, simply put, an infographic is a picture that displays data and statistics in an easy to read format. Infographics exist for every type of industry and are great content pieces to share on your social sites, especially for small business owners. See the example of an infographic below:

Want to find some infographics that are relevant to your specific field? Try typing “[your industry here] infographic” in a google image search and you will have countless results to choose from. Insurance, banking, retail, education, politics, restaurants and the list goes on…

This great website provides a new infographic every day: http://dailyinfographic.com/

Inspired to make your own? If you have the know-how, use Adobe Illustrator to create your own. Check out this tutorial to learn more.

Not familiar with Illustrator? You can also use PowerPoint as a beginner’s trick to create original infographics fast. Learn how by reading this blog.

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Posted in Social Media

Google Alerts & How They Help

Google alerts are the best kept secret when it comes to curating and posting content the is up-to-date and newsworthy. Using Google alerts is completely free and easy to set-up.

Go to http://www.google.com/alerts. Enter the keyword you want to keep tabs on in the Search query section. For marketing purposes, selecting a keyword or phrase that is relevant to your industry or brand.

Choose the type of result you want (i.e. news, images, blogs, videos, etc)

Choose how often you want to be emailed the results, as-it-happens, once-a-day or once-a-week. Create your alert and voila, you now have instant access to relevant content emailed directly to your inbox. Use this information as inspiration for social media posts. Share relevant articles with your followers without having to waste time searching the web.

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Posted in Social Media

Tips & Tricks: Facebook

According to a recent study, nearly three-quarters of small business owners said they were employing social media platforms in 2014 with more than half saying they currently have a Facebook page for their business. Read more here>>

With over 1 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the largest platform for small business owners and is a FREE tool to build your online brand and connect with customers. Most business owners realize that it is important to have a social presence, but with small budgets and limited resources, they often don’t know how to best utilize this to their advantage.

Here are a few tips and tricks to make your Facebook experience more effective in terms of marketing your business.

First and foremost, analytics are key to knowing how and when to reach your customers. Facebook has a lot of essential analytic tools built-in to a standard business fan page. When used correctly, these tools can help you identify your target audience, the type of posts that will benefit the most and when the best time is for maximum reach.

From the Dashboard of your Facebook fan page (see screenshot below), click on “Page Insights” to access the analytic tools.

FacebookAnalyicsMain

BEST POST TYPES

To see how your posts rate and which ones are the most effective, click on Posts >> “Best Post Types”. Use this information to figure out what type of posts work best for your audience. Keep in mind, reach is the number of people who see your post, while engagement tracks the number of clicks, likes, comments and shares. While a large reach is important, engagement can help you develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with your followers, enhancing loyalty over time.

tpes of posts FB

BEST TIME TO POST

You can find accurate, real-time data regarding when your specific fans are online and therefore determine what the best time of the day is to post for your targeted audience.

From the Page Insights page, simply click “When Our Fans Are Online”. This gives you a breakdown of viewers during a 24 hour period. Where the blue graph peaks is the prime time for users to see your posts.

best ime to post FB

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Posted in Facebook