Stop Treating Social Media As Binary: All or Nothing

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Social media.  Greatest invention ever? Or not?

Just say it to anyone who is responsible for publishing and managing social media for a church and the word “overwhelming” immediately creeps into their mind to differing degrees.

So much to do. So much to monitor. So much to create. So much to schedule. So much to handle.  And that’s just with the channels you’re managing now.

There’s also so much that feeds the FOMO (fear of missing out) machine with whatever the latest trend people chatter about or whenever a new kid on the block pops up (snapchat or peach anyone?).  It is easy to get buried with a sense of crushing weight on your shoulders.

 One of the biggest mistakes I see with organizations I partner with to help make sense of their digital communications efforts is that they assume they need to do it all.  But that’s not true at all.

 Meaning, the big lie is that you have to do it all on social media.

For social media managers, while social media promised to be the world of mouth, it has become the weapon of mass distraction.

For the novice, social media looks a lot alike. No matter the platform, it’s the same stance: people hunched over their phones scrolling and thumb typing away endlessly.

I’m here to tell you: You don’t need to do it all.  You don’t need to be on every platform.  You don’t need to have an account on the list of hundreds of social networking sites that even Wikipedia can’t keep track of.

 THE TRUTH: Each social media platform has a different sweet spot for audience and mode of engagement with the community.

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And as I’ve been using them more, I’ve found that each one is good for different things.  You can’t assume any or all social media platforms with help you achieve what you want in the same way or even at all. Each social media network has it’s own personality.

 So how do you begin to learn the differences between social media platforms?

 Start with one, become familiar with it and you’ll see your capacity to handle more will grow.  Just as social media is about using technology to mediate relationships, you’ll have your own relationship with each social platform too.

 If you are at a total loss for where to start, begin with the biggest one of them all: Facebook.

 Why? Here’s some sobering stats about Facebook for what you’re missing out on:

  • 72% of adults online are active on Facebook. They check at least once a month. And it’s growing. Which means, it’s the most efficient way to reach your people.
  • 65% of Facebook users logon daily. Not many other places even Starbucks can claim this characteristic of being the true watering hole for your community.
  • The average person spends 20 minutes on Facebook daily.  If you had to guess where to meet someone in town on a given day, this is it.
  • Want to reach millenials (15-34)? 91% of them are on Facebook. Why would you avoid showing up where everyone else is already?
  • Average number of friends teens have on FB: 300. Women: 250.  They’re connected.

 After Facebook, you should take up Instagram, or Twitter. You can save LinkedIn, Peach and Snapchat for later.

 So I hope that gives you some permission to stop treating social media in a binary way.  You have more than just two choices: All or Nothing. 

 Choose some with incremental gains.

 What else is contributing to your anxiety around social media for your church? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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 Kenny Jahng is the Church Online Pastor at Liquid Church Online - a multi-site Christian church with multiple locations across New Jersey. He also advises nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations on strategic content marketing initiatives. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter at @KennyJahng. Or check out his blog at www.KennyJahng.com

App or Website? The Question That Haunts Us All

I was in a meeting with an incredible organization recently. They train missionaries all over the world; hundreds and thousands of them.

I was there to discuss a partnership between their training team and TrainedUp, but once they found out that I have a background in mobile app development, the conversation shifted to one big question:

Should we build an app or just a website?

I’ve heard that question dozens of times. It’s a reasonable one. There are hundreds of millions of people with smartphones that can download apps. Apps are generally better at engaging someone on their mobile device than a website.

However, the benefits of an app are only worth the extra expense (apps usually cost many multiples more than a website with similar functionality) if you meet the following criteria.

1. The interaction you need to facilitate is only possible with an app; like, it literally can’t happen with a website. For example, if you need to allow people to take photos and upload them to somewhere, that’s something only an app can do reasonably.

2. You need realtime push notifications. I want to emphasize the realtime aspect of this need. If your notification isn’t time-sensitive, then there’s no reason to make it a push notification instead of an email.

3. Your functionality leads to or requires daily interaction with features, not content. For example, if your idea requires that users login and perform actions on a daily basis, make it an app.

4. Your desired user experience is far better with native interactions rather than web-based interactions. For example, if your idea requires animation or gameplay, build an app.

That’s it. Most churches don’t need an app for the features they want to build. Things that don’t require an app would be online giving, reading a blog, watching a sermon, submitting a prayer request, finding information about the church, or receiving a message from the church leaders.

These are all things that websites do. In fact, free/cheap websites on Squarespace or Weebly can do all these things for you and they generally come with mobile friendly layouts, too. Get a short url and tell people to bookmark your website and signup for email updates from the church. That’ll give you 99% of the functionality your church or organization probably needs to target mobile users…and it’ll save you a ton of money.

Finally, when it comes to on-boarding new users, it’s far easier to get someone to visit a website than it is to get them to download and use an app. Far, far easier.

If you can avoid the app route, please do so. Apps are expensive, hard to update, and hard to get people to adopt. Websites are free/cheap, easy to update, and simple to get people to visit.


Scott Magdalein is the founder of TrainedUp, the learning platform built for ministry. Formerly, He was the Digerati Coxswain at Life.Church where he was responsible for leading the team behind YouVersion, Church Online, Church Metrics, Open, Church Online Platform. He writes on Medium about leadership, discipleship, and technology. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottMagdalein

 

SocialMedia.Church Blog is LIVE

We are so excited to announce the launch of the SocialMedia.Church Blog today!

Our Podcast here at SocialMedia.Church is continuing to grow and thrive. This is all thanks to our faithful followers who listen to us on a regular basis.

As you know, our heart is to equip Church leaders around the world to reach their world through technology and social media. It is from that heart that we decided it was time to launch the Social Media Church Blog.

3 Cool things you will find on The Social Media Church Blog

1. Awesome Content

Our blog will contain the very best content on all things Social Media, Church Leadership, Technology and everything in between. You will find the same types of tips and tricks, how to’s and humor as you listen to on the podcast, but now you will have a written resource on all these awesome things!

2. Qualified Writers

One of the cool things about our blog is that not only will you continue to hear from the regular voices of SocialMedia.Church, but you will also hear from leaders just like you from all across the world on various topics.

Did you catch that? I said JUST LIKE YOU?

We are looking for qualified and talented writers who would like to contribute to the blog. If you love to write and you connect with the SocialMedia.Church we would love to hear from you. You can contact us HERE if you are interested in being a contributor to the Blog. We would love to connect with you!

3. Community

If you are a listener to our Podcast then you know we love hearing from our listeners! We want nothing more than for our Blog to be one more way that we as Church leaders from around the world can connect, collaborate and encourage each other in our mission. So don’t just listen to the podcast and read the blog. Let us hear YOUR thoughts and questions in the comments and on all of our Social Channels. This is a journey and we are on it together!

So get ready to engage with SocialMedia.Church in a brand new way!

The SocialMedia.Church Blog is LIVE!!!