I had the privilege of presenting twice at Orange’s preconference on Wednesday, April 25. Here is a recap of my sessions from someone in attendance, plus links to the slides I used. I would love to hear your feedback if you attended one of my sessions.
Session#1: Prioritize Social Media in Your Ministry
To effectively prioritize social media in your ministry, you need to first anticipate. This means you need to know where people are now and where they are going. Anticipation is a part of connecting the dots from your ministry to your community. Thanks to social media, connecting these dots has never been easier as information is growing more accessible everyday.
After you connect these dots, communicate it to your community so that social media in your ministry is not all about you but rather about sharing content and promoting others. The gospel calls us to go and proclaim the message boldly, and now is an incredible opportunity to do so in a world that is widely connected. We live in a world that wants to connect; people want to make real connections. Can this be accomplished through social media alone? No, but it can be accomplished when we link our online strategy with our offline strategy. It can’t be one or the other; it has to be a collaborative effort. Again, your strategy comes down to connecting the dots.
Session #2: Create a Consistent Brand for Yourself or Your Organization
Is there a way to take the very best branding ideas from today’s Fortune 500 companies and apply them to the church? Of course. Take Dorito’s- a brand we all know and love. One of their most popular YouTube commercials came from someone in the community who decided to go out and film their own ad just because they love Dorito’s. That is what branding is all about. You’ve got to ask yourself if your brand is just about you, or is it about your community? Your church has a brand whether you are being strategic about it or not. What brand are you creating for people to be a part of in your church?
So, how do you start making your brand less about you and more about your community? Listen. Ask people questions and listen to what they are really saying. People respond well when they feel they’ve been heard. Take a look at the brand Converse. Why do they have 29,619,939 likes on Facebook? Because they incorporated music. On first thought, music has nothing to do with shoes, but then that’s the point. They focused less on themselves and more on their community. What was their community excited about? Music. Converse invited local bands to come out and play for free, put music from the bands on Facebook, added some pictures, and their brand awareness grew like crazy. Converse didn’t have to ask people to “like” them on Facebook, but fans chose to “like” them as they felt like they were really a part of the Converse brand.
Just like social media, online and offline efforts must be partnered to create a consistent brand. Technology is not the answer, people are the answer. Technology is just a tool; it’s just a medium. Don’t forget the reason you are “branding” to begin with is to connect with real people. Real people cannot promise formulated results, but the best thing you can do with your brand is stick it out; longevity is a key to build trust and relationships with people.
- Good branding in your church is more than a good feeling.
It’s not only our job to help connect with people on an emotional level, but it is truly our job to help people connect on a spiritual level. Good branding goes past the emotion, and truly brings color to someone’s life in a spiritual way.
- Complexity to simplicity.
Its very easy to make things complex, but you have to work very hard to make things simple.If you had to define your ministry in one word, could you do it?
- Design consistency.
If you don’t stay consistent, you might as well tell your audience that you really don’t know what you’re doing.
- Be relevant.
This does not mean play Lady Gaga in your church because she’s the most followed person on Twitter. Being relevant to your community may mean you teach them to be better parents or how to help out a neighbor.
- Great companies and brands tell stories.
God has given everyone a story. Every great story has a story of redemption; a story of grace. Tell your story, and then tell the greatest story.
- It isn’t about you.
What does this all mean? Grasp what your community wants and needs and you can become a great brand. What problems are you solving for your community? On a practical level? It’s been too long since the church has asked this question.
If you want to make your brand successful, remove YOU from the center and put your focus on what your community’s needs are. They are speaking louder than words. Through their art, their dance, their protests, their crimes.