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    Best Practices! - Entries tagged "Social Media"

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    MonMondayJulJuly8th2013 The Digital Pastor
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    You can always count on the Barna Group to release interesting studies/statistics on churches and christianity in general. If you're interested in stats, they are the people to follow. Recently, Barna Group posted an article called "The Rise of the @Pastor." It's full of interesting statistics and has a great infographic. Some highlights and the infographic are below. Be sure to check out the complete article if you have time.
    • More than one in five American pastors (21%) say their churches use Twitter, up from only 14% in 2011.
    • Facebook usage in churches has likewise jumped from just over half (57%) to a full seven in 10.
    • Pastors themselves are also engaged in online communication, with nearly one-quarter (23%) who use Twitter, well over six in 10 (66%) who are on Facebook, and over one in five (22%) who have a personal blog.
    • While both Twitter and Facebook gained church-based users in the last 24 months, Twitter’s growth has been more impressive: Facebook increased penetration among pastors 12% in the last year, while Twitter jumped by 77%.
    • In 2013, 70% of churches report they use Facebook, compared with 57% in 2011.
    • About two-thirds of pastors (66%) say they use Facebook in their role as a pastor.
    • In 2011, only about half of pastors (51%) said social media would be a major part of their church’s ministry. That means there has been a 27% increase in the percentage of pastors who believe social media tools are important to leverage for the sake of ministry.
    The lesson learned is that social media, love it or hate it, is here to stay. Usage and the perception of it's importance is increasing. Social media is a vital part of ministry and should be taken seriously no matter church size or budget.



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    MonMondayNovNovember19th2012 3 Reasons Churches Should Utilize Buffer
    byDavid Pohlmeier Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    For the past several months iMinistries has been using Buffer to schedule all of our tweets to Twitter and posts to Facebook.

    It has helped increase our following and improved our abilities to effectively engage iMinistries with our audience. Buffer provides real-time statistics of your tweets and posts. It shows who has shared, liked, favorited, re-tweeted, etc.

    Here are a 3 ways that Buffer can be utilized to help your church or ministry with it's social media presence.

    1. Know what's working - With it's ability to show you statistics of engagement, you'll be able to start posting content based on your experience. Trial and error at the beginning can lead to much higher engagement after you know what's been working.

    2. Get on a schedule - It helps you, the content creator, to know that you've set expectations for yourself. Setting a schedule and sticking with it is easier than posting randomly.

    3. It makes posting downright easy - There are browser plugins. Find an article you want to share, click the Buffer icon, modify the text as you wish and hit schedule. That's it. (Quick tip: if you highlight text on the page, then hit the Buffer icon, it will use that text as your post message making it even easier.) Add multiple social accounts and work with multiple team members. All with one Buffer account.


    Does Buffer interest you? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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    MonMondayOctOctober1st2012 Night and Weekend Facebook Posts Get More Interaction [STUDY]
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    A new study by Buddy Media reveals some surprising data on how companies and organizations can better engage their Facebook audience. In many cases, the study shows that Facebook page administrators are falling short of best practices to get user likes, comments, and shares. Read the findings below and see if your church or ministry Facebook page is maximizing its engagement potential.


    POST AT NIGHT AND ON WEEKENDS


    The study found that posts made between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. received 14% more interaction than those posted during the workday and early evening (7 a.m.-8 p.m.). And, for non-profit organizations, post interaction is also 14% higher on Saturdays and Sundays than on weekdays

    Considering only 18% of posts are currently updated during prime hours, and weekends are the least utilized posting days, these times are wide open for you to create engaging content.


    POST ONLY ONCE OR TWICE PER DAY, LESS THAN 7 TIMES PER WEEK


    Organizations who limited posting to one or two per day saw 19% higher interaction. Also, pages that posted more than seven times per week saw their interaction rates drop 25% versus those who held their statuses in check.


    LIMIT YOUR POSTS TO 80 CHARACTERS OR LESS


    "Brevity is the soul of wit," said Shakespeare ... and your Facebook fans. Posts with fewer than 80 characters see a 23% higher rate of interaction. Unfortunately, the study found that 75% of current posts breach this limit.


    POST PHOTOS AND TEXT, NOT VIDEOS AND LINKS


    • Posts with photos had a 39% higher than average interaction rate
    • Text-only posts gained 12% higher than average interaction
    • Posts with videos and links fell below average

    WANT LIKES OR COMMENTS? ASK FOR THEM.


    Overwhelmingly, this study finds that including clear calls to action in your posts drives more interaction. But it matters which words and phrases you use (see chart). Make sure you know what you want users to do with each post, then tailor your call to action accordingly.

    Posts with questions gain 92% more comments, and putting your question at the end of you post see twice as many comments than ones at the beginning. If you're willing to try something different, fill in the blank posts ("My favorite color is ______.") see an astonishing four times as many comments than those that do not! 


    HOW ARE YOU DOING?


    Do these new findings make you change the way you think about Facebook posts? Have you been using best practices? Do you plan to make any strategic changes? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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    MonMondayJunJune18th2012 Create Your Own Church Social Media Infographics With Visual.ly
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    More information is available now then ever before. Because more information means decreased attention spans, infographics are becoming the go-to format for presenting information in a way that people can process it quickly.

    The new online application Visual.ly allows you to plug in your Facebook or Twitter account and create your own infographics in a few easy steps. In the future, Visual.ly hopes to add more ways create infographics from custom data, like studies and surveys, so learning how to use it now could be valuable.

    Visual.ly also acts as a place to share your own infographic creations or view uploaded ones from other designers.


    How to Create an Infographic with Visual.ly


    1. Sign Up for an Account

    The account is free, and you can use it to upload your created infographics.

    2. Select a Topic Template

    Visual.ly has a handful of designed templates in which to plug in your social media data.

    • Facebook Activity: Enter your church Facebook account to visually display your recent activity.
    • Twitter Showdown: Plug in your Twitter account and another to compare the two.
    • Life of a Hashtag: Use a hashtag for a recent Twitter campaign? Show its usage, power users, and other information. 

    3. Connect Your Social Media

    Log into your social media account and allow Visual.ly to access your basic information. Then select which page you want to pull information from or which hashtag you want to track. They'll do all the work for you.

    4. Select a Theme

    Each topic has different formats of displaying the data. Select the one you like.

    5. Create and Share Your Infographic

    At the bottom of the created infographic, Visual.ly gives you the option to share it across your social media or download for your website or other uses.

    Sample Visual.ly Infographic

    Here's an infographic we whipped up about our Facebook page activity. What infographics do you plan on making?


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    MonMondayJunJune11th2012 Facebook is for Stories; Your Church Website is for Everything Else [STUDY]
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    Since social media has established an increasing presence in the world of communication, a great temptation for organizations is to move all online information sharing to Facebook. But studies have shown that social media is secondary to users who want to learn about non-profits, churches, or ministries—an organization's website is still its primary source of information.

    Using people who had recent, regular personal interaction with non-profits, website usability expert Jakob Nielsen observed their interactions with non-profit websites and their Facebook properties and found clear expectations for each.


    What People "Like" on Facebook


    Stories of People Impacted by Your Ministry

    The Nielsen study shows that Facebook visitors are most interested in seeing examples of the lives changed by your ministry. They expect social media to "showcase stories about real people who have been involved with the organization." Videos and feature story teases (that link back to your website for the full story) are effective ways to highlight your ministry at work.

    Conversations With Your Followers

    Past Nielsen studies have concluded that Web users associate social media with private discussions. The goal of the content you post on Facebook should be to spark deeper conversations and interactions with those who are connected to your ministry. Creating sharable content can extend the conversation to people outside your immediate audience. 

    Links to Your Website

    Facebook content can cause considerable buzz, but keep in mind that social media is a secondary communication tool. Every organization's Facebook presence should include clear links to your website—your primary online information hub—for users who want to learn more about or become involved in your church or ministry.


    What People Don't "Like" on Facebook


    Donation Asks

    Nielsen's study found that people don't use Facebook to make donations to non-profits. In fact, "when we asked users to do this in the study, they were annoyed by non-profits that tried to push products or donations, or tried to get them to sign up for other things, like e-mail newsletters." Remember that you walk a fine line when requesting financial support. Don't risk ask-fatigue by posting giving appeals on Facebook.

    Your Mission or Goals

    As stated above, users are more interested in the fruits of your church or ministry. They don't want to hear what you want to be, they want to see what you've done. Your mission and beliefs can be detailed on your church website for those who want to learn more, but first gain their interest by showing your ministry's real-life impact.

    Content That's Not Supported by Your Website

    Every post on your Facebook page should coincide with content on your website. Videos and stories should link back to pages on your website with more information. Event promotion posts should jump to pages with registration opportunities. Each piece of communication should give the user a chance to learn more about you and how they can get connected.

    These study findings are another reminder of how much attention you should focus on your church website content. Even though Facebook's audience is large and accessible, your church website is still where people go first to learn more about you. How does this change your Web strategy? Leave your comments below.

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    MonMondayMayMay28th2012 Real-Time Engagement: Using Instagram for Your Church or Ministry
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media Technology 0 comments Add comment

    Back in April, Facebook made waves by purchasing the photo sharing app Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. With over 30 million users on iPhone alone (they've since launched an Android version of the app), the Instagram+Facebook partnership commands a substantial online audience.

    So how can this audience be leveraged to engage those who care about your church or ministry? Is it worth spending time and resources on yet another online trend? What makes sharing photos through Instagram different or better than doing the same on Facebook?


    WHY USE INSTAGRAM?


    1. IT'S VISUAL
    People love images. They tell a story—your story—through the emotions they convey. A smiling child at summer camp. An exploding confetti cannon at Easter. A joyful new believer, post baptism. Photos have the ability to record the spirit of a moment better than words ever can.

    2. IT'S INSTANT
    Online content's shelf life is measured in seconds (and continues to dwindle by the day as people grow more "connected"), so posting pictures of events the day after they occur may already be considered outdated.

    Instagram allows you to engage people in real time, as you experience it. It only takes a few seconds to snap a photo with your phone, apply a filter, and share with your followers.

    3. IT'S SHARABLE
    The app lets you pair social media accounts to your feed so you can automatically display your Instagram photos via your Facebook and Twitter accounts. People can then easily and quickly share it with their friends through these avenues. Using hashtags (like #goodfriday or #summercamp) also allow for trending and findability in various feeds.

    4. IT'S PERSONAL
    Most mobile photos are candid and authentic-feeling. They bring an aura of intimacy not usually communicated through other photos. You can take advantage of this by giving people an inside look into your special events, making them feel like they have a deeper level of participation. A photo from an event speaker looking out into the audience may garner more impact than a generic picture of the speaker from an audience member.


    HOW DO I USE INSTAGRAM?


    CHECK IT OUT
    Play around on your personal account to learn the ins and outs. Follow your friends and make a note of what makes you go "ahhh!" Try out each photo filter and different lighting and composition techniques.

    PLAN IT OUT
    Instragram's strengths lie in presenting instant, candid, personal moments—utilize that strength in your strategy for this medium.

    LAUNCH IT OUT
    Start an account for your church or ministry and sync your social media accounts. Introduce your account across your communication platforms to gain followers.

    DELEGATE IT OUT
    Find some people in your ministry already using Instagram effectively (especially those who have deeper behind the scenes access, like pastors or worship leaders). Give them your account login information and draft them into service with a few assignments.

    SEND IT OUT
    Start taking compelling photos and share them on your accounts. Experiment to see what gains more attention and shares. Rinse and repeat.


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    MonMondayAprApril16th2012 British Pastor Uses Twitter During Services [VIDEO]
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    While I was on vacation in Ireland, I caught a story on Sky News about a pastor in Somerset, England who uses Twitter feeds during services to interact with his audience.


    [The pastor] said: "I think churches across the nation struggle to reach particularly young adults in the 18-30 age range.

    "Social media - that's their normal form of communication and so I think to use those forms as a way of targeting our audience." Watch the full video on the Sky News website >

    This "Twitter Vicar" certainly got the attention of secular news agencies -- what kind of impact do you think this had on potential church attendees?

    Does this inspire you to incorporate social media into your services?

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    MonMondayFebFebruary13th2012 What Makes a Healthy Online Presence for Churches? [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Over a period of six months we monitored the usage of all of iMinistries websites using Google Analytics. Some results were to be expected. Others surprised us. From these statistics we've come to the conclusion that the convergence of technology, social media, and design/UX create a healthy church web presence.


    Technology


    Definition: The platform your website is built upon, and how you manage website content.

    A church should be using some sort of content management system (CMS). Website content includes, pages, blog entries, sermons, news, and events. This technology should be SEO friendly and easy to update.

    Why?: People come to your website for content (see the astounding numbers below). It is important to present that content in a way that is easy to find and interesting. A CMS is the best tool for completing those tasks because:

    1. A CMS helps you organize your content.
    2. A CMS lets you concentrate on the content, instead of the back-end technology.
    3. A CMS makes your website findable on search engines.

    Social Media


    Definition: Outlets used to engage and connect with users and draw traffic to your website.

    Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, and LinkedIn are a few examples. Newcomers are Google+ and Pinterest--both showed good results in the first six months, but not enough to give much thought to them yet. We plan on revisiting this in another six months and are curious to see if that changes.

    Why?: Social media hubs like Facebook give you a level of personal interaction that is usually lacking on your main website. Twitter and video sites can also help your content be shared to audiences who wouldn't normally come into contact with you.


    Design/UX


    Definition: How your website looks and functions.

    Is it easy to navigate and find content. Is your website visually appealing? Is it simple? Your website should look professional. This design should be carried over into the social media outlets to create a uniform online presence.

    Why?: What good is content if your visitors can't find it? Or if interacting with your website is not a positive experience? Your UX leaves a lasting impression to users, most of the time within seconds of their arrival.


    The Infographic


    Put all these things together, and you have a healthy web presence. Here is a visual representation of our data:

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    MonMondayJanJanuary9th2012 How Buffer Shifted Me From a Social Consumer to Social Sharer
    byTravis Hickox Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    I am a former Hootsuite user and social consumer. Now I've become a social sharer. All because of my switch to Buffer.

    When I began to use Buffer a few weeks ago, I made the shift from being someone who only reads tweets to someone who wants to provide useful content and interact with people through tweets.

    How It Works

    I don't know if this happens to you, but when I find one item online that I want to share, I often find five. We all know that it isn't a good idea to blast out everything that you find all at once because it is a sure way to lose followers. That's why using something like Hootsuite is a great tool because it gives you the ability to space out your tweets. However, due to my workload, I don't really have time to log into Hootsuite and schedule a tweet.

    Buffer, on the other hand, gives me the ability to click a button and add a tweet in a second. I don't have to log in to anything, I just hit a button and "bam" ... it's done. I also don't have to configure a date or time for my tweet to go out. That piece is already configured in my account settings inside of Buffer.

    I have gone from finding items online and wanting to share, but not sharing due to fear of becoming annoying, to being able to load up tweets, knowing that only four are going to go out in a given day. I like having the opportunity to point out new things, promote our growing company, and promote others.

    Must Have Plugins

    After I signed up to use Buffer, I immediately installed their plugins for Chrome, Firefox, and Twitter. Doing this made my experience that much better. If you are interested in trying their service out, I highly recommend doing this too.

    Signing Up

    If you are interested in trying Buffer, do us both a favor and sign up using this Buffer referral link. By doing so, we both gain the ability to add an extra post to our Buffer.

    Does Buffer interest you? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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    MonMondayMarMarch7th2011 The Art of ReTweet
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    “Retweets are the new currency on the Web” – Michael Arrington, Techcrunch.com
    The spreading of ideas is what Twitter, social media, and the Internet is all about.

    With so many people posting tweets with links to interesting content, blog entries, and news updates, retweeting these posts can be beneficial to you.

    iMinistries retweet

    Retweeting can be a great source of content

    One of the biggest challenges that comes maintaining a relevant Twitter feed is developing content to post. Retweeting takes the work out of content development. All you have to do is find interesting tweets to repost.

    Retweeting others gives your followers incentive to retweet you

    Seeing the "RT" on your feed makes your followers take notice. It tells them this content was so interesting, you want to share it. It also encourages them to share it with their followers, since you took the time to do so.

    How to properly retweet

    1. Always give credit to the source by including their twitter username
      (e.g. @author)
    2. Shorten URLs in your tweets
      (URL shortening website bit.ly is excellent; We like using Hootsuite.)
    3. If there are remaining characters at the end of a retweet, consider adding your own point of view.
    4. Think twice before retweeting sensitive material or something that might be untrue.
    5. Only retweet stuff that you think will be relevant to your followers.

    MORE RESOURCES ON RETWEETING

    Science of Retweets (PDF) - DanZarella.com
    Twitter Survey Results - A Closer Look at the Retweet Button - SimplyZesty.com
    Retweeting: 'Followers' look to 'leaders' as social networks grow
    - CNN.com
    13 Ways to Get Your Blog Posts Retweeted
    - Twitip.com
    MonMondayNovNovember15th2010 Social Media and My Ministry: Five Essential Management Tools
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    Twitter posts, blog entries, Facebook updates ... managing your social media presence can be overwhelming to think about. Thankfully, there are tools available to help you. Below are a list of five free programs, websites, and applications to help you organize, manage, and develop your ministry's social media.

    HowSociable?

    Track your ministry's brand visibilty on social media websites
    This website tracks your ministry's presence on the Web's many social media sites and produces a brand visibility score based on the amount of content and followers you have on these sites. Because of its many Vimeo videos, Facebook pages and followers, and Twitter tweets, a large church like Harvest Bible Chapel has a brand visibility score of 217.

    HowSociable? is a good place to visit before you develop your social media strategy. You can see where your presence is strong and where you need to increase it. It's also a great way to track your efforts. Visiting this site regularly will give you a tangible way to see if your social media strategy is succeeding. Score increasing? Job well done.

    HOWSOCIABLE.COM

    HootSuite

    Schedule tweets, track your followers, and see who's mentioning you
    One of the most popular tools for managing social media accounts is this web-based application. This website allows you to manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress, and other social media accounts. If you have more than one person managing your social media, HootSuite allows for multiple users to access and utilize your account.

    You can schedule future updates for all or each account individually. HootSuite also provides you with tons of useful data like who's retweeting your posts, how many people click on the links in your tweets, and also integrates your website's Google Analytics. If you have many social media accounts, and many people managing them, HootSuite is a great place to organize and manage it all from one location.

    HOOTSUITE.COM

    TweetDeck

    Manage your social media accounts and follow others'
    This program is downloaded to your desktop, and offers much of the same features as HootSuite, like multiple Twitter and Facebook account management, update scheduling, and photo sharing.

    TweetDeck makes it easy to see all updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites from your followers and those you follow. Seeing all these updates from one dashboard saves you the time and effort of visiting each site multiple times per day, and makes it easier to retweet or link to these posts. You can also download TweetDeck to your iPhone or iPad for following or updating on the go.

    TWEETDECK.COM

    IceRocket

    Find Web content to link to and retweet
    A common mistake when it comes to planning for social media is thinking you need to constantly create new content for posting. One of the easiest ways to find material for blogs and tweets is to link to other content on the Web. This website allows you to search and keyword, phrase, topic, or even your own church name to see what people are saying on blogs, Twitter, Facebook posts, news, or even images.

    Retweet someone else's post and they may return the favor later, making you visible to their followers. Respond to a blogger's entry and they might link to your blog, driving more traffic to your website. Include a link to a news story on your Facebook site to keep your followers up-to-date on your ministry's happenings.

    ICEROCKET.COM

    LaterBro

    Schedule tweets and Facebook updates for future dates and times
    After signing into this web-based tool, you can add several Twitter accounts and one Facebook account to schedule future updates. Just enter in your tweet (limited to 140 characters), pick your future date from the calendar, and select a time and LaterBro does the updating for you. It even has a built in URL shortener.

    Scheduling future updates help you plan ahead and allows for updates to go out even if you're not in the office. Already know your pastor's sermon schedule? Enter in a month's worth of updates on one day to work more efficiently.

    LATERBRO.COM
    MonMondayNovNovember8th2010 Facebook and Your Ministry: Creating a Like Page
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    Unless you've been living under a rock the past few years, you've heard of Facebook. And unless you have a good reason not to, you have your own Facebook profile. But how can you utilize Facebook to spread the word about your ministry? We'll seek to answer that very question in this entry.


    Facebook as a Supplement to Your Website

    Facebook isn't just a website to post pictures, keep up with high school friends, and remember your uncle Donald's birthday. It is a powerful tool for mass communication. Over 400 million people worldwide are active users. Where else can you reach this large of an audience? And for free?

    Facebook allows for you to create a "page" for your church or ministry. This page can be the host of updates by you like pictures, news items, and posts from your website blog. Other users can follow these updates and post their own messages on your page's wall. You can gain more followers by linking your page from your website, from your Twitter feed, or by sending invitations for users to "Like" your ministry.

    Develop a Strategy

    Before you create your Facebook page, it's important to develop a strategy for how you plan to use it. Here are popular ways for using Facebook:
    • Fostering and encouraging dialogue
    • Make more people aware of your blog or Twitter feed
    • Advertise latest news and events
    • Post photos and video of recent or upcoming events
    • Link to sermons on your website

    Creating a Page

    To create a page, navigate to the Create a Page section and follow these steps:
    1. Select the "Brand, product, or organization" radio button and "Religious Organization" from the drop down menu.
    2. Type in the name of your ministry next to "Page Name."
    3. Check the box notifying Facebook that you are the official representative for you organization and review the terms.
    4. Click "Create Official Page"
    5. Edit your page setting by clicking "Edit Page." Here you can add or remove page applications like Photos, Discussion Boards, Links, Video, Notes, Events, and more. Use your strategy to determine which applications to add and which are not necessary. Only add the ones you will use.
    6. Add a picture for your ministry by hovering over the picture and choosing "Upload Picture."
    7. Click the Info tab and insert your address, hours (worship service times), phone number, website address and a little about yourself.
    8. Finish customizing your page by adding photos, filling in the text box below your photo, and adding other application tabs.
    9. Let your Facebook friends know about your page by clicking the Suggest to Friends button below your picture. Let others know by sending as an e-mail by clicking the Share button at the bottom of the page.

    Incorporating Twitter and Your Website Updates

    Facebook allows you to add applications into your page to make it easier to sync it with your other media. To do so, Edit Page, and search for applications under More Applications. Check out these detailed help documents to add your Twitter feed, blog, and other media to your page.

    OTHER RESOURCES FOR FACEBOOK

    How Do I Create a Facebook Page for My Ministry? - iMinistries Support Document
    Facebook Page Help Center - Facebook.com
    Facebook Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations
    MonMondayOctOctober25th2010 5 Reasons Your Ministry Should Be On Facebook
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    Facebook is a social networking website which allows users to create an account, personalize it with pictures and information, add friends, and comment on other people's profiles. With over 400 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become one of the most powerful tools for mass marketing out there.

    Companies, organizations, and churches can create their own pages where users can congregate and keep up with news, videos, and picture posting, blog entries, and your Twitter feed. With Facebook's new integration with many of the most popular websites on the Internet, and the ability for users to customize their Web experience with its "Like" feature, the impact of Facebook on marketing and communication is substantial.

    Why Should My Ministry Have a Facebook Page?

    1. Audience

    Where else can you potentially reach 400 million people? Facebook has user profiles from people across the globe. After making your own Facebook page, any user can "Like" you and follow your content updates. The demographic for the majority of users is people between the ages of 20-35, making Facebook the place to be for interacting with the current generation of Internet users.

    2. Dialogue

    Your website is mostly one way interaction. You post a news item or create an event, and your users read the information. Facebook pages allow for two-way interaction. Any of Facebook's users can post comments on your page's Wall. They can ask you direct questions, they can interact with other users or answer discussion questions you post, or they can give their reaction on your blog entries, photos, or videos.

    3. It Drives Traffic to Your Website

    By integrating your church website's RSS feeds for news, blogs, and other content onto your Facebook page, you have another avenue for posting links back to your primary Web presence. Want more people reading your blog? Post an excerpt or summary on your Facebook page and link back to the full post on your website.

    4. Visibility and Relatability

    Having a Facebook page gives you "street cred." Facebook has grown to be one of the most popular websites in the world, and its young demographic is ideal for sharing your ministry's media. Any place you can share your website's content is great. For free, even better. But displaying it where young people visit every day, that's ideal.

    5. It's Free Advertising

    Because of its huge potential audience, having a Facebook page is like having an ad on the largest billboard on the largest street in your area. And it's free!

    In our next post, we'll talk about how to make your updates automated so that you'll rarely have to do more work than posting new content on your website.

    MORE RESOURCES FOR FACEBOOK AND YOUR MINISTRY

    Facebook Help Files - iMinistries Support
    10 Reasons Your Church Should Be on Facebook - Frank Chiapperino.com

    Free Trial

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    MonMondaySepSeptember20th2010 19 Twitter Icons

    Since we have been talking about Twitter, we thought that this article from One Extra Pixel might be helpful. In it, they provide 55 Twitter Buttons & Icon Sets. We paired it down to a more manageable 19 sets.


    404creative
    404creative

    Graphic Leftovers Buttons
    Graphic Leftovers Buttons

    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge
    Graphic Leftovers Grunge Badge

    Janko At Warp Speed
    Jankoat Warp Speed

    Kurumizawa
    Kurumizawa

    Marchari
    Marchari

    Matthamm
    Matthamm

    Pasqualedsilva
    Pasqualedsilva

    Pixey
    Pixey

    Poeticpixel
    Poeticpixel

    Productive Dream Vector Twitter
    Productive Dream Vector Twitter

    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird
    Productive Dreams Twitter Bird

    Smashing Freebies
    Smashing Freebies

    Splashnology
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    MonMondaySepSeptember13th2010 Twitter and Your Ministry
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment
    In our last blog entry, we wrote the 5 Reasons Your Ministry Should Be on Twitter. If you've determined that you want to join the rapidly growing micro-blogging and social networking website, you'll want to develop a strategy, create your account, and embed your tweets on your ministry website.

    Develop Your Twitter Strategy

    Before you start posting tweets, you need to determine what you will post. Your ultimate goals for Twitter should be
    1. Embedding links to your website and getting people to click them
    2. Adding followers
    So you'll need to develop a strategy for accomplishing these goals. Here is what your weekly strategy might look like:
    • Monday: tweet a link to your latest sermon podcast
    • Wednesday: tweet a preview and link to your blog post or a Bible verse of the week
    • Thursday or Friday: retweet from your favorite pastor, thinker, or follower; tweet about an upcoming event or news item and link to your website
    • Saturday: tweet an invitation to join your Sunday services and provide your sermon series title
    You may not feel the need to tweet this often, but this gives you an idea of how a strategy built upon the days of the week can remove the "What to tweet" guessing game.

    Tips for tweeting:
    • Links, links, links: the most important part of any tweet is a link to other content--news, events, blogs, sermons, pictures--and the text of the tweet should "sell" this content
    • Retweeting is a great way for other Twitter users to notice you and possibly convert into followers. People love it when you repeat what they have to say. Having your posts retweeted by others means you've succeeded.
    • Word count: Each tweet is limited to 140 characters, so each word is important. Don't waste them.
    • URL Compression: URLs can be long and nasty. Use Tiny URL to compress them to only a few characters. Just paste in your long one, and it'll make it shorter.

    Create Your Twitter Account

    Creating your account on Twitter is as simple as coming up with a username (one that's easy to remember and makes sense for your ministry) and adding some followers.
    1. Go to Twitter.com and click on the Let me in button.
    2. Fill in your account information, including your username. Create.
    3. Click through the three steps to add people to follow.
    4. After your account is created, edit your picture and profile by clicking Profile on the home page.
    5. Add a thumbnail (your ministry logo), your location, bio, and your ministry website.
    6. Click Design and edit your background. You can even upload a custom background.
    Now you're ready to post your first tweet.

    Add Your Twitter Feed to Your iMinistries Website

    A good way to let your website visitors know they can follow you on Twitter is to embed your feed on your ministry website. This is also an effective way to build in advertisement for content on your website into your homepage. How to embed your feed as an ad on your website.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    MORE RESOURCES FOR TWITTER

    Twitter 101 - Twitter.com
    Twitter for Ministry Strategy 101 - ChurchCrunch.com
    Twitter for Churches - ebook and blog
    The Reason Your Church Must NOT Twitter - ChurchCrunch.com
    Twitter for Ministry and Church – A Business Perspective - ChurchCrunch.com
    Why I Love Twitter - Tim O'Reilly
    MonMondayAugAugust30th2010 5 Reasons Your Ministry Should Be On Twitter
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    Twitter is a social networking service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Followers can visit the author's Twitter page or use one of many tools to follow feeds, or their computer or phone.

    So what does this have to do with your ministry? Twitter can be used as a tool to connect with your users, to promote the content on your website, and possibly gain more interest in what your ministry is doing. Here are five reasons why your ministry should consider joining Twitter.

    1. Audience

    Twitter has over 100 million active users. Many are young (between 18-48) and come from all over the country and the world. Like Facebook and YouTube, Twitter is a tool that allows you to expand your ministry's reach. In addition to your followers, your tweets can also be found by adding topic tags and by retweeting posts from other Twitter accounts.

    2. Links, links, links

    One of the biggest benefits of Twitter is as an avenue for posting links back to your website. By using hyperlink abbreviating programs, you can create convert your long links into shorter ones. Twitter is all about driving traffic to your main Web presence, your ministry website.

    3. Networking

    "It's not what you know, it's who you know." We've all heard this saying and found it to be overwhelmingly true. By gaining followers and by following others yourself, you can develop a list of diverse contacts who share your beliefs, have a common mission, and may work in different areas of ministry. If you are interested in collaborating with other ministries, Twitter is a good place to develop relationships.

    4. It's easy, interactive, and viral

    Twitter is like a blog in that it initiates dialogue between you and your readers. Your followers can retweet your posts, or post your tweets from their profiles, they can respond to your tweets, and they can comment on the pictures you post. And its much less complicated than blogs. Users can read a tweet in 20 seconds and pass it on to others with an extra 5 seconds. They can follow much more people at once from mobile applications, desktop programs, and other utilities.

    5. It's Free Advertising

    Having a Twitter profile and posting tweets costs you nothing. Nothing except time and a tweeting strategy.

    That being said, Twitter is not for everyone. Above are just reasons why your church should consider it. Concentrate on the content of your ministry first, your ministry's website second, and advertising last.

    Reasons why you may not need Twitter

    • You don't know what a "blog" is, nevermind a "micro-blog"
    • You don't have enough content to link to on your ministry website
    • You can't devote any time to tweet, or you'd rather spend your time doing ministry work
    • You aren't interested in learning how to maximize its potential

    MORE RESOURCES FOR TWITTER

    The Reason Your Church Must NOT Twitter - ChurchCrunch.com
    Twitter for Ministry and Church – A Business Perspective - ChurchCrunch.com
    Why I Love Twitter - Tim O'Reilly

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account
    MonMondayAugAugust16th2010 Social Media: Fad or the Future?
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    What is Social Media?

    Hundreds of websites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, and LinkedIn have been created to help people connect with each other, from anywhere, at anytime (so long as there is an Internet connection). And many more are being created each day. For many, keeping up with the hottest new social media tools is daunting, let alone using these tools for their benefit.

    So is social media just a fad? Considering that many Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits are utilizing social media for marketing purposes, it seems that it's is not going away any time soon. Let this blog entry be a tool for you to evaluate if you should get in on the social media action.

    Which Social Media Tools Should I Care About?

    With new social media tools popping up by the minute, it can be difficult to know which ones matter. Here are the three social media tools you should know and consider using first.




    Facebook: This social networking website allows users to create an account, personalize it with pictures and information, add friends, and comment on other people's profiles. With over 400 million active users worldwide, Facebook has become one of the most powerful tools for mass marketing out there.


    Twitter: Users create an account and "micro-blog" posts of 140 characters or less. Many corporations, celebrities, and businesses have used Twitter to build their name and post links back to their websites.


    YouTube: After Google, this video posting website is the second most used search engine on the Internet. In this media-driven age, video is more important than ever for getting your message to the masses.

    What Are The Benefits Of Social Media?

    Social media tools are great ways to expand your reach on the Internet. They can be used in partnership with your website to make your name known and spread your ministry's message. Each channel can be a unique way of connecting with people. And isn't that the goal of your ministry? The best thing about the Internet is that you can touch a life in Africa as easily as you might across the street from your ministry. With social media, that possibility is only a few clicks away.

    Free Trial

    We believe the best way to describe our tools is for you to try them out yourself. We offer a 15-day free trial account which will give you a few days to use all of the features available to our paying clients. There's no risk and no obligation. Who knows, you might even enjoy the new control you have over your very own website.

    Create Your Free Trial Account

    How Can Social Media Be Used?

    By now you're probably asking "Why should I know about these tools?" All social media can be used to garner interest in your ministry and as a host to links back to your website. It is to be used as a supplement to your website, not as your primary Web presence. The ultimate goal is driving traffic to your website.

    Think of it as a megaphone for your website. A way to amplify your message on the Web.

    In upcoming blog posts, we will explain how to achieve this goal on each of the above social media channels.

    Should I Sign Up?

    No matter the size of your ministry, using social media tools can help you achieve your mission of reaching others for Christ. What does it take to achieve an effective social media presence?
    • Strategy: Make goals, figure out how social media can help you achieve them, and decide which tool will be most effective.
    • Time: You know the old saying: "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." If you don't have the time to do your best, it may be better not to start.
    • Content: To make yourself stand out in the crowd, you need interesting things to say and stuff to link to on your website.
    MonMondayNovNovember9th2009 Improving Search Results, Chapter 3: Directories and Social Media
    byBryan Young Tagged Social Media 0 comments Add comment

    Make Your Ministry Website More Visible By Using Directories and Social Media Websites.

    Now that you have conquered Google by increasing your PageRank, and other search engines by adding Meta Tags, you can still improve your search engine results. By adding your site to directories and social sites, you can improve your church website’s credibility which will move your site up the chain of search results.

    Improving Search Ranking

    Directories

    Directories are man-made lists of websites. Each site that is added to a directory is evaluated and deemed one of high quality. So being added to one or more of these directories is seen by search engines as a thumbs up from peers, which influences the order in which they list sites in query results.

    Three directories you should add your site to:
    • DMOZ
    • Yahoo Directory
    • ZoomInfo
    DMOZ
    A volunteer-run directory hosted by Mozilla, only sites with quality content will get listed here. New sites are less likely, and since it is managed by volunteers, it can take time to get added. DMOZ is the largest human-edited directory of the Web, so if you aren't listed here, search engines will be given a reason not to list your site at the top of results. Add your site to DMOZ.

    Yahoo Directory

    Yahoo's Directory unfortunately is not free, it costs you $299 per year. But its size and name recognition might make it worth your while if you care deeply about improving your search results. Add your site to Yahoo Directory.

    ZoomInfo

    This directory and search engine is geared more toward businesses, but allows you to create an informative profile. You can add a searchable profile for your ministry and link to your website. ZoomInfo has profiles on more than 37 million people and 3.5 million companies, so it can be valuable to have on your site's "resume." Create a profile on ZoomInfo.

    Social Networking and Media Sites

    These sites can be used to drive more traffic to your website. More traffic means more respect from search engines and a better search ranking.

    Three social networking and media sites you should add your site (and its content) to:
    • Facebook
    • Del.icio.us
    • Digg
    Facebook
    We all know that Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends from the past, but it can also help you increase your Web traffic and boost your search engine results. You can create a free group and allow people to become a "fan" of your ministry. You can also link to your website and post news and event updates (which you can link to news and events on your site) to drive more visitors to your site. We thought that we should take our own advice and recently created a group. If you are an existing client or are thinking about becoming one, why not join the iMinistries Facebook Group?

    Del.icio.us
    If you create compelling content on your site, your users will share it with others on this web-based bookmarking site (learn more about Del.icio.us here). The best avenue for creating the kind of constantly changing content people share is in our blog feature. Here you can discuss your weekly sermons more in-depth, and allow your visitors to add comments. You can share your insights on relevant topics or events. If you haven't started a blog, visit this help file to find out how you can do so today.  

    Digg
    Digg is a site that allows you or your visitors to submit and rate articles. Each article can receive diggs, or votes, from Digg.com users. More diggs means articles move closer and closer to the Digg homepage or its topic homepages. If you or visitors to your site submit articles and they are compelling enough to become popular, this could mean increased traffic to your site--and we now know that high-traffic sites get listed higher on search results. To submit articles, you must first create a free account.

    Sources For This Blog and Further Reading on Directories and Social Media

    Man Still Better Than Machine for Some Things - HubSpot