Much like Jesus, who stood boldly amidst the crowds to voice His message of truth, Christians also have a call to speak to the masses, and now have new online tools with which to do it. Learning from what Jesus did, it’s vital to understand the difference between preaching at a crowd, and ministering to the multitudes with a thoughtful, personal touch.
Here are my “best practice” tips for this new age of online communication. How can you have your message really heard online—and maybe have that message passed on again and again?
- TELL A STORY: Avoid speaking at audience through canned messages—instead tell stories, provide value, and deliver insight with each engagement.
- ASK QUESTIONS: Ask your audience what they think – whether it’s a comment on a blog post, a comment on Facebook, offer a chance to engage your audience.
- PROVIDE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION: At the end of an email, a post on a Facebook page, wherever you are communicating with your online audience, ask them to do something and make it clear what you want them to do. Examples of this are “RSVP NOW!” “SEND US AN EMAIL!” “READ MORE NOW!” or “COMMENT BELOW & TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!” It’s simple, but highly effective in getting your audience to ACT!
- SHORT & SWEET: When your audience reads an email, a post on Facebook, a tweet online, 90% of the time, they’re in a hurry. They want you to get straight to the point…so do it! Keep your message short and sweet and to the point. Make it hard for people to miss your message even if they just skim your email.
- GIVE BACK: Become a resource to your online community, providing relevant news about your community, the culture in your city, current events in your industry—ultimately becoming a news source that gives back.
So now it’s your turn (see what I did there?): what are some ways that your congregation communicates most effectively? Comment below and let us know!
Holly Clinard serves as Associate Director of Marketing & Digital Media in the office of marketing and communications at Vanguard University. She manages leadership in the areas of social media marketing, website content management, enewsletter campaigns, and video production. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.vanguard.edu/give/contact/ for more information.