Church, Manchester, Faith, Punk

Church Marketing

9 Twitter tips for church leaders

For reasons you cannot understand you feel compelled to plant a church.

So you move to a new town, city, village, country or planet to start your brand new church and you decide it’s time to drag your sorry ass into the 21st century and use that Social Media thing your mum told you about. You sign up to twitter and start slamming out Spurgeon quotes. Stop. Stop right now.

How should church planters and church leaders use twitter most effectively? Let me tell you.

1. Understand what twitter is and what it is not.

Twitter is like a loud pub. Music is playing. There is fight in the corner. Someone is definitely drunk.

Imagine you are in this pub. You sit with a group of friends and you discuss the issues of the day, your interests, your hobbys, your successes and your failures. Your friends respond, comment, console, provoke, laugh at you and laugh with you. Sounds like a normal night out. Right?

Then a new guy wanders into the pub. He sits at your table and then starts shouting quotes at you. Weird.

Another guy walks in. He sits at your table. This guy has a book to sell. He spends the evening repeating the nice things people have said about his book and ignoring the rest of the pub. Everybody moves to a different table.

Twitter is a community. It is a place to hang with people you already know and make brand new friends.

2.Follow people in your city

When I moved to Manchester I follow marketing firms, designers, bloggers, journalists, promoters, writers, local politicians and leading business types. I got a quick inside track on the culture of Manchester.

3. Tweet people

Get into conversation. Simple really. There are people in my church that I met on twitter.

The best part of twitter is when someone new responds to a tweet and you meet someone completely new. The world just got a tiny bit smaller.

4. Don’t just tweet quotes

A few quotes are OK but if you fill my twitter feed with quotes and retweets (RTs) of other peoples quotes then I am going to unfollow you. If you just tweet Piper, Driscoll and Spurgeon quotes it does make you seem a little narrow minded. Tweet your interests outside of church stuff.

5. Work at it

Longevity is the key. Keep checking your followers and follow back the people you are interested in. It’s also worth glancing at who they follow or are followed by.

6. Watch your tone

Rick Warren says “Arguing with people on the internet is like a wrestling a pig. Everyone gets covered in mud and only the pig likes it”. I honestly don’t bother seriously debating or arguing on twitter. It has no nuance or subtlety and you often end up looking ridiculous.

Twitter is largely a liberal place (certainly in the UK) and so I think very carefully about what I tweet or retweet. If I  hold a particularly counter cultural opinion then I want to be able to explain it to people clearly, compassionately and I want to hear their opinion. That is not easy on twitter.

7. Don’t tweet angry

Just don’t. Trust me.

8. Don’t retweet compliments

It is hard to explain how vain this looks. Instant unfollow.

9. Enjoy Twitter

You will find plenty of people like you and you will find people who are completely different to you.


The Church needs Facebook and Twitter

I came across this article about how religions use facebook and twitter by a Manchester marketing, SEO and web design firm called The EWord.

They have noted how Christians are using twitter to pray and even use hash tags like #dailyprayer to pray with other people. They also explain how the christians are using facebook in huge numbers. Apparently the Bibles facebook page had more usage over Easter than Justin Bieber and Manchester United.

The church needs to be on the front foot in social media because whether we like it or not we are in the marketing business. We had a visitor to CCM:City recently who was training to baptist minister. He confided in me that he was worried that following up visitors and having good presentation (online and offline) was a little bit to much like marketing and PR. I explained that I viewed a huge part of my job as marketing. The church is not trying to sell a product and we are not really looking for people to consume the church but we do want people to commit, buy in, feel part of something bigger and we hear these terms applied to all sorts of products or companies.

Social Media is essential to church planting. A significant amount of our growth at CCM:City has come from the way we use Twitter, Facebook and how we improved our Search Engine Optimisation. I think it should be a job requirement for church leaders and potential planters. At the very least they should not hold social media in contempt and realise the incredible opportunity it provides for meeting new people and engaging the ones you have.

Quality Video

I like the idea of churches trying to engage in and communicate with their local culture and community. I also like it when it is obviously gospel.

CCK in Brighton have done this video. It is engaging stuff. The wide variety of people questioned (it looks like a good cross section of Brighton) and the broad range of answers they give is genuinely fascinating. Everyone has an opinion on Jesus.

Church Marketing

As I have said before I am a big fan of the church marketing sucks website. They frequently have fascinating articles about how different churches have tried to market themselves in new an interesting ways.

At the chapel we have been considering a number of different ways of marketing ourselves to the unchurched (prechristian?) in a ways that are provocative and original. The intention being that we want them to talk about Jesus and his church and maybe get their curiousity up so they consider a visit.

My natural tendency is to be a little cheeky and maybe even a touch offensive so as to provoke a response. Thankfully I have people around me who I trust and who are significantly wiser than me. Here is how cheeky church marketing can go wrong.

Very interesting indeed.