It’s Social Media Q&A Time

Social-Media-Workshop-2015-Small-10Our College of Congregational Development had their annual evangelism workshop on the weekend. This year’s topic was social media.

The attendees had too many questions for a 27-hour workshop,  so we’re gradually answering them here. Some answers will be written by us (or you?), and some will be from existing great sources that we’ve found to share. As with all social media tips and tricks, it’s different for each person, purpose and audience so pick and choose which bits help you.

If you have written a post or want to tackle a topic, please email Bianca at [email protected] We’d love to post your answer on this blog, or link to your own.

Discounted Products for Nonprofits

A list of marketing tools

Design Tools

Canva – also has free and cheap good stock images

Corporate relationships – can we telegraph who we work with?
How lame do you look if you either:
– don’t have an account
– don’t update it
– insert yourself where you don’t belong
Twitter and Instagram – relate to Facebook
Facebook Administrator – How to

Organize Twitter – social listening

Filtering by Keyword with Hootsuite

Tutorial: facebook navigation

Image permissions/copyright

Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blog – replace blog with social media, website, all platforms.

Copyright Cleared Images

Be careful using creative commons images via Google or Flickr. The person uploading them may have lied.

Wikimedia – great for current affairs

Blogs – still relevant?
Who can post?
What to put where? Multiple platforms
Best practice recommendations
Resources for absolute beginners
Broadcast versus communication – techniques that encourage communication
How to partner with other congregations
Cross-over opportunities – links, cross-posting
Best Practices Policies for Church Page
How to balance communication with older folks
Ultra-conservative political folks who are parishioners – how to handle?
– they speak for church… gatekeeping
Complexity of recording and posting sermons – audio of choir: copyright issues
How to encourage comments, not likes?
Platforms: primary functions/strengths
Particular platforms for particular purposes – or demographics
How can churches use instagram and pinterest?
Who’s in charge of oversight?
Who’s responsible for maintaining?
– with multiple cooks in the kitchen, how do you communicate group identity?
How to ID and reach group that would join if we communicate with them?

Using Photos of Children

One of the most common questions that I am asked when I do workshops on website design and social media is “What about photos of children, what are the guidelines?”  I will talk about needing permissions, how to (or not) identify them and then go on to the broader topic of photos of people in general.  I was about to write something on this, but one of my Episcopal Communicator compadres at the Diocese of Newark, Nina Nicholson, has written a very good piece on this subject on her blog “Geeks for God“.  It has good, practical tips and even includes verbiage for crafting a release form!  Do check it out.  Thanks, Nina!

Sacramental Social Media

One of my favorite go-to sites for church stuff is ECF Vital Practices.  They are a terrific resource and this post is no exception.  This excerpt encapsulates so much of what I tell people, it is nice to know others are saying the same:
“Going to a Facebook page or a Twitter account and finding it dormant sends a symbolic message: nothing is happening here. Better not to have a social media account at all (which is a legitimate choice). But an active page can be evidence that your community is a place with life that shows the love of God to each other and those who visit.”
You can read the entire post here.

Can You “Like” God?

For people who are “digital immigrants” ( basically those over 40), the idea of social media is somewhat confusing.  When you add religion into the social media mix,  it can get even more convoluted.  What is spirituality, what is community?  How do you have a religious encounter through technology?  The program New Tech City on WNCY in New York City has a very thoughtful an interesting segment on this topic.  It doesn’t answer all the questions and it certainly isn’t a magic bullet, but it is something that every church needs to address at some level if it wants to be relevant in the next few years.  Thanks to Faith Rowold at Episcopal Relief and Development for passing this on.  There is also a nice little shout-out to Trinity Wall Street in the piece!

A New Voice in the Church and Social Media Arena

I am always looking for tips and other input on how to best reach people in sharing the Good News.  A new blog has just popped up and it looks really promising.  It is Episcopalshare – Adventures in the World of Church Social Media.   Laura is the curator of this site and her goal of “sharing what I am learning about social media for churches as I go along” is off to a good start.  I particularly liked her post on using Google Docs for an online signup sheet.  A great little tip that churches can use and it is easy to implement.  Thanks Laura, and keep ’em coming!

Good Social Media Practices

When I go out and talk with churches about their communications practices, I usually end up at some point talking with people about social media.  One of the questions that comes up concerns appropriate uses and etiquette for social media.  What is the best media?  When does it make sense?  What are best practices and policies?  All very good questions and the answers can be different based on the application and implementation they are considering.  I came across this nice article by Ilia Posin which provides a checklist which one can reference before posting.  It doesn’t solve all the possibilities, but it certainly is a good starting point.

Friends and Followers and Social Media

When I first started this position at the diocese, I got a certain amount of push-back on social media from people I talked with.  Why do we need this?  What about privacy?  Who would use it?  How will this help or enhance our mission?  All valid questions.  This article that was sent to me does not necessarily answer any of these questions, but it did raise up an interesting perspective on how you respond to people who follow your content.  I liked his premise, especially when I thought of it in terms of what we are called to do as the Body of Christ.  While the article was not written with this in mind, I found it very interesting when read through a theological lens.  What do you think?

How to Stay Current Without Going Crazy

Last year I completed a certification program from the University of Washington in Social Media Technology and Implementation.  It was a terrific program and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this topic.  I regularly receive information from the university concerning upcoming programs, tips, etc.   I received an email from them that I would like to share.  It is by Hanson Hosein, director of the UW Master of Communication in Digital Media program.  The complete link is here, but I have copied the information I want to share below. Continue reading “How to Stay Current Without Going Crazy”

Social Media and a Safe Church

A number of people have asked me of late, “What is the social media policy for the diocese?”  That’s a good question.  We are working on one at the present time and it is a challenge and a balance between making it a living document/policy and not to go overboard with rules and “what ifs”.  Every organization has its own variants of policy and the church is no different.  Our social media policy may not work for, say Coca-Cola, and vice-versa.

Province III of the Episcopal Church have come up with something that is a good starting point for the church.  Building Faith, a blog moderated by Sharon Ely Pearson has a post that I offer as a beginning to that conversation called Social Media: Safe Church.  Check it out.