The Christian New Media Awards and Conference, held annually in London is a great chance to learn about new ideas and technology in the world of new media and how churches can make the most out of all of it. With hundreds of people from all over the UK attending from all different kinds of churches, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to network and create long-lasting connections.
Here’s just a few of the things I learned this Saturday when I attended:
1. Be genuine
No matter who you are trying to talk to online, don’t sound forced or fake. Instead, use social media to show off your church’s personality. Just be honest, real and happy. It’s also okay to use humour and be a little silly sometimes.
2. You are speaking to everyone
It can be easy to use church jargon or write as though only your church members are reading. Remember that what you are posting, no matter where, is visible to all. Don’t forget your church members exist, but keep in mind the people visiting your Facebook page or website for the first time.
3. Get everyone involved
If you’ve got a youth group, how about getting them to teach the older generation about getting online? Or hand over the Facebook page to them for a week. Use the entire church for ideas, encourage them to supply photos.
Maybe as you set up your social media channels, run mini classes on using Twitter and Facebook so those who don’t understand it can feel included. Think of ways to make social media something you do with everyone in the church.
4. Think quicker
Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. We want good content on demand and we want it as short and concise as possible. Think about ways you can achieve this through your social media channels i.e. Don’t wait until the next day to post pictures from an event or audio of a sermon.
Top tip – Have a look at the content on your website, identify pages with too much text and rewrite them into shorter sentences and paragraphs. Add more images and short videos (3 minutes or less)
5. Invite people online to be part of it
There are ways to bring your regular church service onto the internet. This can be a great way of reaching new people (though can never fully replace church and face to face contact!)
– Live tweet your church service to show people what you do on a Sunday morning, tweet photos of those speaking, link to songs you are singing etc
– Try live-streaming your service, especially for big events like Christmas and Easter. This can be a great way for those unable to get to church to still feel a part of it. (Offer it as a service for weddings, there are always plenty of family members wishing they could be there)
If you attending CNMAC 2014, I would love to hear what you learned from the day, let me know in the comments below.