Archives For social media

Pinterest is an image sharing social media platform that helps companies connect with their target audience. Non profit organizations can use it to promote their campaign and collect money from donors. I’ve blogged about churches starting to use Pinterest before.  In this guest post, I have asked Hema Gupta to discuss some of the techniques for driving online traffic towards a non profit website. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please review the guidelines

Pinterest used by non-profits
We have social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for business promotion, then why Pinterest? Facebook fan page and Twitter connections bring clients, yet Pinterest is creating a buzz among social media lovers and corporates alike. The image sharing, intuitive and bright UI of this latest social media network gives it an edge over its contenders.
While Pinterest is growing rapidly and people love this image sharing platform, business houses have not explored its full potential yet. It’s quite surprising that non-profit organizations are not using this platform for promotion and fund raising, and missing a huge opportunity to reach millions of donors.
If you are wondering how an image sharing (rather pinning!) website can help the serious cause of a non-profit organization, here is how:
Creating Brand Identity and Spreading the Issue- This site is used by millions of users all over the world. Therefore, when you post something, it captures global attention. If you run a NGO, pin relevant images, documentaries and reports. Pinterest users may click on the glossy and happy photographs more often than dark and gloomy ones, but when an image is soul touching, users are bound to notice it.
  • We all know a picture can spell a thousand words and break the boundaries of social-cultural differences. When you post an image of a nuclear disaster or a child refugee, it grabs immediate attention. It creates curiosity among viewers and they will probably visit your site to know more about your organization. However, it is important not to present your organization as needy. Tell the story behind each photograph and highlight the solution so that people can help you in your mission.
  • Showing What You Do- People love a brand that has a human face. When you show the logo and ask people to donate money, it may not appeal to them. Instead of displaying a corporate image, upload some pictures of your organization’s work. Show what the volunteers are doing on the field, how you are fighting against pollution/poverty or anything else. Make people believe in your work so they understand that their contributions won’t go intro wrong hands.
  • Fundraising Prospects- Pinterest can be used to drive the “social” traffic to your website for better income. If you want to sell goods for charity, create an e-shop page and collect money for your campaign.
You can also use this site as a monitoring tool and shape future strategies. Take a look at the items people are pining from your site, where they are sharing it and the discussions about those pins. Following this strategy, you can get an idea of your brand perception and plan the future campaign promotions accordingly.
Pinterest has really opened a new door of possibilities for all types of businesses. All you need to do is set your own path and make the voice of your non profit’s mission heard.
Hema Gupta is an accredited social media marketing expert at Webguru India. She often likes to write contents on several subjects regarding website design, search engine optimization and social media updates during her free time. For more information she suggests to visiting here.

Pinterest Pinboards of Churches
Recently, I pointed out that Pinterest is prime for churches to embrace and start pinning.  If you do it right, there’s potential to generate word of mouth and traffic to your church website.

Here is a complete list of churches that have a presence on Pinterest:

Denomination Pinterest Pinners:
  • PC (USA)
As you can tell, there really aren’t a ton of churches that have hopped onto the Pinterest platform yet.  (Actually there are — but a lot of them are still with zero pins, no photos, no profile photos, no descriptions, etc.  I didn’t include those in this list above.)
I think a big reason for this is that most church communications people that have thought about getting onto Pinterest haven’t really figured out what you’re supposed do on Pinterest if you are representing a church.
Strategically, there’s a bunch of things you should consider pinning in order to gain exposure and start engaging with your community.  I’ll share more of the details for some of this soon, but here’s a category list to get you started:
  • Help prospective visitors figure out your church — take photos that help propsective visitors know what they’ll encounter if they come to visit.  Take photos of your worship environment, your fellowship hall, kids ministry rooms, bathrooms, parking, offices, people, greeters, worship services, etc.
  • Illustrate a dynamic church life — events, neat photo angles of various parts of your building, staff, leaders, etc.
  • Show your links to partner organizations — any organizations you work with, partner with or serve
  • Collect sermon / discipleship content — Books, resources, your sermon notes, scripture references.
  • Become the #1 advocate for living in your town — the church should become the advocate for living where you are.  Become the tour guide, the local expert, the concierge that shows up all the nook and cranny goodness of the city and surrounding towns you live in.  This means pinboards for restaurants, professional services, sports, schools, annual events & festivals, and more.

Do you know of any churches that have a Pinterest presence (with at least ONE pin please!)?   Please leave the name, location and URL in the comments below.

Christian Tweets Engage Better Than Celebrity Tweets

Take your friendly neighborhood christian leader’s tweets and compare them to Hollywood’s pop culture celebrity’s tweets and you’ll apparently find a big difference when it comes to something that’s critical regarding social media:  engagement.  If you look at the top Christian tweeters, you might find something interesting.

Let’s take Andy Stanley from North Point:



The New York Times recently did a comparison of various pop culture celebrities and christian leaders on Twitter and found Andy Stanley had 295 responses per 50,000 followers on Twitter.



 What about Rick Warren?  He’s at 259 responses per 50,000 followers.

Now when you compare them to some of the pop culture celebrities, you get a totally different outcome:



Even with 20 million followers, we have a big whopping 6 responses per 50,000 followers for @KatyPerry



Lady Gaga is doing a little better than Katy.  @LadyGaga drives 19 responses per 50,000 followers on Twitter.

The big gap between christian leaders’ tweets and pop culture “powerhouses” even when you look a bunch more of big tweeters out there.   What’s interesting is that Twitter has seen the data themselves and have hired @Claire, who now runs “social innovation” at Twitter to explicitly reach out to religious leaders in order to get more of them on the platform.

What do you think drives the increased engagement with inspirational tweets from christian leaders across the Twitterverse?  Are you surprised at these numbers?

A great tactic to mobilize your fan base to further awareness is to sponsor a video contest.  There are many ways to judge a video contest, but if you’re trying to get your supporters to spread the word as much as possible, video views is usually a big part of any formula to select a winner.

In my last post, I had Deric share 7 practical video marketing tactics to gain thousands of video views.

Now it’s my turn to put it into action since I have entered to win a contest by the author of this upcoming book, The Pumpkin Plan.  The contest entails making a YouTube video spotlighting “your inner critic” – that negative voice inside your head that keeps you from going out and executing.  The winner will be judged on video views, social sharing and some judges’ personal criteria.

So I made a quick video by recording short intro and outros and getting a outlandish character to play the “inner critic” — meet plastic bag man:

[SIDE NOTE] Let’s explain a little what this book marketing video is about: Mike Michalowicz has written an entrepreneurship book called The Pumpkin Plan.  Yes, it is a business book, but what might get missed is that much of the core lessons are totally applicable in the non-profit world:

  • Plant the right seeds: Don’t waste time doing a bunch of different things just to please any every type of customers supporters or target beneficiary client out there. Identify the thing you do better than anyone else and focus your company organization doing it.  Who do you serve the best?  Who would appreciate what you do the most?
  • Weed out the losers: In a pumpkin patch small, rotten pumpkins stunt the growth of the robust, healthy ones. The same is true with who you are trying to target with your non-profit activities. Figure out which target audience that adds the most value and provides the best opportunities for sustained growth. Then ditch the worst of the worst.
  • Nurture the winners: Once you figure out who your best customers supporters are, blow their minds with care. Discover their unfulfilled needs, innovate to help make their wishes come true, and overdeliver on every single promise of being an effective organization against your mission.

Now, back to the task of the winning the video contest…

Outside of the 7 marketingtips for video marketing, there’s a bunch of other tactics I’ll be employing to get the word out about this video:

  • Submit the video page to the top social bookmarking sites.  Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. etc. This can be tedious if you’re doing everything manually.  Luckily there are some semi-automated methods for submitting to multiple social bookmarking platforms.
  • Comment on relevant blog posts that talk about the inner critic, inertia, discouragement that many entrepreneurs face with a link back to the video.  The key is to tap into the perfect audience for the book/video.
  • Blog about the video on my blogs — the making of it, the process to post it, just like I’m doing now.  It adds a different dimension to traffic being attracted to watch the video.  SEO factor also helps to gain different audiences across the web.
  • Video replies — use the video to reply back to other vloggers talking about the same topic from different viewpoints.
  • Make custom business cards with a promo URL.  Of course the URL will be a shortcut one so people can easily remember and type it in if needed.  Because printing is so cheap these days, like…$15 for 250 2-sided, full-color business cards, including shipping!
  • Adjust the video title and description so that they are optimized for specific keyword phrases.  Just like Title Tags for SEO, video titles and description copy really matter.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, so if you are careful with your web copywriting, you might become a winner.

If I have the time to turn on all these options, my video will be the sure winner.  Of course the question comes down to how much energy I should/want/will spend on this.

What other ways do you promote videos online?  Any outlandish, yet undiscovered tip you can share?



Jack Dorsey speaks in New Jersey

Last week, I shared a video clip from an interview with @Jack, founder of Twitter — he shares an interesting perspective in that conversation that gives a clue to Twitter’s potential and original intention.

Twitter has been a great platform for me over the last couple of years.  I’m getting a chance to see Jack Dorsey in person later this week and it got me thinking about some of the great things that have come out of my Twitter experience to date.


Twitter for churches


  1. Access to people & new relationships –– This is by far one of the biggest advantages of Twitter.  If someone else is on twitter, whether they are a celebrity or successful leader or just an average joe, I know have the potential to connect with them and build a relationship if there is real value in doing so for both sides.  I now routinely converse with people I’ve first met on Twitter like @djchuang or have traded direct messaging with soem of the “big guys” like @rickwarren, @michaelhyatt and @pogue.  This level of access wouldn’t have been possible just a couple of years ago.  The friction around new connections has been radically reduced with social media platforms like Twitter.
  2. Real/near-time updates on various news items.  Next to Google, a Twitter search can yield some great results, especially for topics where there might not have been much time to have a lot of publishing around it just yet.  If it’s just happening, I got to Twitter search vs Google first.
  3. Customer service. It’s been quite helpful to tweet about a customer service #fail and get quick attention to the matter.  When brands care about what is being said about them in the Twitterverse (and more and more brands are coming online), then you can usually get the attention of someone that’s empowered to find a solution.
  4. Traffic to my websites.  When posting a new blog post, I usually share it on Twitter announcing my “new post” — that or other ways to include links to specific blog posts in replies to others.  I have had some decent months where referrals through Twitter click through links have shown up on the radar of my website analytics.  Well written content draws people just like in an other medium.

It will be interesting to see what Jack says about Twitter, especially about where he think we are all going.

What benefits have you found working on Twitter so far?  Please share them below with a comment.

Do you spend time thinking about what’s going on in your city?

Do you pay attention to what’s happening beyond the streets you normally traverse in your commute or daily/weekly routines?

Do you ever go off the beaten path?  Even within your own zip code?

One of the interesting ways to look at social media is to see it as a listening post.  A way to observe and feel the pulse of the city you live in, no matter how big or small it may be.

Before you start spewing a whole slew of social media content to gain the tons of followers you think you can amass, one of the most basic elements (and advantages) of social media over other mediums is its ability to let you visualize in a sense, what people are doing, saying, going around you.

Jack Dorsey on cities

Check out this insightful video interview of Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and how he came to the current iteration of the social media platform that we know today:

Do you look at social media this way in your usage of the medium?  Are you more concerned with what you have to say vs. what you can see through Twitter and other social media available to you today?  Please leave a comment below.

This is going to be a great week ahead.  I’m headed off to Q DC ( to hear and interact with some forward-thinking ministry leaders and then returning to NYC to participate in Redeemer’s Entrepreneurship Initiative annual conference called the Ei Forum.

This year, I’ve been invited back to speak as a communications practitioner and share some of the trade strategies I have been employing for ministry and non-profit campaigns.  It should be a great time.

Right now, the workshop is shaping up to dive into three specific areas of which many church and non-profit leaders seem to be apprehensive about.  These are areas where most know they need to figure out at some point in the near future, but there’s a lot of anxiety, apprehension and just plain fear of being sucked into a time sink that won’t ever end.

But in my experience, these three areas are also very powerful ways to extend the reach of your communications efforts and tap new audiences in a very efficient manner.  Also, if you are strategic in your approach, using some structured frameworks, it doesn’t have to take over your life.  In fact, it can be quite manageable.  So the three areas that I’ll share in the Ei Forum presentation will cover:

(1) PR.  Public relations is a very powerful tool.  Earned media as they call it, can provide awareness, legitimizing influence and tangible outcomes if done well.  I’ll share the three keys to success in crafting great PR stories that news media outlets want to cover.

(2) Video & SEO (search engine optimization).  As our world gets even more media savvy, content production and distribution is becoming easier and easier.  Anyone trying to maximize SEO potential, needs to take a serious look at how they can incorporate video into their communications praxis.  I hope to share a simple yet powerful framework called the “10-4” methodology for video syndication success.

(3) And lastly, social media.  Social networks can leverage existing networks and the more important weak links in your contact ecosystem.  Last year, at this same conference, I shared my “5 C’s for Digital Community Engagement.”  Since then, Google+ has been one of the most recent entrants to the game that everyone needs to take notice about.  Not just because Google Plus has gained a tons of users to give it a core network worthy of connecting with, but just the fact that it’s run by the Google behemoth.  I’ll have a co-pilot for the presentation from the Google+ team in LA that is flying out to NYC to share some Google wisdom in this area.

I plan to share much of the content covered in the presentation here on this blog in the near future.

But in the meantime, take a look at this promo video for the Ei Forum this year:

Tim Keller will make an appearance from the stage on Saturday afternoon. Last year, his Ei Forum talk was about how “God is an entrepreneur.” It was fantastic. I’m looking forward to what Tim has to say this year around.

Will you help me with crafting a practical and impactful presentation? What’s your one question that’s top of mind about PR, search engine optimization (especially WRT videos), and social media? Leave your question in the comments section and I’ll see if I can address it directly in the presentation and/or a future post.

Today, Facebook is changing the design of the “pages” that most churches use to the “Facebook Timeline” format.  

I had a chance to sit down with Sean Coughlin of recently.  He has been gearing up for the transition for some of his church clients.  

So I asked him to share some tips that you can use right now to helping reach a bigger audience on FB.  Enjoy today’s guest post.


Here are 5 tips to make sure your church’s timeline is optimized to reach people on Facebook. 

(1) The change to Facebook Timeline happens on March 30th, so be ready!

Facebook says, “On March 30, 2012 your Page will automatically get the new design.” Right now, Facebook allows page users to edit their timelines in a preview stage, so take advantage.  If you haven’t made any preference changes, it’s time to visit the admin section today!

Facebook Timeline in Church Marketing
(2) Choose a beautiful cover for your Timeline.

Probably the most important feature of the Facebook timeline update is the “cover”. (The cover is the giant 851 x 315 pixel banner at the top of your new profile). Churches should make sure to choose a wide angle, high resolution photo to minimize distortion. Your church is your people, and studies have show that people engage with pictures of other people far more than pictures of places. A church we work with here in NYC, City Grace, has done a great job of creating a good-looking, welcoming covers shot. Check out City Grace Timeline and Cover here. 

(3)  Pin the posts that you want people to see first.

If you have a post that you’re especially proud of or just want visitors to see on your page first, make sure to “pin” it to the top of your timeline. This might be another great picture of some members, a recent milestone you celebrated or a campaign you’re running now. To pin a post:

  • Scroll over the upper right-hand corner of the post and click the pencil icon.
  • Scroll down within the menu and click “pin to top”
  • The post will now appear at the top of your timeline until you “unpin” it.

As TechCrunch recently reported, “The feature gives you significant control what visitors to a Page see first. Be sure to at least keep a link to your website pinned at all times, and rotate it with links to your apps and whatever else you want to drive the most traffic to or impressions of.”

(4) Post Pictures Wisely

As I mentioned above, newcomers and church members alike respond to pictures. Pictures generate more likes and shares than most other types of content, which means more exposure and an expanded “reach” for your church. Since pictures are powerful outreach tools, you want to get the most out of them, right? Here’s how you do that. Instead of posting an entire album, post one picture at a time. You’ll get more engagement per photo if you individually post them than if you post an entire album. Try posting 3 photos per week – one of Monday, one Wednesday and one Friday. This will create anticipation within your Facebook community and drive engagement.

(5) As an admin, make sure your church members (and your friends) “Like” the page

This was true for “Pages” and is still true for “Timeline”, the first step to using Facebook as a tool to reach new people is to make sure your church’s people “Like” the page. By simply inviting their congregants to “Like” their Facebook page, one church we work with here in NYC went from 35 “Likes” to almost 100 in less than a week and increased its “reach” by 495%. (reach is the number of people who have seen a post about your page, and yes, that four-hundred-and-ninety-five-percent!) You can invite your friends and fellow church members to join the timeline by clicking on the “Build Audience” tab at the top of the Admin panel.

Then, you can track your page’s reach, likes and how many people are talking about your church from the Insights box on the Admin Panel.


FaithStreet.comSean Coughlin is the co-founder and CEO of FaithStreet.  FaithStreet helps churches reach people using the Internet. Follow Sean on Twitter: @seanwcoughlin

Pinterest is taking the social media scene by storm.

The platform’s users are overwhelmingly women (90%!) as of now. In 5 months, the has gained over 15 million new users.  WOW.

One of the stats that stand out about typical Pinterest behavior that speaks into the potential from a word of mouth marketing perspective is that 80% of of the content on Pinterest is shared content — that’s the essence of what social media is about.   Contrast this with Twitter users, where only 1.4% of the content is passed along (via Retweeting) by other users.

What to make of this?  It means that the chances of content to spread has huge potential on Pinterest.

The mad rush from business is taking place as new teaching content starts to emerge about how to take advantage of the traffic referrals that can happen with content introduced to the Pinterest ecosystem.

Take a look at this infographic that shares some of the interesting aspects of the Pinterest social media platform:

Infographic on Pinterest Basics

The question that arises of course is, what about the church? Can Pinterest be seen as an effective vehicle for church marketing?

I’ve been spending time on Pinterest over the last several weeks now and have started to formalize some approaches for sharing content which in turn drives traffic to the site where the images were originally picked-up.  I hope to share some of these practices in the near future here.

But in the meantime, here is a round-up of various posts that have started to explore how Pinterest might be relevant to church communications: