October 12, 2010 Tony Morgan

Spreading Your Message Online

I saw an article in this month’s issue of Fast Company about a recent study completed by SocialTwist. Using widgets built into referral messages, they found that:

  • Most referrals still happen through email. In fact, email still has more than double the referrals of social networking sites.
  • Most click-throughs happen through social networking. Social networking accounts for almost twice as many click-throughs as email.
  • Among social networking sites, Facebook makes up more than 78% of the usage (Twitter only has 5%). But, interestingly enough, Twitter has a much higher click-through rate (almost 6 times the Facebook rate).

If you are engaged in communications at a church, what can you learn from this? Here are some strategies I think we need to consider:

  • Online strategy involves much more than a website. It’s pointless to have a website unless you’re also leveraging email and social networking strategies to point people to your site.
  • Email is a great tool for building an audience. It’s still the easiest online communications tool to use; however, we need to be strategic about how we use it. There’s a fine line between spamming our audience and providing a focused, helpful message. If people are going to use online communications to invite friends to church, though, they’ll probably forward an email.
  • Social networking is a powerful tool for encouraging online engagement. At this point, it’s not as effective for building an audience, but social networking tools, when used appropriately, will improve how your existing audience engages your online content.
  • You need both an email and a social networking strategy. Email is not going away any time soon. It’s not as sexy as Facebook or Twitter, but you’re missing a huge opportunity if you don’t have an intentional strategy for using that communications tool.

Are these trends consistent with what you’re seeing in your organizations? How is your use of these online communication tools shifting?

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

Comments (3)

  1. From a parachurch ministry perspective I appreciate this post, Tony. I just started an “enewsletter” on the belief that email connection was as important as FB & Twitter. Thanks for the post & helping to show the difference. And BTW…if anyone wants to connect, its http://ow.ly/2S9NJ and http://ow.ly/2S9P3 ;o)

  2. Absolutely! In fact, I think we need for our communications strategies to be very comprehensive. Perhaps we’re moving away from traditional mass media communication vehicles, but that doesn’t mean we settle in on social media and hope for the best. We need a multi-pronged approach that gets to everybody possible.

  3. “There’s a fine line between spamming our audience and providing a focused, helpful message.”

    I think there are several ways to determine where you stand:
    – Does this email give or help the targeted person or ask them for something?
    – Did they give us their email in the first place?

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