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 Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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