Church Marketing – Is Social Media Something Your Church Doesn’t Have to Bother With?

If you or more importantly, your church has had its’ head stuck in the ground over the past 18 months like an ostrich, then you might not have noticed this phenomenon called social media. It is literally exploding in every aspect of our lives.

It is something that has been embraced from Fortune 100 companies down to the roving street vendor.  We are seeing a fundamental shift in how everyone (that also means church’s) communicates and performs business.  I am not sure if it is bigger than the Industrial Revolution, but it just may be the biggest shift since the personal computer changed all of our lives.

 Is social media just a fad?  Not hardly!

 Some things to consider:

1.   By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers. 96% of them have joined at least one social network

2.   Growth Rate! Look at the following to see how long it took each of these industries to reach 50 million users:

o Radio – 38 Years

o TV – 13 Years

o Internet – 4 Years

o iPod – 3 Years (an astounding figure in my book)

o Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months

o Apple’s iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months. (And I thought the iPod was amazing!)

3.   If Facebook were a country based on population, it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia.
o Do you realize that more than 1.5 million web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc. are shared on Facebook? Not monthly…daily!

o Think FaceBook is just for the young? 55-65 year-old females comprise the fastest growing segment on Facebook!

4.   Social Media has overtaken pornography as the most active topic on the internet

5.   12.5% couples who got married last year initially met through some sort of social media outlet

6.   1 in 6 higher education students enrolled in a online course. Interesting you say. But a 2009 US Department of Education points out those online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction.

7.   80% of companies are using the networking site for professionals, LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees.

8.   Mobile devices are in and email is out. 80% of Twitter usage is from mobile devices such as a smart phone. Email is so passé that Boston College no longer gives a standard email address to incoming students.

9.   Speaking of the smart phone, 25% of Americans said they watched a short video on theirs…last month!

10. YouTube has overtaken Yahoo as the #2 largest search engine in the world

11. Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English

12. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs, 54% of them post content or tweet daily. 34% of these bloggers post opinions about products & brands.

o People provide instantaneous feedback as they update anywhere, anytime, anyplace. They are having a dramatic impact on a companies/product’s success/failure.

o 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content

13.People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services  than how Google ranks them

14. Social media builds trust. We aren’t forced to accept what big boxes and networks (along with their advertisers) put forth. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements. 90% of people that can TiVo their shows skip the ads altogether!

15. Newspapers are dying. Most are financially deteriorating except for those that have embraced an online presence. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation. Ad revenue is withering away because we no longer search wait for the news to come to us. We go out and get it.

16. Listening first, selling second is synonymous with success as company’s integrate themselves into social media.

This is the revolution…get over it!

Just like every person has the right to engage in social media or not, churches have the same rights and privileges. The difference is for those churches who don’t may not be around if they don’t evolve. Seen any pony express riders lately? Probably not.

But even if you do, your church should be strongly considering how they are going to fit in. Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed are just a couple of the myriad of options out there. If you need help to get in the game, source it out.