Social Media Data as Narrative

Let me guess…you do communications at a church, and your leadership doesn’t understand the need to commit time and resources to your church’s social media presence, or their personal social media presence. If you work in church communications, you’ve likely run into this at some point, or you’re dealing with it right now. In my experience, it’s an ongoing conversation that constantly needs addressing.

So how do you convince your leadership that it’s necessary to invest time and resources into your church’s social media presence?

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You need to turn your social media data into narrative.

Many times we shy away from numbers in the church, and for good reason. It’s very easy to get caught up in a numbers game, but so much of the performance of our social media presence can be measured by numbers, so how can we utilize this data? We must pay attention to it, there’s no question about that. Because each data point represents a real person who has interacted with your church online. By paying attention to the data you can see how many real people are interacting with your church online, and you can view those interactions as pieces of a relationship.

Many times pastors have trained themselves to not pay attention to numbers, especially big numbers that we can throw around with online interactions. So it may not be valuable to tell your pastor that your church’s website had 10,000 unique views last month. But what if you told your pastor that you were able to use Twitter to answer someone’s question about small groups, and that person joined a small group, and is now walking with the Lord? I bet that could present much more value to your pastor. You see it’s all about connecting data to real people, and telling those people’s stories.

We have a weekly staff meeting at Park where we all go around and share what is going on with our ministry for the week. We also share any stories of relationships that are being built or people who are becoming followers of Jesus. As the ‘social media guy’ I oftentimes serve as the first point of contact for our church, before people even walk through the doors. And just because I may not necessarily have a ‘face-to-face’ conversation with every single person who views our website, that doesn’t mean I can’t make social media connections meaningful. But it also means that I have to become good at viewing our web data on a large scale and translating that to small scale stories or narrative.

When you can become good at turning your social media data into narrative, then you can begin to help your leadership understand the need for it.

What are some ideas you have for turning social media data into narrative?

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