When I was first starting out as a creative director in the corporate world, I was really competitive. I spent a good portion of my time sizing up our competition, identifying what I though were their design weaknesses and then creating plans to surpass them.
This competition was my daily fuel. That was until my mentor sat me down, and gave me this one piece of advice.
Your only competition is yourself. You need treat this like a game of golf. You’re the only one keeping score, and your goal is to get a little bit better each day. Stop comparing yourself to those around you.
To this day, those worlds still ring true to me and I’ve learned to apply them not only to myself, but my church’s social media as well.
This is hard to do, because of the things that the world does is tell you that you’re not complete, and your effort is not enough. In fact, I’ve become more resolute to the idea that the world’s ultimate goal is to rob you of contentment. More specifically, contentment in Christ.
That’s why it’s difficult to not want to compare your church’s social media with the church down the street or even across the globe. Yes, their graphics look cooler, they have more “Likes”, and everyone in their photos looks like a model from an H&M ad.
But that’s what the world does. It sows little seeds of doubt and discontentment in our hearts, and before you know it we trying to be something that we’re not. We end up with angry and fustrated that our attempts to be cool or relevant haven’t connected with our audience.
When I have those moments, I have to remind myself that my soul will never be satisfied by being cooler than the church down the street. My contentment will be in being who God created me to be, and my church doing the same.
Will I push my church to get better? You bet. But I’ll do that in context of knowing who we are and what were designed to do. I’ll focus on helping us get a little bit better every single day. Knowing that my goal isn’t to be better than the church down the street, but be better for our audience and those who were trying to reach.
I’ve sat where you sat. I’ve had the yelling matches and felt the frustration when you try to explain to your church leadership the importance of social media and the digital world. I know what is like to think that you’re the only who can see the future.
It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re the only one in your church who’s passionate about social media. You see churches around you using Snapchat, Facebook live, and creating hashtag campaigns to help in slavery in some third world country.
But don’t lose hope. You know why?
Because the future is on your side.
It wasn’t too long ago that churches thought that having a website was “nice” to-do. Not something that you had to have, but you could if you wanted to be the edgy church down the street. I mean, who needs a website when everyone can just find your church in the Yellow Pages?
Of course that changed, and now when someone is starting a church one of the first things they do is grab a domain name, and build a basic website to make sure they show up in Google results.
Social media is the same way. For a lot churches, this is still a “nice” to-do. Do we need a Facebook page? Do we have to share photos on Instagram? For these churches, these are seen as legitimate questions. For others, they might not have even thought about them.
If this is your church, don’t worry. This will change. Maybe it will be when your pastor looks up at the congregation and sees them all looking down at their phones reading the Bible. Or maybe it will be when your pastor attends a conference and is influenced by a nationally known speaker to “get online and share the Gospel”.
Either way the future is on your side. Churches can’t escape the digital future, whether it’s social media, mobile devices, or online worship. The future is here whether they like or not.
So when you have those moments when you think you’re on an island and no one is listening, don’t worry the life boat is coming. It’s called the future, and it’s going to be awesome.
I often hear people say that running social media for a church or a brand is hard. When I ask why they think it’s hard, I usually get the following answers:
“I don’t know what to post.”
“I can’t keep up with all the social media networks.”
“We can’t compete with the church down the street, there so much cooler than we are.”
“We just don’t have the resources or the time.”
I think there’s some legitimacy to these responses. But, here’s why social media is hard.
You have to show up everyday.
There’s nothing more difficult then showing up everyday to create create and share content. To be there to listen online, take feedback from people, and then turn around and give them what they want. Every single day.
Is it grueling? Yes, it is. But it’s what separates the good from the great.
By showing up everyday you’re forcing yourself to dig deep and get beyond the superficial. Why? Because there’s only so many ways that you can create content like “10 Cats That Look Like Taylor Swift”. At some point, you have to show your true colors and that comes by showing up everyday.
This is why I have such great appreciation for people like Seth Godin and John Saddington. These are two bloggers who show up everyday, regardless of what is going on in their lives.
It’s also why I think that the path to creating durable social media that will last is not about creating catchy headlines or the latest Internet meme. It’s about showing people that you’ll be there every single day no matter what is going on in your world.
So start today and show up. Get on your computer, tablet or phone, and be there. Listen, learn, and converse with those around you.
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It’s the social network that strikes fear in the heart of most parents and church leaders, and I don’t blame them.
Snapchat is known as the social network that entices people to post content without thinking through the consequences. It does this by promising that the content will disappear after a certain amount of time.
Of course, we all know that that isn’t exactly true.
However, if that’s what why you think Snapchat is so popular, I have an alternative theory.
I think Snapchat is compelling due to what happens when you start the app.
It compels you to create content.
How? By always loading the camera first. The camera view is the home screen for Snapchat.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter which first hits you with content when you load the app, Snapchat assumes that you want to create content first, then consume content.
I think that small design cue pushes you to think about creating content. I also think it falls right in line with values of Generation Z, who we’re finding are active creators with a do-it-yourself attitude.
So if you’re thinking about trying Snapchat for yourself or your church, remember the best way to experience Snapchat is start creating content.
Don’t worry about getting right the first time, I didn’t and you won’t either.
From the Blog… Ask Darrel: How to Get a Job in Social Media – Last week I had the opportunity to hang out with the team from That Church Conference. During the Blab session, someone asked what it takes to get a job in church social media and communications.
While I thought I gave a good answer, I wanted to spend some more time being thorough in my response. Take a listen.
The Verge’s Derter Bohn speculating on Twitter’s move from the “Social Networking” category to the “News” category in the iOS App Store.
Except you can't help but notice that switching from social to news is a fine way to get your icon to not constantly and consistently appear underneath anywhere between one and three Facebook apps: Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. That can't be fun, day after day.
And so Twitter noped out of the whole category. And I imagine it's not just because it wants to be at the top of a list somewhere, but because it's tired of being compared to Facebook. It'll never catch up in the user numbers game, so it decided to play something else. Twitter wants the comparison to Facebook to stop being one-to-one, and instead be apples and oranges.
I wonder if this is shift in philosophy based on how Twitter sees people using their app. It seems like their strategy is becoming based around the idea of being a live-moment and breaking news type of network.