by Rich Birch: Today we have a returning guest to the podcast! Professor Katie Allred is someone you may know from this show or from the Church Communications group on Facebook. She teaches courses in Consumer Behavior and Audience Engagement at the University of Florida and in Database, Software Development and Social Media Analytics for the University of Mobile.
Today we’re chatting with her about her work with The Goodwork Agency and Church Communications, and how churches can use social media as their front door, injecting the gospel into those environments.
Don’t treat social media like a billboard. // Social media can be a great free platform for churches, but oftentimes they don’t take advantage of it in a way that’s effective. Katie hears from pastors all the time: I posted on social media, I said come this Sunday, I said to come to this event, and it didn’t work for me. Katie reminds listeners that social media is not a billboard; you must think about it differently.
Social media is a great doorway for your church. // Churches need to be considering how they can use social media for evangelism and discipleship, rather than just sharing announcements. Your church’s Facebook Page should be telling the story of who you are; what does your ‘house’ look like? Show faces of people who are a part of your congregation and tell their stories—stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness and grace in the lives of these people. If we learn to share these stories better, Katie believes we will see more traction with social media. Social media is supposed to be a conversation and has the capacity to offer real community. Let’s go deeper than simple marketing tactics and share our actual faith.
The church has a branding problem. // Katie believes that one problem the church has is that it tries to project perfect people when we’re not perfect. Christians love to tell pretty redemption stories that are wrapped up in a bow, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It’s ok to share there is still messiness in our lives as we work with God through situations. Whatever that looks like, we need to figure it out and walk with people toward sanctification. Katie points out that Elevation Church is a good example of telling baptism stories.