As a past volunteer leader of a church’s public relations and marketing ministry, I recall having just enough energy and time to create content. There was not much time for follow-up beyond meetings with the pastor, and my team never quite took time to gather feedback from recipients of our messages.
As churches and organizations create more digital content, “social listening” is now more crucial than ever. Because digital communication happens in real time, we’re constantly receiving affirmation, criticism, and feedback in response to what we are putting out into the world
Social listening is like a church leader’s awareness of the “parking lot conversations” that happen after meetings and services. Essentially, it’s having a clear sense of what’s being whispered in the “digital pews.” And while some leaders may choose to dismiss “what the people say,” a good leader knows that what the people are saying could make or break a brand or ministry.
Social listening happens when you go back to the comments under yesterday’s Facebook Live feed of your worship service and assess the questions, concerns, or complaints! And as with face-to-face listening, there may not be a direct response because the goal is to “listen.” In some cases, you may need to share information or correct misinformation, but the goal isn’t to correct the viewer’s assessment of what they have seen or heard. What they are saying may be just the information you need to work on a growing edge or develop a component of your service or online profile that you never considered.
Monday is a great day to return to your organization’s social media account and begin “listening” to what social media followers have said about your church, pastor, worship service, or even the things that were confusing during the online viewing experience. Just because the pastor dropped the mic after the last sermon of the day, doesn’t mean the work of the media ministry has come to an end.
If you or your team need help deciphering what the digital “word on the street” is about your ministry, consider hiring Dr. Lecia as a consultant!