Center for Online Evangelism
The Center for Online Evangelism is a missionary project devoted to developing online mission stations.
Fancy writing doesn’t sell anymore. Simple, honest, and conversational does.
While our English teachers and professors worked hard to convince us that the art of elevated, academic writing is the key to intelligent discourse, we might have to take a more simplified approach when it comes to the basic yet crucial principle of connecting with people.
People are looking for things that help them, make them feel happy and safe, and answer their questions. They don’t want to be talked down to, patronized, or made to feel like they’re on the “outside.” Bottom line—simple, straight-to-the-point, and empathetic language is a must for your content creation. Especially on websites, blogs, and social media.
For something as important as a church or school or ministry, conversational and inviting content is key. To self-test your website content, try reading it out loud and imaging you are talking to another person. Would you use this wording in a one-on-one conversation?
Check out this article for some additional tips: How to Write in Conversation Tone To Increase Readership
Reposted with permission from centerforonlineevangelism.org.
Director of Media & Marketing for Good To Go Media.
I don’t think folks realize how powerful Facebook Ads can be for churches. The ability to reach very specific individuals in your town is unprecedented. We must begin to wield this tool to connect with people that need to learn about Jesus.
Let me give you 9 examples of real campaign targeting parameters you could be utilizing in your community:
I want you to notice, while I wrote each of these examples as a complete sentence, each word or phrase is an actual set of data you can track for a given campaign. For any outreach you’re planning, consider your audience, their interests, relationships, professions, and behaviors, and you’ll be able to put your event in front of the exact people that need to see it with Facebook Ads.
Director of Media & Marketing for Good To Go Media
Today, having a church Facebook page is the norm. But beyond serving as an internal family slideshow, how is it helping you reach the people of your geographic community?
Enter Facebook Ads. With over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, Facebook is so widely used and contains so much detailed demographic info, you have the benefit of accessing the most extensive marketing database in the world.
Have a community event coming up? Have an engaging short video? Want to network with other organizations in your town and cross-promote events or resources? Facebook Ads can connect your church to the right people at the right time, and create real relationships.
Starting an ad campaign might sound complicated or daunting, but it really boils down to one major question. And unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of leaders who are so excited to start a campaign, they rush into it and see no results because they skipped the question:
What is my objective?
You shouldn’t be putting funds on the line until you’ve determined your objective.
One reason this is so important is that Facebook will automatically optimize your ad to be shown to people who are most likely to respond to that objective. It’s a wonderful system to use because as long as your audience is large enough you can count on your objective being reached.
There are currently 12 objectives you can choose:
Which objective jumps out for your church? As you can imagine, defining your objective dials your ad down to a very focused purpose. It also directs how you create your visuals and “copy” (fancy advertising term for “words”). And with a clear objective, your path laid out for the rest of the campaign components.
“But Dustin, we don’t have any money for this kind of intangible experiment!” And yes, maybe your church has absolutely no budget for much of anything, which I get. However, I also see many churches spending thousands of dollars on outdated evangelistic methods that yield poor results. So what if you allocate a portion of your evangelism budget to a Facebook campaign and take advantage of a method proven to reach the exact people who are likely to respond? I challenge you to give it a try!
There is so much more to discuss when it comes to a great ad, but hopefully this gives you an overview to get you started. Make sure to check out Facebook Blueprint to learn more about the power in Facebook Ads.
Check out the free #DigitalEvangelism course on how to run a social media campaign.
Download our free step-by-step course on placing Facebook ads.
Digital Strategies Intern for the North American Division
When creating and executing a social media campaign, think of who you are speaking to and how to best convey that message to different audience groups. We do this in everyday conversations without even knowing it. It is natural to speak differently to a child than to an adult. There is a difference in word usage and tone of voice. Children may need to hear something simplified, while an adult can understand more abstract ideas. The same concept applies to social media.
When communicating to social media audiences, visualize actual people--their interests, culture, wants, needs, and expectations--to refine your voice. Depending on what is being promoted, you will create unique people and personas to represent different target groups. For example, the Society of Adventist Communicators Conference is promoted to and attended by students, teachers, and working professionals. Each target group has different reasons for attending the conference that range from continuing education to networking. Therefore, you would create personas representing students, teachers, and professionals identifying their specific wants and needs. Determining your audience personas can act as a guide to creating content that will be the most relevant and useful to your various audience groups.
According to The Guardian, personas can be simply defined as: “A fictional character that communicates the primary characteristics or a group or segment of your audience and takes into consideration needs, demographics, motivations, and environments.”
This is the kind of information you will want for each persona:
(Photo from: https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide)
Some of this information can be found in your Google Analytics account. There you can find information on audience age, gender, salary, and location most of your audience is coming from. Google Analytics can also give you the interests of most of your audience. Learn more about Google Analytics. This information is key in creating your personas.
You can also glean consumer information from your social media insights, and even one-on-one interviews. You can learn a lot from people who are part of your target audience that you engage with directly. The best personas combine both quantitative and qualitative information.
This exercise is about putting yourself in the consumers’ shoes. Get to know what they want so you can meet their needs effectively. Social media is about connecting people with people to create a collective story or conversation. Understanding your audience is vital to bridging the gap and building meaningful relationships that result in something to enjoy in the real world.
After you have finished your research, begin creating your personas.
Here is an example of what a detailed social media persona might look like:
(Photo pulled from: https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide)
Now, when applying this idea to Adventist events, such as Pathway to Health, (a ministry that provides entirely free, mobile, multi-specialty clinics that offer medical, surgical, dental, and eye care, along with other critical services), you can modify the example we have above. For instance, when promoting Pathway to Health, we must consider who will be coming, such as the under insured, struggling families, and the homeless, and who will be volunteering to help, such as: doctors, local volunteers, and pastors. Below is an outline of one person who might want to volunteer if the right information was put in front of them. You can even add a fake picture of them if you so desire.
Name: Pastor Aubrey
Who: A local youth pastor looking for a way to get church and kids involved in service.
Yearly revenue: $30,000
Goals and challenges: Goal to get church involved in the community. Challenge is can’t find a way to get involved.
Interests: Volunteering, church, youth ministry, service, community events, and hiking.
Promotion media: church networks, social media, local conferences
Message: We need everyone at Pathway to Health! Medical and non-medical volunteers to serve the needy in the community. Show the love of Christ through compassion.
Knowing this information, how are you going to word a social media post to get them to help? You could emphasize the need for volunteers (even if they don’t have any medical experience) and what things are needed.
This tactic serves two purposes: First, it gets the creators to get into character. Second, it can help you find previously undetected tactical opportunities to promote your product, service, or institution.
In summary, social media personas are developed based on your target audience. The key is finding out what those people want and need; the rest is simply compiling those qualities into a made-up person. As a church, we need to constantly find ways to reach our audience for the kingdom in the best, most efficient way possible. And social media personas help us step into other’s shoes so we can better understand them.
Don’t forget to tag us at #DigitalEvangelism as you develop your creative personas.
Making Evangelism Resources Free to the End User: How a creation science book exceeded 13,000 downloads in 3 months
Director of the Adventist Learning Community
Media Director of the Adventist Learning Community
In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus gives his last charge to his followers before leaving Earth. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Because of technology the Seventh-Day Adventist Church now has the tools necessary to exponentially increase the speed and efficacy of our efforts in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission. Name the issue, topic, or belief that needs to be shared with the world, and digital technology can help spread our unique Adventist message anywhere and anytime.
One of the most important questions facing our world today is the age of the Earth. The Bible begins with the story of how God spent an entire week of His time, designing, crafting, and speaking the world into existence. The Creation story lays the foundation of truth for the rest of the Bible. However, much of the popular culture and Christian debate on this subject is discourteous and impassioned. Creationists, evolutionists, and theistic evolutionists often share their views in the media, pulpit, and classroom as if they had little respect for the intellect or beliefs of their respective audiences. With emotions running high and politically incorrect rhetoric the norm, our Church should be a voice of reason and loving interaction. An informed and compassionate Creationist is a much more effective evangelist than one that relies on uninformed passions. The spiritual stakes are high on this issue, and so we should take it seriously and educate ourselves to help others see God’s involvement in the origins of our planet.
To help buttress scientific support for the Young Earth Model of Creationism, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Faith and Science Council has provided the funding necessary to write and distribute a free digital text version of Faith, Reason, and Earth History: A Paradigm of Earth and Biological Origin by Intelligent Design (3rd edition). Written by renowned geologist Leonard Brand, PhD, and celebrated paleontologist Art Chadwick, PhD, the free eBook can be downloaded by anyone in the world interested in the science behind a more Biblically accurate understanding of Creationism.
In Faith, Reason, and Earth History, Drs. Brand and Chadwick provide a researched perspective for contemplating Earth’s origins in terms of Scripture and science. After reading the free text, it becomes apparent Creationism is supported in many ways by scientific observation. However, the authors are fair to both science and Scripture and point out there are questions and issues that remain for both creationist and evolutionary scientists. Brand and Chadwick maintain creationists have no need to approach science with trepidation and apprehension, and that it is possible to have enough intellectual humility and admit all sides of the discussion have unanswered questions about the origins of the planet.
Simply making a resource for evangelism and truth available for free is only part of the Church’s responsibility. Having a powerful resource without a marketing strategy means the resource could potentially sit on the proverbial shelf gathering dust with only a few people appreciating it. This is why the North American Division’s Adventist Learning Community partnered with Andrews University Press, and the General Conference Communication and North American Division (NAD) Big Data and Social Media departments to market this valuable text. By developing a marketing strategy with Jamie Jean Schneider of Big Data and Social Media, the Adventist Learning Community (ALC) developed distribution platforms, eBook formats, and a marketing campaign for sharing the resources with the world.
In less than 3-months, the book has been downloaded for free over 13,000 times. Typically, a best seller in Adventist publications sells approximately 5,000 books. By not printing the book, we saved thousands of dollars ($12,000). $300 of that savings is now being used to market the book online allowing for greater reach than the printed book (1,000 copies) would have received at a fraction of the cost.
By utilizing imagery from a documentary ALC filmed for Drs. Brand and Chadwick entitled, “Dry Bones and Fossil Trackways - Geology Research from a Biblical Perspective”, a promotional “trailer” for the book was developed. This trailer was then incorporated into a promotional template provided by NAD’s Social Media and Big Data department. The subsequent promotional package was then shared with social media directors around the Church. These digital gatekeepers then became social media ambassadors for the advertising campaign for the textbook. Within a matter of days, Brand and Chadwick’s text was being marketed on Facebook, Twitter, and internet search engines.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has historically been an early adopter of technology to further the Great Commission. The distribution success of Faith, Reason, and Earth History is proof the Church should continue to embrace technology as a tool for furthering evangelism, and that incorporating a digital marketing strategy can exponentially increase the reach and impact of the Church’s resources and efforts. The tools for reaching the world are readily available and surprisingly inexpensive, the Church just needs to decide to use them in a strategic and intentional fashion.
Learn more about the book and download.
Download the promotions packet and become a social media ambassador.