Go Where They Are | Growing Your Electronic Presence

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I recently shot a video training on using technology and social media to connect with parents and volunteers. I wanted to share with you one point in particular. You may not think it's important, but I want to share it with you today.

There was a day where when I would work with parents or volunteers and I had something I wanted to say, I would ask them to come in on my terms. They would come to my meeting at church back in the day (rewind to about 15-20 years ago when I started) I could get people to actually come. Well, the world has changed now. I've learned if I'm going to be effective, I don't want them to have to come to me; I need to go where they are. My point is that you need to go where they are. Where are they? They're on their devices. Everyday your parents, your volunteers, your employees, the people your company is trying to reach, the people your church is trying to reach, the people your organization is trying to reach, they are on their devices. We live in a connected world unlike any other day.

If you do not have a presence consistently on their devices, you are going to grow more and more culturally irrelevant. I shared in my video training that there are four areas that I think if you study the general population that you really need to consider. However, because every church and every market is unique, you really need to look at your specific situation, your specific people, the DNA/ the mix of your volunteers, the mix of your customer that you are trying to serve, and then determine the best strategy. If I was going to draw some broad strokes and say that there are a few areas that really need to be a part of my strategy, it would include text. We are all texting. Did you know that 95% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of receiving them? I send emails every week to over 50,000 kids’ pastors? I can't get 95% of you to open your email in 3 days! I'm making a strong point, and that is you don't check all your emails within 3-minutes, neither do I, but we check our text messages very frequently. Do you have a text strategy?

What about Facebook groups? Are people leaving Facebook? Yes, it seems that it’s trending that younger people are leaving Facebook for other things, but Facebook isn't going anywhere. There are billions of people that use Facebook and it is going to be around for a while. I think you need to have a strategy whether it’s Facebook groups or Facebook pages. What about podcasts? People are listening to podcasts on their device and the beautiful thing about a podcast is that you are listening on your schedule. You listen when you're exercising, on your commute back and forth to the office, wherever you are. This goes back to my main point and that is I am reaching people where they are; they're not having to come to me; I am going to them. So, what about podcasts? What about a YouTube channel? What about a vlog? More and more content is absorbed on YouTube. YouTube is the number two search engine in the world. You need to be creating content for your volunteers, for your parents, for your customers and the people that you serve on YouTube.

Some of you read this stuff and you freak out. How do I create a podcast, how do I create a YouTube channel, how do I get this stuff going? The key is you just start! You just start and you don't overthink it. I do a podcast everyday. What you may not realize is a lot of my podcasts and my intros are done on my phone. If you can talk into a phone, you can create a podcast; if you can FaceTime, you can create a YouTube channel. The difficult part when it comes to this tech or really anything in life is taking that first step! The first step is always the hardest, so I create that first video, that's hard. Then video 2, 3, 4, 5 gets easier and easier and easier. I created that first podcast and it was tough, but number two gets easier, three gets easier. Look at the people that you are serving; how well are you connecting with them using the digital world that they live in? It is imperative that you are connecting with them where they are, which is on their device; it’s on the major social networks.

We haven't talked about Instagram, we haven't talked about Marco Polo, and we haven't talked about Twitter. We haven’t talked about these other places where people give their attention that you really should consider having a presence. As I make a broad sweep and look at the general population of people, there are four that really need to be on your radar: texts, Facebook, podcast, and YouTube or video blogs. Once you start doing this, be consistent. Please don't start and do well for the first 3 weeks and then quit; it's hard to recover from that. Be consistent, be brief, and add value (that's a huge one). Don’t just use these communication channels to sell something or to make announcements or remind people what they need to be doing. Use it to add value to help them in their life and to help them solve their problems. Meet people where they are, which is on their devices. Connect with them and add value. All of a sudden, engagement is going to go up, attention is going to go up, and you will thank me for the results that you will find.

Your #1 fan,


Ryan Frank