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LSW 9: Successful ways to Maximize your Twitter Presence

March 19, 2013 Leave a comment

I have chosen to utilize Twitter as a means of convenience, speed, and as an easy way to keep the members of Cougars for Christ informed, entertained, and communed with each and every day. In the article, “Be the Best at What, When, and How You Tweet,” the reader is given a list of 8 ways that they can be successful in converting to business on Twitter. I also compared Mars Hill Church’s (one of the fastest-growing, multi-campus churches in the United States) Twitter page with the guidelines written in the article. Because of their large success, I thought that they would be a good candidate to compare the success of their “business” with the success of their Twitter following. I found that their page met nearly every single step listed in the article. Some of the most important suggestions included “Creating Tweets that resonate,” “Keeping Tweets short and sweet,” “Tweeting often,” and “Following your interests.” Mars Hill Tweets often about subjects that their audience (Christians) will find resonating and meaningful. In addition, they also keep their Tweets very short. The article suggests that a recent study found that “Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.” The length of Mars Hill’s Tweets are about this long or shorter and contain highly engaging content, often including links to graphics, sermons, and videos. The number of suggested daily Tweets ranged from 3-4. Mars Hill’s Tweets follow this guideline, and they also follow their members and potential members, fulfilling the articles requirement of “following your interests.” This article was very insightful when implemented within a church’s Twitter account, proved to be very successful.

Word Count: 274

LSW 8: Creating a Marketing Plan for a Ministry

March 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The one thing I have learned repeatedly regarding this project (that I had neglected to recognize before) is that church and ministries must market. Though many do seek to increase their size, financial status, and reputation, ministries should be seeking to market their own assistance and resources to the public. By using social media, churches can gain the interests of their followers and in turn, meet their needs. I have found two articles that lay out both a general social media plan and a plan that is specific to Twitter for churches to follow. In the first article, “5 Step Plan for Social Media Ministry,” John Saddington reviews the fundamental basics that one should know both before and during their social media endeavors. The five steps include: Knowing your audience, choosing your platforms and people, do it, get off of the computer, and metrics. The article, though basic, suggests that the administrator do all of the aforementioned in order to maintain a successful social presence and through this, will yield knowledge of the community, congregation, traffic increases and decreases, relationships within the congregation, etc.

The next article, “A Social Media Strategy: Twitter” shares a more in-depth coverage of the reasons behind using Twitter to reach an audience and how it can be done. The part of the article that I found most engaging, however, was the part that was reserved for the author to give examples of their own personal “Twitter goals” for their ministry. They included: “Gain 300 followers a month with a target audience of active users who have similar interests and do not follow too many other people, Sponsor six Tweet chats through various partnering ministries, like YouthMin.or, and Make at least 50% of tweets some sort of free resource or conversation starter.” I found both of these articles to be great resources in creating a social media plan for my own campus ministry.

Word Count: 318

LSW 7: Appropriate Rhetoric for Campus Ministries on Twitter

February 26, 2013 1 comment

I chose to analyze Notre Dame University’s campus ministry’s Twitter page for insight into the appropriate language projections for my authentic client, Cougars For Christ. I was surprised to find that their site’s posts were written in neither Standard Edited American English, nor Standard Academic English, but a tasteful mixture of the two. Never once did I note any grammatical errors in their posts. The poster’s authority remained intact, due to their upholding of conventional grammar practices and language usage; however, they were still able to present the information needed by using shortened versions of sentences and acronyms that are prevalent in Social Media (such a Facebook and Twitter) jargon. For instance, one post reads, “Our first Freshman Retreat of 2013 was a huge success! If you haven’t gone, be sure to register 4 the March retreat!” The purpose of using “4” in this instance instead of “for” was to shorten the message, allowing it to fit within the “tweeting” parameters. Normally, this would bother me, but since the site’s administrator has previously used such precise and correct grammar in their posts, their credibility stills remains even after they have used the number 4 incorrectly. I think that this is important to note, because it reflects the ministry’s audience, college students. They are both educated (or at least bright enough to be accepted into Notre Dame) both grammatically and social media wise. They will understand the usage of conventional grammar and the reasons behind the jargon and acronyms used. This page sets a great example for my ministry to follow, as their audience directly correlates with ours.

Word Count: 266

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Analyzing Lipscomb University’s Campus Ministry’s Facebook Page

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

I chose to analyze Lipscomb University’s campus ministry’s Facebook page, and in doing so, I found that their first twenty or so posts, comments, and likes provided great insight into the organization’s values. They have used the social media business equation very well, implementing information, entertainment, and interacting, all of which helped them obtain great feedback and participation from both their members and nonmembers. They publish a smorgasbord of varying posts, including uplifting videos, questions for their audience, upcoming events, articles, free music downloads, and more. They are very involved in community outreach, and it can be inferred through their posts about the “Project Homeless Connect,” “Best Buddies of Tennessee,” and “The Family Foundation.” They post significant and relevant information on their page that is of interest to their audience and have obtain a great response. They also have other Facebook pages, splintering off of this one that are wholly dedicated to their local mission work, international justice mission work, Student Government Association, and Department of Education. This is a very informative page that does a great job tending to their students’ interests and in turn, they receive a large amount of participation and feedback.

Word Count: 203

Adjusting your Grammar and Rhetoric to your Agenda

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

I believe that the correct usage of grammar and mechanics is always important when addressing an audience by way of a public outlet; however, the most important things to observe that dictate one’s message are the audience and the message, itself. It is a common assumption that Facebook and Twitter accept more unconventional styles of grammar, such as emoticons, acronyms, and the lack of punctuation, while professional sites such as LinkedIn require the use of proper grammar, spellings, and punctuation. I would argue that even on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it is always important to pay attention to the way in which you present your message. If you deliver a message that is on a level of importance to you, your audience will be more willing to take it seriously if they can see that it was written with care. Your rhetoric, punctuation, grammar, etc. will convey the level of care that you have for your message. Proper mechanics also reveal your intelligence to your audience, making your arguments more believable and credible. In Shain E. Thomas’ article, “Social Media Should not Hinder Writing,” he quotes Charlotte Hogg ,who supports this argument, asserting that “For many, proper or conventional grammar is a sign that the person is taking care with their message for their audience, and so it’s important to know when to write more casually for social networking and when to follow the traditional conventions of Standard English.” However, professional sites like Linked In, I will argue, do not always have to follow conventional grammar codes. For instance, if you are interested in obtaining a job with creating web pages, it is important that you illustrate to your audience (or potential employer) your knowledge of HTML codes and computer lingo. The same can be said for any field in which you need to display your knowledge that cannot be illustrated using traditional grammar. Conclusively, I believe that both writing in conventional grammar code and in unconventional ways, such as using computer lingo, are acceptable. However, the most important thing to remember when deciphering between the two is your audience and your message.

“Social Media Should not Hinder Writing” 

Word Count: 355

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Appropriate Social Media Usage for Ministry

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

For a college ministry, the most important facet of a social media page is the amount of response given to individuals who post on its page. There seems to be no set amount of posts that are generally acceptable (other than the standard social media expectations. i.e. posting more on Twitter each day than on Facebook, etc.); however, the articles that I have read all seem to say that responding to those who are either in the ministry or outside of it is vital. Posts on Facebook and Twitter may be made up to several times a day, but the important part of the Facebook-ing and Tweeting process is to listen to your audience.

In his article, “How to Optimize your Twitter Ministry Presence,” Darryl E. Bozeman provides his audience with a list of ways that they can optimize their ministries’ involvement with Twitter audiences. He suggests to first begin by sharing and listening. “Tell others about your Vision, Mission, and what your Ministry has to offer. […]Hear what people are saying. Hear with both your naturally and spiritual ears. There are a lot of individuals just looking for someone to listen. Becoming a Ministry on Twitter that is able to hear the people is invaluable.” He also advises to always respond. “Follow-up, quick replies, retweets and responding to request shows people that your Ministry is listening.”

Cascade Hills Church, a large local church, does a great job on their Facebook and Twitter pages of announcing events, sharing inspirational ideas, and responding to their followers’ questions and comments within a timely manner. They follow a generally accepted social media conduct while seeking to promote their ministry while giving proper feedback to their audience. They post 1-2 times on their Facebook page per day and about 3-5 times per day on their Twitter account. Their Facebook page can be seen here:http://www.facebook.com/CascadeHills?fref=ts

Word Count: 308

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Authentic Client: Cougars for Christ

January 29, 2013 1 comment

My authentic client is Cougars for Christ (also known as C4C), an on-campus ministry here at Columbus State University. My husband, Will Borin, is the campus minister for this organization. Cougars for Christ was started as an outreach to college students on CSU’s campus in 2003 and has since grown to an organization that not only helps student’s “own their own faith,” but also provides for several charities and is active in assisting those in need within the Columbus community. Certain “buzzes” or “trends” in the campus ministry industry include reaching students by way of video presentations, sharing scripture through Bible apps, and by offering ways to serve others with time rather than with money (a poor, Christian college student’s preference).Cougars for Christ has its own Facebook page, website, and YouTube channel; however, I believe that we should also incorporate a Twitter and a Pinterest page to enlarge the ministry’s means of sharing encouragement, scripture, and ideas for future meetings, merchandise, and apparel.

Our current “competition,” if you really must call it that, is other campus ministries, such as The BCM and Chi Alpha. Both ministries are using Facebook or Twitter to promote their organizations and to obtain feedback from others. http://www.facebook.com/groups/2200474118/ and https://twitter.com/BCMLife illustrate how social media has improved the communication and outreach of these different campus ministries. Cougars for Christ’s preexisting homepage is open for the students to post anything that deem appropriate as it relates to the group, whether it’s a group invitation to a sporting event, a word or video for encouragement, or even a personal request for prayer or community. C4C’s Facebook page can be seen here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/127271094033101/391731507587057/?notif_t=group_activity  Though it serves a great purpose for communicating among its member’s, I believe that Twitter and Pinterest would assist this ministry in encouraging and obtaining even more followers.

Cougs

Word Count: 302

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