Oftenly I am asked about the inconvenience of going on-line, specially in social media, since the audience is very widespread. And when I receive this kind of question I usually respond quite the same. Communications it is not ONLY about Social Media or going on-line exclusively. This is just a part of it, even not the biggest part of it!
Communications it is a much wider topic than just being on Facebook or Twitter. We need to ask ourselves why do we want to communicate, what we will communicate and to who we want to reach.
As a church, we want to attract people physically to our churches, in other words, we want real results in a real world, but this is not always that obvious. In Spain I remember we started a network of radio stations which grew very fast in only a few years. With the growth, the differences arrived. Not everybody had the means to produce local content, and needed a livestream to feed their transmissions. Others, didn’t feel comfortable with a strict grid of broadcast from the network and wanted more freedom and space for their own productions. At the end, due to additional technical issues, we decided to make the productions available for the local radio stations on-demand, and letting each local station to build up their own grid on their own needs.
The facts are those: When you have local content, the public response increases. When you have a wider scope content, the local response decreases. But, how can we apply this to Internet and Social Media?
Believe it or not, it is quite the same. Geotagging the posts, pics, videos, and using hashtags related to local physical places (here in France, such as #eiffeltower, for example), you will target the audience who is either, related and interested in the topic, as well as those who are close to you, because they live there or just they are on transit.
Off-line means work the same. If one church wants to promote any activity, to build up the relevance of the activity you will have to choose the right moment (social sensibility for the topic) and the right means. Here in France we have La Maison de l’Esperance, a project for the Cities, which has tested this initiative in the last weeks and they have seen an increment in the attendance of public.
The advice was simple: You do a lot of things, and the media must know it. But do not target “Le Monde” or “Le Figaro”, but those small newspapers which remain really local, because they bring news relevant to this particular side of the city and their inhabitants read it all through, not like the “big” newspapers. They tried and the results came in days. Not huge results, but in some cases they doubled the audiences.
Local churches might try a combination of Glocal content. It will always be necessary to participate in great campaigns and initiatives, promoted by the Union or Division administrations, but also, they need to promote those and their own activities locally, using geotagging each picture, video or update, using local hashtags, and at the same time creating press releases for the local and humble media, newspapers and radio/tv stations.
Give it a try, let’s remain Global and Local at the same time. Let some room for your own local audiences, which are more easily engaged than large audiences with generalist contents.