Sector: Faith Communities Project: Social Media Audit, Same Page Content Planning Session, Social Media Strategy, Training
Sarah Best Strategy helped Friends Church of North Carolina refresh their website and church social media strategy, coordinate social media communication across 31 affiliated Quaker meetings, with an emphasis on implementing best practices in order to strengthen outreach and fellowship, while empowering each meeting to use digital marketing tools with confidence. Photo: Quaker Lake Camp
FCNC is a state-level faith organization that supports 31 affiliated Quaker meetings located throughout North Carolina. Member organizations range in size from small to medium to large and are located in both rural and urban areas. FCNC came to SBS unsure of how to best use social media to unite its member organizations, to engage young families, reach new audiences, and expand outreach. Goals for our work together were to:
Improve communication among member churches, as well as establish best practices for creating a digital presence
Provide professional development and guidance to member organizations
Teach lay leaders and Pastors to work collaboratively to plan social media content
Build a stronger and more connected community by establishing effective ways to share information across generations, without leaving anyone behind
Communicate FCNC’s missions and projects by telling effective stories with words, photos, and video
Help FCNC leaders and individual meetings gain confidence on social media platforms in order to facilitate outreach to new members, young families, and young professionals
Identify appropriate metrics with which to measure success (website improvements and analytics)
SBS identified a package of services that would help FCNC achieve their goals and objectives, empower them to shine in the digital space, and develop confidence with their digital media skills so they can accomplish outreach within their communities even more effectively.
This package included a social media audit and strategy, a website review and recommendations, and a series of webinars on digital skills, which were recorded so that they could then serve as an on-demand video training library. SBS also facilitated a Same Page Content Planning Session in North Carolina, teaching the organization’s lay leaders and Pastors how to plan digital content collaboratively, in a time-efficient and strategic manner.
Social Media Audit and Strategy
Social media audits relieve doubts about how a program is working, clarify where to go next, and provide a step-by-step roadmap for getting there. Our social media audit encompassed:
Interviews with members of FCNC’s executive committee to help clarify their vision, define what they hope to accomplish through social media marketing, and identify any challenges blocking their progress
A survey sent to FCNC’s 31 members meetings via an online survey tool to assess their current social media strengths, staffing and technology constraints (some in rural areas don’t have access to Wi-Fi), as well as the skills they would most like to develop
A review of FCNC’s Facebook account, with recommendations on how to follow best practices
A review of FCNC’s website, with recommendations on page optimization and training on best practices with regard to local and organic search
Research on the social media programs and websites of other state and national religious groups to identify models for success
An implementation plan with steps for putting ideas into action over a 6-month period
Implementation consulting support
Same-Page Content Planning and Webinar Series
Our philosophy is that strategy isn’t helpful if you can’t implement it. Thus, we often pair audits with interactive, in-person content planning whiteboarding sessions to help our clients see how the new ideas we’ve discussed translate to a new content planning workflow in very practical terms. Pastors and lay leaders worked together to define their social media plan and goals, in a time-efficient, strategic manner.
We also developed a series of virtual skill-building sessions designed to provide additional training on specific topics that we had identified as critical according to the survey results. These trainings, which covered topics like building a church website, setting up an email newsletter, writing good social media posts, and the basics of doing advertising for outreach purposes, were provided in a monthly “Lunch and Learn” series that was open both to FCNC leaders and representatives from member meetings. The series was recorded, to create an on-demand video training library that could be used across the full affiliated system.
Our work resulted in the redesign of FCNC’s website, the formation of a new communications and technology committee, and the hire of a new part-time social media person who will play a role in facilitating communication between meeting members and who will implement our strategic social media plan.
FCNC now has a clear plan for ramping up their digital presence and facilitating communication between 31 member meetings, totalling approximately 3000 members, who are united in their mission and vision, despite differing sizes, access to staffing and technology, and locations throughout the state.
Committee members have learned a process by which social media can be planned on an ongoing basis, in a strategic, time-efficient manner and have worked with us to develop a three-month content plan.
FCNC now has the tools for adapting marketing materials across diverse communications platforms—such as phone trees, bulletins, slides in Pastor’s presentations, social media, text, and email—without spending a lot of extra time. With input from youth and campus ministry, we also developed strategies and tactics to engage current and prospective members, across generations, without leaving anyone behind. These included specific strategies for engaging youth, young families, and young professionals, while also considering the way that meetings are currently keeping their elder members informed.
FCNC has learned how to put together marketing toolkits and needed resources about Quakerism, which will empower local meetings to market themselves effectively.
Lay leaders and Pastors now have the skills needed to write good social media posts, select photos and create graphics, in order to tell compelling stories about their Quaker values, their mission work, Christian education, outreach events, and more.
In addition to conducting live social media and digital marketing trainings, FCNC now has a virtual library of training videos that cover everything from the basics, such as setting up a church website and an email newsletter, to more advanced topics, such as using facebook ads for outreach.
"Sarah Best and her team really understand how social media can benefit and enhance almost everything an organization is trying to do. Sarah asked a lot of questions to better understand our organization and provided a long list of extremely pragmatic/specific ideas of how we can improve our social media, as well as internal/external communications.
Her Lunch and Learn workshops were very valuable and provided significant opportunities for interaction with our team. Sarah and her team use a hands-on approach - being both understanding and sympathetic. Sarah and her team have a vast wealth of knowledge that has been really helpful for our organization to move forward with our fledgling social media efforts."
- Jimmy Spaulding, Executive Committee Member, Friends Church of North Carolina