Guest-Focused Online Presence
What is the focus of your online presence? Who is your primary audience? Who are you trying to communicate with? What are all the platforms where your church has an online presence? Who is responsible for managing your online presence?
Lots of questions, right? Lots of things to consider! It might even feel a bit overwhelming. But, these are really important questions for every church to consider. Why are these so important? In today’s culture, we may never have the privilege of receiving a new person as a guest (onsite or online) if we do not first make a favorable first impression in our online presence such as the website and social media accounts. The majority of people will first check out your online presence and make a decision on whether to engage further based on those first impressions.
Here is the rub that most new people find who are checking out churches online. Too often the online presence of a church is focused on communicating with the people who are already gathered in the church. The church uses its Facebook page to communicate primarily internal events. The same is often true for websites and social media accounts. By using the online presence to primarily communicate with internal people, we are unintentionally turning off or ignoring new people.
To have guest-focused online presence, we must filter all our communication through the lens of a person who is checking us out for the first time. For example, the landing page on the website should help a new person understand who the church is, what the church offers, and how to engage with the church either online or onsite. A new person should not have to click through five pages to find out what time worship is and what to expect during their worship experience.
If you are wondering if your online presence is guest-focused or member-focused, ask an unchurched person for their opinion. You might be surprised what you would learn seeing your online presence through the eyes of someone outside your congregation.
Now is the perfect time to take a deep dive and analyze your online presence. How guest-focused or not is it? What changes need to be made to be more guest-focused? Simply changing the focus of who you are communicating with can make a huge difference in not only the messaging, but also on the number of new people your church will reach!