Ministry and Communication Upcoming Trainings

A training update for Unitarian Universalist congregational leaders and friends, plus a Facebook Live session on Friday.

Today it is hard to separate MINISTRY + MEDIA + COMMUNICATION.  I’m constantly talking with leaders and no that the communication demands on congregations are significant.  You don’t have to figure this stuff out alone.

Over the next three months my Leading Congregations Monthly trainings are on related themes.

 

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

This Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm EST – 90 Minute Training
5 Essential Twitter Strategies for Congregations! 

Twitter is my favorite social media platform and is a powerful tool for outreach, sharing our voices and values, and leading on the issues of our time.  Our focus will be on strategies to support outreach and membership development, connecting with your local community, and bringing visibility to your advocacy and witness efforts.

Existing members: Access via our member area
New members:  Learn more and enroll here

Friday, May 10th at 12:30pm EST  – 20 Minute Facebook Live
The Future of Facebook and Meaningful Community

This Friday I’m going live in my UU Planet Leaders group to discuss the implications of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent presentation on the future of Facebook.  I’ll discuss their intensifying focus on Facebook groups and helping people connect with “meaningful communities” online. Preview on my take: We need to be countercultural and use digital spaces to get people into face-to-face communities, like your congregation.  And we need a clear digital path to do so. Here’s the link to Friday’s Facebook Live video stream player.  I’ve already scheduled it. You can go to that link then click the button to be notified when I go live.

Know someone else who would appreciate this conversation? Forward this message to them.

Leading Congregations Monthly Summer Schedule
REMINDER: All sessions are recorded and available on demand in our member area.  When you subscribe you can join the live sessions and watch recordings.  Learn more.

Wednesday, June 12th at7pm EST
Congregational Communication Audits
What are they, why they need to be conducted, strategies, resources

Wednesday, July 10th at at 7pm EST
The Ministry of Communication
Staffing, coordination, and collaboration

Wednesday, August 14th at at7pm EST
Training Greeters (Sunday Greeters)
What they need to do, know, how many to have, other considerations

Have ideas for trainings or Facebook Live discussions I can offer to support you and your congregation?  I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me.

Thanks!
Peter

Help us identify and retweet your UU climate march photos!

Want to get your photos into the climate march twitter feed, as well as retweeted by national UU Twitter accounts?  Here are two tips.

1. Tweet your photos and include one or more of  the following hashtags.

Hashtag for the march:  #ClimateMarch
Hashtag for faith contingent: #KeepersofFaith
Hashtag for our national UU climate justice  campaign: #Commit2Respond

Including these hashtags will insert them into the top twitter streams for this event.  People will see tweets with these hashtags even if they aren’t following you.


2.  Tag major UU accounts in your best UU climate photos

A great way to get great Unitarian Universalist climate photos retweeted by national UU accounts, including mine, is to tag our accounts in your Twitter photos.

When you add a photo to a tweet via the Twitter app, before you send it,  you can click a link below the photo to say who is in the photo.  You can tag up to ten users in photos this way.

I’ll be actively retweeting photos on Saturday so make sure to tag photos with @UUPLANET.  Also consider tagging your top pix with @commit2respond @UUMFE @UUA @UUSC @UUWorld.

In addition to tweeting your photos, make sure to add them to this national UU shared Google Photo album.

Below is a screenshot of my iphone with a photo being tagged.

Event: UU Social Media and Membership Growth – May 16, Framingham, MA

UU Framingham MAFriends, if you want to rock your social media and grow your congregation come the Fall, join me on May 16th for a day-long training at our UU congregation in Framingham, MA.  We have a tiny window to infuse our teams with new ideas, intention and skills if they are going to be ready to implement come the new church year.   Now is the time — I know, we haven’t even been to the beach yet!  I say, come to the training and then THINK ABOUT IT on the beach. Oh yes, that’s the way…

It is time to register, we’re just two weeks out.  I know you like registering last minute but that tends to freak out the hospitality team of host congregations.  If you know you’re coming, register today. Okay?

Details and registration:

UU Social Media & Membership Growth  – May 16th in Framingham, MA

Peter BowdenI’ve said it before, but it is important to repeat…   Today we need to be intentionally integrating our social media, visitor greeting and other membership development efforts.  If we don’t,  we’re in trouble.

Thanks to technology the path to membership is moving increasingly online.   How many people visit your website before visiting?  Around 100%.  And now people are wanting to explore your social media and check you out digitally for a while to judge you before they visit. That’s right, they’re judging you based on what you’re online presence and identity.

Potential members are  increasingly making a decision about your congregation based on their digital experience, and then and only then, if that’s good, they’ll visit in person to confirm you are what you’ve said you are online.

Increasingly you need to be helping people pre-qualify themselves for membership online if you want them to visit and join in person.  I was just guest preaching on this and a newcomer (4th visit) reported keeping an eye on the congregation’s website for a YEAR, a whole year, before feeling like the match was good enough to try it in person.

And your existing members?  They are bombarded with information via multiple communication channels.  How do you get them to hear you and to not drift away?  We’ll discuss all of this in more in one very full, exciting and useful day…

Peter Bowden speaking at event

These trainings have gotten rave reviews and have been catalysts for congregational teams to take their social media to a whole new level, especially if your minister comes with you.  You can’t communicate well with the world if your minister isn’t communicating with your media ministry volunteers.  So, bring a team and get a 2015-2016 upgrade for your communications and membership growth strategy.

Details and registration:

UU Social Media & Membership Growth  – May 16th in Framingham, MA

What’s that you say?   Are these events being lives streamed?  No,  but I will be turning the content into text and video resources. Make sure you are subscribed to my Leading Congregations E-Newsletter to be updated as they become available.

In cooperation,
Peter

UU Gotta Tweet at #UUAGA video Crash Course

Update:  If you’re watching this in 2016, remember this year’s GA is in Columbus, OH.

Friends, I told people using the UUA’s mobile General Assembly event app that I’d make a quick tutorial on how to get started on Twitter.  Here it is!

In this video I walk you through the process of setting up a Twitter account,  connecting with UUs on Twitter, and a few basics on hashtags.   This is not a comprehensive training, it is just intended to help you set up a Twitter account before General Assembly.  You can learn during GA and in the #UUsGetSocial workshop series.

I look forward to seeing you in Providence, RI next week and on Twitter.  Once you’ve created your account, make sure to follow me at @UUPLANET.  I will also be announcing new UU social media events for the Fall shortly, ranging from Colorado Springs, CO to Providence, RI.

In cooperation,
Peter

UU Social Media Year in Review for 2013

Like - Social Media

Here are a some thoughts in response to Rev. Daniel Harper’s The year in review: UU social media in 2013. I’ll share more thoughts when I have time. Thanks for kicking off the review, Dan! ~ Peter

BLOGGING
We’ve discussed the issue of UU clergy vs. lay person blogging in the UU Growth Lab and most agreed that the ease of sharing ideas and engaging in discussion in topical UU groups has taken some of the energy away from public blogging. While it is great to have these forums, there was some worry expressed in having these conversations moved behind closed doors.

FACEBOOK OUTREACH & DESIGN
There’s been amazing UU outreach done over the last year via social media, especially on Facebook using combinations of striking visual images and quotes. The biggest contributors have been the page (featured in UU world this Fall) & , and Thomas Earthman’s I AM UU page.

TWITTER
There continues to be growth in the number of UUs and UU congregations on Twitter. The UUA’s twitter account now lists:

128 UU Ministers
50 UU Religious Educators
279 UU Congregations

I don’t have stats on the counts from previous years, though I’ve logged these numbers for future comparison.

Hashtags: Though they are now more mainstream, I don’t see many Unitarian Universalists using them well.  Some do, but not overall.  There’s huge potential to bring our congregations, clergy and other UUs on Twitter into larger conversations using hashtags.  Hard to say if it is lack of technical understanding, or simply lack of intention to reach out.

Gini’s Twitter Lesson: At the UUA’s 2013 General Assembly then moderator Gini Courter gave the full plenary a brief Twitter lesson.  It was great to see this attention brought to social media at GA.

VIDEO
The UU video site I curate, http://www.unitarianuniversalism.tv now has over 2450 UU videos. Alas, many are poorly filmed, and are designed for viewing by existing members chained to their pews. Unless someone is already a member or friend of the congregation, you have maybe 3 to 5 seconds to grab their attention. Many of the sermon videos posted online take 3 to 5 minutes, an eternity for a web video.

Also, many congregations are not titling their videos or tagging with keywords which reduces their value. Titles, descriptions and keyword tags will greatly increase the reach of the videos UUs are presently producing.

I’ve had many inquiries from congregations wanting to take their video to the next level (or to start filming) in 2014, which is encouraging. I still advocate for starting with an awesome podcast and periodic video messages designed for outreach (a message from your minister speaking directly to viewer online), and then getting into video of sermons.

PINTEREST
There are approximately 20 active UU congregations and UUA accounts on Pinterest. A search for “Unitarian Universalist” results in ~35 related boards. Numbers are approximate as some appear to not have been used since creating some time ago.

GOOGLE +
I’m getting circled more often by UU’s but I don’t know if people are really using Google+ more or are just being forced to create accounts to use Google services.  As for congregations, a search for Unitarian results in ~90 UU congregations (with profile photos) on Google+.  Searches for Unitarian Universalist yields fewer number, and Universalist fewer still so  “Unitarian” seems best for tracking the trend at this point.

What are your observations on 2013?
And your hopes and dreams for UU Social Media in 2014?

Share your comments on Dan’s post at
The year in review: UU social media in 2013.

Announcing Jan 4th, 2014 Social Media Intensive for Congregational Leaders

Like - Social Media

Friends, on January 4, 2014 I will be leading a social media intensive for congregational leaders.  This event is being held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, AZ.   If you are a minister, congregational staff or volunteer interacting with human beings in the United States with internet access and mobile technology,  this event is for you.   Registration is open nation-wide. Hope you can join us!   Full Details & Registration ~ Peter   

Social Media for Ministry, Outreach and  Membership Growth with Peter Bowden

January 4th, 2014  *  Tucson, AZ

Oh yeah!  Join us...

Social media is fundamentally changing how people form relationships, consume information and make important life decisions.  This has significant implications for congregations, from  how we share our news and announcements, to how we invite people into membership. For our congregations to thrive in the 21st Century, we must understand these changes and learn to use the communication tools of our time with purpose, skill and integrity.  Join us for this day-long social media intensive for congregational leaders!

Event Location
Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson
4831 East 22nd Street Tucson, AZ 85711

Event Sponsors
Special thanks to our sponsoring congregations and the Rev. Charles Gaines, my mentor,  for helping to make this event possible.

Testimonials

“Peter’s passion for social media communications and Unitarian Universalism is contagious. His vision for our future is something we need to learn and embrace.” – Don Southworth, UUMA Executive Director

“Peter provided our team with an opportunity to learn together about social media giving us a common understanding of the benefits and costs of utilizing it. His enthusiasm for social media is infectious, making us feel not only that implementing it is possible and perhaps inevitable as our world continues to evolve.” — Sara D., Church Administrator, Cedar Lane UU Church.

“Peter’s training on Social Media was clear, instructive, and interactive. He is dynamic, engaging and brings an enthusiasm to his sessions that is contagious. I recommend him highly.” — Mark Bernstein, Regional Growth Development Consultant, Central East Region of the UUA