Building a Community through Social Media

Mike Mage and Justin Price are joined by social media guru Vince DiGuglielmo to discuss common mistakes churches make on social media, and how to build a community online.

On Instagram: @kiptharipper


Transcriptions:

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast.

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life. I’m your host Mike Mage and I am joined as always by my co host, Justin Price. Justin, how’s it going?

Justin Price
It is going so well.

Mike Mage
Has anything happened in like the last three months that is pushed your entire world onto social media at all? Has anything happened?

Justin Price
For me personally I started a remodel three months ago at my house. It hasn’t pushed my world into social media, but it has flipped it upside down. Because we’ve been trying to do a remodel through COVID. Well, so well.

Mike Mage
Most people aren’t having to deal with remodel, but most everybody is having to deal with COVID or COVID-19.

Justin Price
Everyon’e Got their own remodel. Yeah. Way out their own thing. And there has been a lot of home home projects since quarantining.

Justin Price
Well, that’s that’s probably something that everyone is having to deal with for sure.

Mike Mage
But I, we, you and I both thought that it would be a really good idea to have someone on to talk to us to talk to churches and ministries and church leaders about social media, and you happen to work, you lead a company called vers creative, and you have a lot of great strategic thinking and action around social media, as most creative companies do nowadays, and so do churches. And so we decided to bring on Vince, I’m gonna try and try and say this, right. yep, I messed it up. But we had an awesome conversation about social media and really just kind of where to sit Your goals to begin your content creation for social media and suggestion, what do you think of this conversation?

Justin Price
For me, I pretty much like anything that Vince says he’s one of my favorite humans in the whole world. I’ve known Vince for a long time and had to fight for a long time to, to hire him to wait for him just the right time to hire him. And, you know, every account he has touched for us has been phenomenal. He just he’s so good at community management. A lot of people think about social media managing is like coming up with posts. And it’s not like he’s he is about how to get people talking and how to foster relationships on social. And, you know, I think, really, in this conversation, we just kind of scratched the surface. We ended the conversation, both of you, you and I were both like, yeah, we we’ve got to get another conversation with Vince just to share some of these insights. I mean, these are insights that are going out and they’re being sold to you businesses that have millions of followers on their accounts. These are large international businesses that Vince is managing. And he is sharing today with you guys a couple of like key insights into how he kind of approaches every single account that he’s managing. So I love it. His perspective on the church, his perspective on social is so authentic. Vince is literally made of gold. His heart is incredible. And I think you guys are gonna get a lot out of this. Well,

Mike Mage
without any further ado, let’s go ahead and get into our conversation.

Justin Price
I think if the passion for Jesus, in the passion for the church and the passion for the community, aren’t there, this is not gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen for you on social media.

Mike Mage
Welcome to the healthy church growth podcast. We have an incredible episode today about something that we all are having to deal with and that we all could get a little better at. So on our panel, Cast today we have Vince DiGuglielmo. Hopefully I’m saying that correctly.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Close enough.

Mike Mage
Yes. So Vince, Vince, how are you doing today, man?

Vince DiGuglielmo
I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me on.

Mike Mage
Yeah. So we we are having Vince on because he is a social media master over at verse creative, and we’re so grateful to have him on. So, Vince, we would love for you to just give us a little bit of background about who you are. How did you get to where you are? How did you get to what you’re doing right now? Yeah, absolutely.

Vince DiGuglielmo
So, you know, I have a confession to make. First off. So before before anyone clicks out of the podcast, I have to say, I do not work at a church and I have not worked at a church. But I have spent you know, the past eight years, eight or nine years working in social media, specifically for higher education was the brunt of my career. So I worked at the University of Toledo in social media and video as an in house team. So that was the first five years of my career which is, which was a fantastic time. We had a lot of fun. And actually, you know, one point where a division one university, so but at one point, so for two years in a row, we actually ranked in the top 20 Division One universities in the country for social media engagement. Wow. Number 14, two years in a row. It’s awesome. So yeah, our main, our main gig was Twitter. That’s where we kind of killed it. Then I went and I got my master’s degree. Because I worked at the university. I was able to do that. And the day that I took my final class submitted that final paper, Justin gave me a call and said, Hey, what are you doing? Why don’t you come work for verse creative? And I said, I got off the phone with him. I said, Man, there’s no way that I can just make such a huge life change. That’s crazy. And then the very next day, I called him back and I said, Okay.

Justin Price
The best. The best story of this is I actually followed Vince through his whole career at University of Toledo. And I would oftentimes engage and follow and like, and we would talk every once in a while, Vince and I went back. I’ve known Vince since before he started his career. And there was this one moment in his career where he had a massively viral, humongous post that went national. And I just, you know, I thought it would only be fair for the listeners to hear Vince for you to recap, you know, the story of, of changing the mascot at the University of Toledo.

Mike Mage
Oh, that’s what it was. I was gonna say was it like the blue dress white dress thing?

Justin Price
It was better than that.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Okay, good. Good. I’m gonna do this to me, Justin, you need to do this to me. Okay. Okay, yeah, let’s explore one of the greatest. One of the highest highs and lowest lows of my career that happened in about a four hour span. So, you know, when you’re working with students, you have to connect with them in the way that they communicate. So that’s what we were doing. We were killing it every day posting memes that were, you know, respectful to the university, but at the same time, entertain the students connected with them. Sure. And that’s that’s why we were so good at twitter. It was every day we were posting memes we were posting content they enjoyed, so it’s really easy to get carried away. And you guys may know, the DreamWorks character Shrek is, was pretty popular as a meme. And we I thought it’d be funny to tweet out. If this gets 500,000 retweets. We’ll change our mascot to Shrek oh my gosh with a picture of Shrek And you know, I’m thinking like, Oh, this

Mike Mage
is 100,000.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, I want to make it on the teacher. Absolutely.

Vince DiGuglielmo
But, you know, I thought it was gonna get maybe two or 3000 retweets, right? Like, this is funny, whatever it had. In four hours, it had 90,000 retweets. And it wasn’t it was not stopping. Yeah, if you want to go and look it up, you can just google University of Toledo Shrek.

Mike Mage
We are we’re gonna put in the show notes. No. Yeah. Then Yeah, we can get more people to retweet.

Justin Price
So then he got picked up on national news.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Really? I have to tell the end of the story. So yeah, it did it. Good morning, America.

Justin Price
Of course, all the time. Good Morning America had talked about University of Toledo. I don’t think Vince got credit for that. Yeah.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah. So essentially what happened was As you know, we did that with it without any sort of approval we gave heads up our, our direct supervisor saying, Hey, we’re sending out a tweet, it might get some attention. Yeah, we never imagined that it would balloon into this huge thing that was being retweeted by people across the country and other countries. Just, it just spiraled out of control. We were getting all these news requests and our our poor media, our poor media manager, she was fielding all of these all these calls and had to tell them, no, this is just a joke. Eventually, the athletic director did shut it down.

Justin Price
We had to pivot.

Vince DiGuglielmo
And it didn’t turn out the way that I would have hoped. But still, it was a fun memory. And you know, for the for the remainder of you know, I think that happened in April. So throughout the summer and into that next month. football season, you would see a few strikes at the football games. And you know people still asking what about Shrek? shrugs? So there you go. That’s my big. That was my big news debut.

Mike Mage
I just googled it and there’s very funny USA Today Toledo says its Twitter campaign to change mascot to Shrek was a hoax. Come on. What I put a bad headline that’s a bad man.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, that’s slimy. That’s not even what it was. It wasn’t a railroad. It was just, it was just a joke, man.

Justin Price
Wow. You know, so Vince has been overseeing the strategy, the social media strategy at verse for a while and he’s had the opportunity to oversee some multi million user accounts and continue this in some really cool ways. We’ve seen some amazing post in success over the years by just listening to Vince Do things that I’d never know as a creative director I’d never would have thought up I’d never would have even thought about. And, and the one thing that I would say I would give Vince the most credit for is just he has this knack for listening to what’s happening, and finding ways to interpret it into the community. And it has a lot to do with understanding the community, and building a community if you just if you’re out there listening, and you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna try something crazy like that. Maybe it’ll work for my church. I think the thing that that happened, though, that you you got to make sure you hear is that Vince had built this following this audience on Twitter for years before this thing actually happened. And so there was so much groundwork that went into something going viral like that, we oftentimes just think we see the end result thing we see the last post we see, you know, things like that. And what we miss is just all of the, the prep it takes to get your audience to that point. And so I just you know, when I think about Vince’s skills more so than his ability to do this massive viral type of a post is more about just really he’s a genius at understanding community building. And what’s funny is that we get into this on this stuff. It’s it’s amazing how simple some of the things are that that I he has done for our accounts. But but it’s just more of like, the practice and the the putting in the reps. And, and then and then just feeling out the audience and seeing how it can play out. But I’m excited for us to kind of unpack some things for churches. I hope you guys listen through this. We’ll make this a shorter episode than some of our other ones, but it’s gonna be powerful. It’s gonna be really good. Well, thanks for sharing that Vince too. I know you’re incredibly, you’d love to tell.

Mike Mage
So, so Vince, you’re obviously you do a bunch of social media stuff, and obviously in the time that we’re living in right now and this hasn’t probably changed, but just the focus from, you know, churches having to really live in social media spaces is now becoming way more of a highlight for everybody. And so I would love to just sort of get your thoughts on, what do you see churches doing right now in social media that is working maybe just from like a real broad sense? Or maybe what what are the shifts in social media? Have you seen over the past three months for churches?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Oh, wow, the past three months, I mean, the past three months have been huge, you know, with with COVID, everyone has to put a much greater focus on live streaming and really both bolstering their digital audience. And it’s unfortunately it’s kind of a thing where you know, if you didn’t have those assets to begin with, if you didn’t have a large digital following, if you didn’t have that connectedness or a person on staff who is running the social media, you see a lot of these churches kind of floundering which is unfortunate in it. But you know, one thing I do want to address I want to go back a little bit further because there are two. There are two big things to me that I see churches doing. And a lot of community based organizations doing that are against what really works on social media these days. So if you want to think about social media, really, it’s it’s our way of connecting with each other at its core, you know, human humans just want to feel connected with each other. And that’s what social media at its core really is. You know, when it started, that wasn’t so much the case it was this novel thing, where we we’re really finding out what is the identity of Facebook, what is the identity of YouTube? So the first thing that I really noticed that a lot of these community based organizations are doing wrong, which I would definitely love churches in that category is trying to go viral, staying in that viral mindset. And of course, we just spend the first You know, three, five minutes talking about that track. But the thing is, that’s not as effective before as, I’m sorry, it’s not as effective today as it was before. So you know, when YouTube first started, especially, it’s easy to call out those hits, you had Chocolate Rain, Charlie Bit me these things that everyone was kind of experiencing. But as the internet progressed and social media progressed, everyone kind of specializes what they’re interested in. They’re following the pages they’re interested in. So it’s become a cluster of tight knit communities, versus this one community that everyone’s kind of taking a part in. So really, you know, when you’re trying to go viral, you’re probably spending, you know, you might be spending a lot of time some, in some cases, a lot of money on a big production or something or, you know, something that’s just have this huge scope, and then if it doesn’t work, it’s easy to get deflated. About that, or just resign social media all together and say, well, it doesn’t, it doesn’t work for us. Yeah, we weren’t able to hit it big. When really you’re you’re missing the point. You’re not trying to hit it big on the whole internet. You know, really what you want to do is foster that community that you already have and take what you have in person and bring it online and really generate that. So you know, and even if you do go viral, I think one of the last things I saw from the church that went viral and expanded even outside of the church community, was that the drummer for what was the song Ocean’s right Yeah, uh huh. Yeah, the metal drummer, and that that went outside of the sphere of influence of the church, but that’s going viral, you know, What impact did that have? Right? Probably not much,

Mike Mage
especially it probably even more negative than

Vince DiGuglielmo
anything, you know, all that to say, you know, going viral. It’s really not the greatest moment. marketing strategy, if you want to call it that way, you know, because the impact is so low.

Mike Mage
Can you can you give us maybe like one or two examples. So obviously, you know, the drummer drumming on oceans like that went viral, but that church was not trying to go viral. So because I feel like that’s what happens is people the things that actually go viral are not the things that like people are really trying to go viral. So what does it look like if a church is trying to like, chase down this strategy that is pretty ineffective? Can you give us like one or two examples of what that might look like?

Justin Price
Yeah, I saw some I saw some like Christmas things this year, where churches really went all out on a couple of things that hit really well. At Christmas. I think Easter didn’t do well this year. I don’t know why. I don’t know why it was it was a COVID thing. The you know, the years in the past, I think some churches have done well. A lot of churches, you know, are obviously not in a position to be going after it. But I think the larger churches who are are attempting are succeeding with it. But I really, you know, more than the morality thing is is just I was kind of curious to like, Where’s your head at Mike with what Vince just said about a segment in social media escape? You know, what are you? Are you experiencing that? Do you see that as far as you know, is your social media totally different than mine?

Mike Mage
I see social media becoming like maybe it’s maybe it’s what Vince is talking about is like people just trying to go viral. So they just throw stuff up there. That seems crazy, disingenuous and like over the top, and I guess that’s, I’m not looking for that in my social media world. Like I feel like I’m I’m looking for what you’re talking about Vince and like, just genuine connection with people. And so like a lot of the things that I even tend to engage with have nothing to do with big splashy statements or super well manicured pictures or you know any of that kind of stuff like I want what you’re talking about, especially right now, where it feels like me as a nine on the enneagram but also is like an extrovert, like I need connection. So bad and I am missing out so much on just the natural rhythms of that. So yeah, Justin, I mean, like, to your point, I think that the algorithm that social media has is so smart and is so well attuned statistically to who we are as people that it’s it is technically I guess, giving us stuff that we want, but it’s probably not giving the stuff that we need.

Justin Price
Are you saying his book is segregating us? Yeah.

Mike Mage
Yeah. I think that they they understand, I mean, because there are, they are just trying to pull you in deeper to their platforms and like, that is

Justin Price
I need to get more click time like more clicks. Yeah. So they can run more ads.

Mike Mage
Well so here’s a great here’s a great

Justin Price
even sure that’s a bad thing. Sure. No and I don’t not inherently evil even though I know your thoughts on social media.

Mike Mage
Well, yeah, but like so let’s say my wife and I were sitting in bed and you know, we’re both on our phones and like my my, so my Facebook I’m scrolling through is I political posts, Good gracious. It is gear talk for praise and worship. It’s people selling their pedals and guitars, on forums. It’s stuff about worship leading or whatever, it’s stuff that I’m, you know, interested in. And then I look on hers. And she has the weirdest Facebook Like, like profile or her. What do you what do you call Grace? A certain Facebook newsfeed. Oh my gosh. We should have a list of definitions in the show notes too. But yeah, her her newsfeed is just like the weirdest crap. It is. It is like, these really strange, like kitschy videos of like, you know, dogs praying before they eat their dinner or something. Or, you know, it’s some weird news story about, you know, some kids getting abducted in Idaho or something. And then it’s like a bunch of moms trying to sell things on, like mom swap sites or something. And so like, it could not be more radically different, even though her and I probably have like close to five or five or 600 mutual friends, like neither one of us sees anywhere close to the same thing.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah. But just to answer your question from before, I mean, the things they, you know, to put it in tangible, what organizations are doing and try and go viral. It’s things like that. I mean, it’s it’s flash mobs. It’s, you know, the big, flashy productions. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you know, there’s a definite difference between Putting on a well done production service and providing that level of entertainment or value for your audience. That’s a completely separate thing continue to do that continue to create good content. But, you know, what’s the intention behind it? Yeah, would be my question. Right.

Mike Mage
Well, that’s really good. Well, what’s your what’s your second thing that you think that you know, organizations or churches are are not doing great.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Wow, I’m impressed that you remembered that was a quite the tangent. We went off on Thank you. No, thank you. So the The second thing is just treating social media like a billboard or a dumping ground for flyers, you know, your your Facebook page, your Instagram page. It’s not a cork board in the hallway. Don’t just fill it with flyers, no one. No one wants to see that. I mean, if we’re going to be honest, sure. People need that information. And I think there are Are the correct avenues to get people that information? This event is at this time, you know, where we’re having a potluck, we’re having a picnic, whatever it is. That’s important. service times are important, especially with, you know, COVID. Now, is the church open? Is it closed? Where’s the livestream? Where can Where can you view that there’s a way to deliver it so that your news feed or your Instagram feed isn’t just all fliers. Yeah, because what happens is, you know, people aren’t necessarily liking these things, right? They’re not liking, they’re not commenting. So every time someone scrolls past one of your photos, and they’re not liking and they’re not commenting, Facebook and Instagram, especially, are taking that into account and factoring that into their algorithms. So that person specifically is not going to be served your posts in the future at as high of a rate. Now on Instagram, you can actually go and see the accounts that you interact with the most The accounts that you interact with in the least it’s in your follower tab. Oh well, so you can see which ones that you’re not really getting served well, just based on the fact that you’re not liking you’re not commenting. And then overall what that does to the page is that devalues your posts for everyone. Not you know not in a huge way but you know if 90% of your audience is not liking commenting clicking anything for then overall, you’re going to have a less a smaller impact in a newsfeed tour.

Mike Mage
Okay, so how can you change that so how can you go from you know, making because I totally see what I probably see this more than the first thing that you were talking about, especially with a lot of smaller churches, you know, like, this is a way for us to contact you know, our people. This is a way for us to connect with our people. You know, as we get rid of our bulletins as we get rid of our newsletters, like, this is what we’ll just dump it all into social media, because that’s where everyone is. So what’s like the healthy balance between? What’s like the healthy balance between, you know, connecting with people, but also informing them? And is there like a better way to do that than just like a post or even a picture?

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think, you know, the easiest thing you can do is move that content to your Facebook and Instagram stories. And email, of course, you know, emails, a place where people say, Hey, tell me about events. Tell me about what’s going on. That’s where you should be sending a lot of those event based, event based communications. And then yeah, of course, the stories because when you go into stories, it deletes after 24 hours. So people who are checking out your church for the first time on social media, they’re not seeing a bunch of fliers. They’re seeing what’s actually happening. You want them to come to your page and see humans where they want to See that it’s a place where they can come and connect with other people. They don’t want to see a bunch of text that doesn’t tell them anything about who you are. Yeah. And then I would say, you know, a third option would be have your pastor or someone on your communications team to present What’s going on? You know, I think that’s okay. I think there’s there’s some transparency in that and there’s even some charm in that if you have someone on staff actually showing up and saying, hey, I want to see you at this week’s church service. I want to see you at our Wednesday night picnic like Yeah, come on down. Well, I there’s definitely something to that as well.

Mike Mage
That’s cool. What is like the so if you were to post something, not in stories, but like an actual post on Instagram? What is like a mark for you? Maybe it’s a percentage of people engaging with it. Maybe it’s like actual engagement. I don’t know how you how do you judge whether something is a good post or not? So that like I post something I was like, wow. That didn’t work. I’m not going to do that, again, I gotta pivot and do something else what’s like a good, like stat or, you know, mindset to go and

Justin Price
we call that a key performance. Hey,

Mike Mage
go. Thank you. Yes, it’s a cake the business talk. Appreciate it. Yes.

Justin Price
What what are some of the key performance indicators? Vince, for us the measuring? Yeah, I

Vince DiGuglielmo
mean, if you’re talking about Instagram, just, I think likes are huge. I know, that’s super simple. But just looking at the amount of likes, you know, we were just looking at a church client a couple weeks ago, that, you know, we were doing some social media audits and running some things for them. And I just went through their page and saw what’s getting likes. This happened to be a church that posted a lot of flyers, but also had some content with humans in it, you know, they had a lot of good baptisms. They had some events, and you could see the stark difference between the flyers and the humans. You know, when you see something like that, that trigger something and say, okay, post more humans. That’s, you know, that’s just that’s reinforcement. That’s reinforcing behavior. So, do more of that, of course shares. I think one of the biggest things for building community is if you’re tagging people in the posts, and they’re sharing it, that’s, that’s really huge. So how many shares is it getting? Comments are great, of course, I mean, those are the big three. And on the back end, as a manager, you’ll be able to see impressions too, which is great. For those who aren’t savvy and all the social media lingo, that’s the amount of times your post has showed up on a newsfeed. So it could even be to the same person multiple times that will count as multiple impressions and reach is the counterpart to that how many unique users have seen your posts, so those are always going to be helpful metrics to look at.

Justin Price
I got if we were managing account for any church and you guys If you’re a church thinking like how can we do a better job managing it? What are these KPIs? All it looks like is listening back replay, stop this right now playback, those things that Vince just said, put them into a spreadsheet. And every Monday morning, go in and just check them. Just Just check your just check those stats, and record it. And then at the end of the month, just look at everything and say, are we doing better? Are we doing worse? That’s how you know if you’re, if you’re improving, or if you are missing the boat. That’s It’s really that simple. So that’s what our like, what our team what our managers would do. And then we would just send a report back to the church and say, we’re doing better or we’re doing worse, and this is how we would prove that would be through those KPIs. And there’s something

Mike Mage
that I really liked with that too. It’s so easy for us. I mean, cuz everybody has access to social media right now. And whether you’re an organization or just a regular normal person or it’s your personal account or whatever you want when you post something like there is that instant, instantaneous thing that you’re looking for or that you want. But I think going in in from a strategic standpoint, taking a larger set of data, and then viewing that as opposed to individual posts might just at the end of the day might just help people’s like mental well being and emotional well being rather than just trying to take each post in a singular format. So I really like I love that.

Justin Price
That’s a great point, Mike. Yeah, yeah, really good. Well, hey, I you know, Vince, I just was wondering if either of you guys have any thoughts on the fact that I just I’m so tired of seeing worship pictures of like, from behind the pictures of the stage where we’re all worshiping the band and how great they are. I know that’s not what’s really happening. But it was like, I feel like so many social when I because we do a lot Have these you know, church audits and and we’ll have people say, Okay, can you tell us what, you know, what do we need to be working on? What do we need to do? It’s like I look at it’s just news. It’s it’s flyers and, and pictures from of this stage from behind somebody who’s raising their hand, which is obvious, obvious indication that it’s a phenomenal worship team. If somebody is raising their hand,

Mike Mage
that’s a question

Justin Price
I want. That’s what I’m imagining. And what I really love is when they’re the only one in the whole room, and you can tell the photographer or the whoever’s I can turn to me, like, got behind the one. That’s a bit of a tangent, but I have to,

Mike Mage
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never been in that situation at all, ever. I’ve never done that

Justin Price
not looking through your churches. If you’re in that position, it’s time to move on and time to start building some community and not just post pictures of your worship and even though your lighting guy probably did a really nice job and Probably it’s really dope. Alright, so I want to talk about influencers and micro influencers specifically. So everybody knows, for the most part if you if you’ve been alive and on social media for the last couple of years about influencers, like, you know, multi million dollar per post influencers that have hundreds of millions of followers and, and get paid tons of money to post things for brands, just the fact that I said it, some people are listening to this, and they’re like, they’re cringing, that I’m even bringing up influencers into this conversation. And I think, Mike, you might have used the word slimy. Yeah. But like so this is the world that we live in, you know, that I live in as a digital creative director is helping people’s message get out through social media, right. And so there’s two ways to do that when you’re an organization, right? When you’re a personal account. Facebook is doing all of the algorithm things that Vince just told you. If you’re a person who gets engagement Facebook, you know, allows you to get engagement. If you’re a business who posts great content that gets engagement, Facebook still doesn’t want to give that engagement away to you, they want you to pay for it, we typically will only see like, point 02 to 1% or 2% on a good day, an organic engagement without any money being spent for boosts. Yeah. And so you’re it’s a pay to play game when you’re a business or an organization. Everybody on the track with that?

Mike Mage
Yes. Okay.

Justin Price
So, so that’s why oftentimes, you know, we for most of the accounts that we run, whether it’s for a nonprofit or for profit, we always have to put in Media Buy because it’s like why are we going to spend all this time making a post and then only point 02 percent of your audience even sees it right? We need to spend 20 bucks 30 bucks 50 bucks whatever per post to boost it so that your own audience who already said they like you will actually get to see your content and that’s, that’s just the game that’s it’s a media channel, right? that’s what that’s what they built and, and good job for them for doing it. And, and both, you know, the whole engine works really, really well if you play that game, but personal people can get their message out there. And if they are engaging Enough Enough with their content that within their personal accounts, Facebook has not choked them because Facebook wants those personal organic engagements to keep happening. And so this whole undercurrent now that there are trillions of dollars being spent on digital marketing that has just been moved over from traditional marketing. Yeah, and and now that there’s so much saturation in sponsored ads, and we’re so attuned to like, sponsored ads and things like that, that used to work really, really well and we’re starting to like really drown block that stuff out mentally when we’re scrolling through our feeds. This underground this this whole market of influencing, underground kind of a way through influencers has worked really taken hold as a very effective way to sell and to get your message out there and to get brand awareness and so even to the point where we’ve seen influencers like Kim Kardashian is just the one that I always just throw out there as one that you’ve most likely heard of. Like we wouldn’t buy something from Kim because we know that she was just paid to post that and maybe and we might still buy something from him from Kim if we’re if we’re a fan and that kind of thing but

Justin Price
but like if Mike maids just like generally like promote something or casually you know, Mike, what do you have 1000 Yeah, about that follows. So we would call Mike is a micro influencer. And so from a sleazy marketing way, I just like the most valuable way I can actually get 1000 people in Mike circle to know about my brand is for Mike to post an authentic post about it, and so on. Just throwing this out there for you guys to tell me how sleazy and how wrong this is. But I think when I think about the church opportunities for growth and for marketing and for brand awareness for a church, we’ve always said that 90% of people who walk into the church know somebody else in your church, right? What I know is that like, that’s your best possible audience to like authentically, this isn’t marketing talk. This is just like real deal. If I know somebody who goes to your church, you know that relationship is the best way that you can potentially grow your church through the people who are already at your church, right? So making content that people at your church want to share is the best way to get brand awareness out there to your potential growth platform of your audience. So the potential that you have for growth is kind of highly available within the network. of the People who go to your church Yeah. And so it to me it’s like to take some of the principles of micro influencing, which is basically to supply people with the kind of messages you want out there and the kind of products you want being posted by them. And encouraging them to post on your behalf authentically would be like a ridiculous way to grow your church like a it would just destroy if you just took those principles and I know it sounds kind of slimy but I basically walked through this with another church and we looked at this exercise of like, if you took you know the top hundred most engaging people in your church, which basically means like now when when people start going to your church, you want to get their, their social media handle, and you start following them and you start franking them. And you started actually, if this was a business, this is what we would do. You know, you would rank them and you would go after your top hundred people that are going to your church and you would say Pay you get a free cup. Will you take a picture of it on Instagram when you’re drinking coffee and watching church online? Hey, here’s our here’s our new baptism shirts, here’s our new you know, shirt what this campaign or whatever Will you take a picture some cool lifestyle picture, you know in that shirt or with your family or wherever. And it would be a an amazing way to get everybody to want to wear their shirts. And this is already happening, by the way on an organic level. Like, what I’m suggesting is that we actually be intentional about finding good, you know, basically brand ambassadors and then actually delivering strategies content to them and making it easy for them to talk about us. That’s all I got to say go. What are you thinking?

Mike Mage
Oh, that’s it, Justin. That’s all you had to say.

Vince DiGuglielmo
No, so so what you’re talking about? It’s incredibly effective. There’s no two ways about it. You know, that people sharing their experience. is always going to be the most effective thing you can do to sell your organization. Now you’re talking about, you know, you’re talking about doing it in a way with the micro influencer model. And really, I would call that even astroturfing. Yeah, you’re, yeah, you’re taking that grassroots approach and kind of manufacturing it. So, I mean, to me, I, you know, if you’re listening to this and you are thinking of that is going to be a really effective method it is it is going to be. I’ll tell you, though, what excites me more than that is when it happens on its own. And you’re giving people the tools to share and reinforcing behaviors outside of a model where you have to ask them to do it. I think to me as an introvert and someone who just doesn’t generally like to impose upon anyone, asking people to share things always just feels uncomfortable to me personally. What what’s exciting is when you see a community brewing in your church or your organization, and that overflows onto social media, I think that’s the end goal. Right? So when I worked at the University of Toledo, our goal, running the main academic, Facebook page and Twitter page Instagram page was to foster the feelings that our students already had, and to encourage them to share their own experiences in a way. Yeah, yeah. I mean, they have the school spirit. So they’re posting photos. What we do when that happens is share those photos. That’s a positive reinforcement. So if someone’s doing that with your church, they’re sharing photos, you can share those photos. And what that tells them is, you know, the church likes it when I post photos, I will post more photos. So and you do that on a larger scale, you’re doing that you know, every week, maybe you know, two or three times a week if possible in the stories or on the feed. That just means that more and more people are going to be creating content around that experience. And what I’ve seen, be really effective. And this is the best really example I can share of this is there was a group of friends at my old church that I was not a part of. That’s not important. There was. There’s a group of friends of my old church that they all met at the church, they I think they were in a life group together, or you know, they just started hanging out, and they were in each other’s weddings, and they went on vacation together. And every time they posted, it was always man, I remember when we met back at church, when we met back at this service when we met back in our life group, and what a better advertisement for your church then you can find lifelong friends and real life change and do life with people around you. So I mean that what you’re talking about Justin is very effective. I’d like to take get just one step further and just say that we can foster that community overflow and bring it onto social media. And that’s where the real advertisement happens.

Justin Price
You know, I love what you’ve said, Vince, I think there’s probably a happy medium, between both. So there are certain ways where you could be thoughtful and intentional. And in try to make it available for people to be so doing things like photo opportunities inside of a building, or on your campus. Yeah. Get making it just, it’s the dip. People are taking pictures there. So if it’s the difference of just making sure that your logo or that your colors or your theme or whatever is is made easy for them, you might have twice as many pictures you might have. You know, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. That is a completely strong marketing concept we would give any business is to have a photo spot somewhere within a business. To allow people to share what’s happening there. And or to remind them, even if they don’t take a photo in front of that, they’re more likely to take a photo while they’re on your campus and geotag it into to give you more lift. The second thing, though, is Vince’s we were kind of flirting around with is is kind of a principal, we use that verse that we have been using, since the first day that I ever creative directed a service and that is Vince back back 15 years ago, when we were doing church together, and you were a volunteer. It was is this service shareable in the way we talked about it then because sharing wasn’t a social media thing then it was will people go home and talk about it? And we would do crazy things right? Like we would do some pretty insane things within the service. That way the intentionality was like, Can we do something can we push the content works trying to portray in a weird way. And so sometimes it was like art installations to, you know, to help deliver a message point. Sometimes it was like, we’re not going to we’re not going to do a conventional service structure. We’re going to pray for this, you know, local need. And we’re going to break up in this way, and we’re going to go try to do something different. Or we’re going to go do X, Y, or Z. I mean, we, we took a fresh approach so often because we were trying to say, how do we make this more? How do we make this something that is not just vanilla, and something that people just leave? And they forget. And so so much of creative directing, is trying to say, can we can we push this Can we? Can we push it any further and make it memorable? And now, you know, I’ll be the first to admit I pushed it too far on many occasions.

Justin Price
I know you’re, you’re holding back some laughing Vince and you could tell some terrible stories on bad ideas. But you know what I would rather I would rather go down as it with my creative directing, you know, career of going down on a bad idea than not trying and just playing it safe. And when you look at how much those ministries grew, I mean that that ministry when you start we, you know, geez, when we first met that ministry grew by 10 X in like, four years, that was insanity. The next ministry doubled, the next ministry doubled. I mean, just like, really, really amazing growth. And I’m not saying that it was because of me or these memorable moments, but they certainly played a factor in the growth of those of those ministries. And so anyways, that’s where I think is there is a healthy balance is to use that understand that principle and then go, have we given people an opportunity to grab a handle that they could share, have we given them a bite sized nugget that they could, that they would share that they would want to talk about, have we done anything that that has sunk in deep enough where It’s worthy of being talked about. I know, you know, Mike recorded this awesome cover of where the streets have no name. And it was like, it wasn’t the best performance of were three times no name. And I’m sorry, Mike. And I told I called Mike afterwards like it was like, but it was it was really unique. It was really fresh. It was a little it was just different enough. I think what I had been like three years since I was standing 15 feet away from Bono singing that and in the fact that like Mike took me back to that place and connected it. And that was like something that came out of his churches stream was like, so powerful that I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to tell Mike how great it was, I wanted to tell my friends like this gave and tried to cover Bono like, and he did it and he and it was successful, you know, in his own way, and it was unique. And that was so cool. And it gave me something to talk about. And obviously you know, sometimes giving people something to talk about is like really deep spiritual. Live change things and sometimes it’s covering you too. You know, it’s, it’s gonna be a lot of different things. And there’s not some like perfect formula for any of it. But this mentality of going after what you’re doing and asking yourself even just that check of like, is this memorable? Is this worthy? Like, is this even worth like? Because I think the gospel is really memorable. And I think when Jesus was like giving us a model, during his three years of ministry, he was doing a bunch of really crazy stuff. And he was changing the venue up and he’s using all of these different tools to his advantage. And yeah, maybe there’s a lot of bad things inherently about the internet. But I feel like if Jesus ministry was happening right now, he’d be shaking it up on social media. I don’t know I could be wrong. You guys can you guys can tell me I’m wrong, but that’s where I’m at. And I’m I’m sorry for getting on soapbox there. I promise I’ll be quiet.

Vince DiGuglielmo
I just want to say quick in addition to that, too, you know what what you really saying is, I think if the passion for Jesus, and the passion for the church and the passion for the community aren’t there, this is not gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen for you on social media. If people aren’t excited about what’s going on in your church, they’re not going to go online and tell other people about it. They’re not going to be posting about their experience about it. So that needs to happen first.

Justin Price
That’s true social media can never be the fabricator of the passion. Like there’s no there’s no out there’s nothing you can do no strategy that you can do to make this passion and to get that that underground, that current of excitement and share

Mike Mage
well, and I think that that’s if we’re talking about an authentic bridge to like a genuine thing. That’s where that resides in. I mean, like you can, I feel like people our age and younger, are our generation and younger, whatever millennials and Gen Z Specifically, they they know when something is fake. And I think that if you are genuinely and authentically passionate about something that comes through really well too, so that to me maybe that’s like the biggest thing that I’m, as you know, we’re talking about social media and figuring out how to make this, you know, a unique expression of what is happening in your church or in your ministry or in your organization, whatever. Maybe for me, like that’s, that’s the biggest piece that that I need to see in something that is that makes me want to engage on social media. So

Justin Price
we’d love to have that conversation more with you guys. We’d love to, you know, everybody who is listening, I would love to engage in deeper also would like to hear stories about what what people are doing to to use social media for good. I think there’s a lot of Really cool things happening in the midst of all the the baloney.

Mike Mage
Right? Isn’t that that’s that’s the best word for that right? Sure.

Justin Price
We definitely need to have Vince back on mic as well. It’s the one takeaway. I think

Mike Mage
that like this. We’re just literally just scratching the surface. So just scratch it. Yeah. Hey, Vince, is there is there one more as we wrap up here, this last thing? Is there. One more thing? Maybe just like one tiny. You know, word of advice when it comes to social media, something quick that you can leave with our audience. Stay away from Shrek.

Mike Mage
I love it. No, that’s, that’s beautiful. Well, Vince, thank you so much for being on this. And like we said, We’d love to have you back on again. So awesome.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Thank you guys. This was so fun.

Justin Price
I know that Vince is incredible. And sometimes you know when you work with somebody every day, yeah, you take them for granted. Right? You know, we don’t i don’t just get to sit down and have enough conversations with Vince. Yeah. And, man, what a great time. So much good information and knowledge. I love his heart. I love how he can take like just slimy marketing stuff and steer us in the right direction with it.

Mike Mage
Well, and I mean, like you were saying earlier, he really is, it seems like he’s made of gold. And in a world. In a world, in a world where it feels like social media, it has so much weight and darkness to it, honestly, not to get like, overdramatic but he does bring a level of heart and positivity and just the the idea that it’s there to build community is super important. So I don’t know about you, but one of the biggest things I learned is I just need to post a picture of Shrek and I think that we’re good to go. That’s that’s all it takes. Yes, yes. The only thing I took away from this so

Justin Price
in 10 years later, it’s still

Vince DiGuglielmo
Track.

Mike Mage
No context, just a little bit Shrek.

Vince DiGuglielmo
Yeah, it’ll work well,

Mike Mage
hey, if you if you liked this podcast if, if this is something that you’ve thought was valuable, we would absolutely love if you could share this with your team, if you could share this with your ministry, your your staff team at church, your friends, even your family. Sure, we’ll take that. And if you could share that with us, if you could rate this podcast, it really just helps us to helps us to not only know what’s working and what maybe isn’t working, but it also helps us to engage with you and continue to create this content for you, the church to continue our healthy growth. So, once again, thank you so much for joining us here at the healthy church growth podcast where we believe that healthy things grow and growth means life