Just sat in a webminar on the use of social media in churches, hosted by TheCity (a division of Zondervan). I wasn't as impressed by the product as I was by the representatives of churches talking about how they are using social media to reach their "market."
Churches have a pretty captive base market in the congregations. A church of 130 regular attenders knows they are going to reach that 130 people, plus potentially another 6-10 people every week that the attenders interact with. So that church, weekly, has a reach of 1300 people. That's without social media. Factor that in and the number goes to 13,000 very easily. Put 10 churches like that into play and you are covering a small city. But not all churches are doing that and for good reason. It takes focus. That's what the churches involved in the webinar were. Focused.
Each one had a single person, either paid staff or committed volunteer who's only duty was to monitor, measure and manage their social media program. As a result, their churches were growing, connected and involved in the larger community.
I run across few companies, much less churches, with that kind of focus on reaching their market. Social media is always something they know they should do, just as soon as they can get around to it. Same with public relations, market research. lead development... everything needed to make a company grow. Those efforts are always poorly funded (if funded at all) afterthoughts to the process of product development. And when it's really crucial, There is no time to do it right.
Churches, like companies, have faith that what they have is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If someone would just walk through that door, they know they can prove it. The problem is, no one can find the door in all the noise of our lives. Don't you think it's time to start pointing people in the right direction?