As I’m sure you’ve noticed, more and more churches are hopping onto Twitter and it’s becoming quite common to see the blue [T] icon in the corner of church home pages. But with all of those churches on Twitter, are they really listening? Or are they treating it as simply another way to push information out to people?
There’s only one good way to find out for sure — test them! I searched for churches in the Atlanta area that met two simple criteria:
- I didn’t include any churches that I work with. I consult with a handful of area churches on their website and/or social media, so I excluded those.
- They had to have a link to their Twitter account on their home page. I know a lot of churches have probably dabbled with Twitter a bit, but I figure if you’re going to put a link to it on your home page, you’re probably pretty serious about it.
With that in mind, I found 11 churches in the Atlanta area that fit the bill. All had tweeted at some point in the past month, and most had tweeted within the last day or two.
I have a handful of Twitter accounts that I’ve used for various things over the years (old websites, testing, etc), so I used a different account for each church so that they wouldn’t see the same message posted to 10 other churches. The message was simply:
@ChurchName What time are your services this Sunday?
I posted it around 2:20pm on Thursday, giving them plenty of time to respond before the Sunday services. Easy enough. If they’re paying attention, it’ll take them about 10 seconds to respond. So were they listening?
There were a few categories of results.
First, you had the churches that failed to reply, and in fact never even tweeted in the few days since I tried to reach them:
- Ray of Hope Christian Church – @RayOfHopeChurch
- Philadelphia Romanian Church – @PhiladelphiaRo
- Cascade UMC – @CascadeUMC
- North Avenue Pres – @NorthAvenuePres
- Rock Spring Pres – @RockSpringPres
Next, you had the churches that failed to reply, even though they posted a few times since I tried to reach them:
Next, you had the churches that failed to reply, even though they posted a few times since I tried to reach them and there were multiple tweets which mentioned them that they failed to respond to:
- Johnson Ferry Baptist Church – @JohnsonFerry
- First Baptist Atlanta – @FirstBaptistATL
- Ebenezer Baptist – @RaphaelGWarnock
Finally, we have our one winner. It’s shocking and pathetic that only one out of eleven churches even bothered to reply, but they did a great job:
Roughly two hours after I sent the tweet, I received an excellent response from them:
@CelebNewsNet This Sunday we’ll have service at 9:00, 10:30 am, & 5:00 pm. You can even watch live online at http://apostles.org.
Not only did they reply promptly and with accurate information, they told me how I could watch online. Excellent job!
So there you have it. Pretty pitiful, huh? Remember, these weren’t just any churches; they were churches that were actively promoting their Twitter account on their home page.
Resolving this isn’t too difficult. I’m guessing most of those churches didn’t intentionally ignore my tweet; they simply never saw it. There are hundreds of ways you can track this kind of thing, but here are a few to get you started:
- Tweetdeck: Keep it running on your system all the time. You can follow people you want to watch, add your Facebook stream, etc, but you can also view your mentions. That’s key, and it’s built-it.
- Social Oomph: If you don’t have screen space or enough memory to run Tweetdeck 24/7, then sign up for a service like Social Oomph. They’ll send you a daily report when someone mentions your account (or even simply your church name) so you’ll know you need to log on and respond.
What about your church? If a tweet like this came your way, would you see it?