Archives For Facebook

I don’t know about you but managing all my social media accounts can be a pain. If you are like me you have personal accounts, ministry accounts, work accounts, and fun accounts that all need to be kept up to date so your followers can know what’s going on.  I’ve tried many ways to keep them all in check, and a few months ago I discovered the easiest and most powerful yet — Buffer.

The first step in getting your Buffer going, is connecting your accounts.  In the free version you can connect 1 Twitter, 1 Facebook, and 1 Google + account which is great for personal use.  If you want to connect more, you can upgrade to their Awesome plan that allows up to 12 accounts, 2 users and unlimited posts for as little as $8.50 a month. This would be great if you wanted to manage your own accounts, plus those of your ministry.

Once you get your accounts connected, you can setup your schedule for posting.  On the free plan they allow up to 4 posting times a day that you can set to be what works best for you.  Once your schedule is set you can start loading your posts and can choose to post immediately or put it in your “buffer” to go out at the next scheduled time.  They also have a ton of pluggins and app hooks that make it easy to share articles and posts that you might be reading on your laptop, phone or tablet.

If you have been looking for a better way to manage your social media, give Buffer a try.

Find out more at


Social media is a wonderful marketing tool, if used correctly, but just using it to link to your website is completely under utilizing the power that social media can provide for you. Social media should not be your only way to get your content to customers, but it can provide wonderful success. Another way to get people to your website is from search engine results which can be improved through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Until recently, these were two separate marketing streams used to promote your website, but now it is possible for your social media presence to improve your search engine results. Google’s ranking is directly affected by tweeted links and Facebook shares from influential social media people as well as when it comes from multiple sources. That means if Barack Obama who is currently the third most followed person on Twitter retweets your website article on politics or fifty people retweet that same article in a short amount of time, your website will move up on the results pages at Bing and Google.

This does not eliminate good content, being an active social media user, or using SEO tools to improve your website, but it does mean that you will need to do some research on your product or service to produce better results. In future posts we’ll will look at a few ways that we can improve this social media and SEO relationship.


Jeremy Smith is a 26 year old youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Counseling in Mental Health. I have been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years and absolutely love sharing the life of Jesus with teens.

I have been married to my wonderful wife, Ashley, for two years and try to be the best husband I can be. I enjoy tennis, web designs, and reading books. A secret introvert, you will find many of my ramblings come from weeks and months of thinking about these topics and how they can help ministry today.

Facebook is a great tool for ministry.  Outside of going to school campuses, there are very few places a youth minister can go outside of the church and interact with more students.  However, Facebook added a setting which they made default that is proabably hindering your use of facebook as a ministry tool without your knowledge.

If you go to your feed and click most recent, most people assume that is everything posted by every one, but that is most likely not the case.  Click the disclosure triangle next to “Most recent” and the go down to “edit options.” Now look at the field next to “show posts from:”  Unless you have changed from the default you will notice that “Friends and pages you interact with most” is selected.

For a while, I had been noticing that I wasn’t seeing baby pictures from my extended family or my Church’s main group updates, but figured they were getting lost in the feed.  These were groups that, though I wanted to see the information, I didn’t interact with very much.  All you need to do is change the setting to “all your friends and pages.”  Then, just hide the people and pages you don’t want to see in your feed.

Simply Youth Ministry has always been about saving youth workers’ time. I too love efficiency. I want my computer to run faster. I organize files like an archivist. I even plan my calendar down to the day and hour I’m going to fill up my car with gas. Well, not that last one, but I LOVE being efficient. And the same goes for when I want to get the word out on a youth ministry event.

There are so many different social media routes to do ministry on, and you can spend/waste a lot of hours just keeping up with facebook, twitter, and now Google +. So here’s my philosophy on the proper role of social networks in youth ministry, and how to use them efficiently.

Social Networking is supplemental.

What I mean is that I believe social networking can only accomplish so much. I can keep in touch with hundreds of students, but those relationships must have a “real life” component for meaningful discipleship to occur. In other words, you have to have face time with individual students! Social networking is a bonus to, not the foundation of, a relationship. Therefore I will use social networking for a limited number of tasks.

  • sharing event info
  • writing quick notes of encouragement to students and volunteers
  • checking a student’s wall to gather info that will help me minister to them
  • making fun of students by posting pictures of them with panty hose on their heads

I really only spend 10-15 minutes a day on facebook. I see it as being supplemental to all of the other relationship building I do throughout the week. Now, how do we make it efficient?

Let technology work for you!

When I first began using social networks I would waste so much time writing individual posts for a blog, facebook, twitter etc. To be an efficient social networker you have to learn how to link accounts. When you link accounts, any information you share on one network gets automatically copied and pasted to the linked account. I began doing this with twitter and facebook. I love the brevity of twitter (you have to be efficient with 140 characters) so I linked twitter to my facebook using the facebook twitter app. Now when I tweet it instantly posts to facebook. Pretty cool huh? But I didn’t stop there…

Our youth ministry also uses the mass text messaging service SimplyText (now Communicate) from Simply Youth Ministry. When you create a text message in SimplyText you have the option to link to your twitter account. This means that every time I send a mass text message close to 300 students who subscribe instantly receive the message on their phones, and the message goes to twitter. Because my twitter is linked to my facebook account my status is also instantly updated. Plus, Simply Text allows me to set up multiple texts and assigned them to be sent at different times and dates. In one 20 minute sitting I can set up 2-3 weeks’ worth of text messages and forget about it. I know that every day for the next month close to 300 students will get daily contact from me, not to mention the 1000 people who follow me on twitter and facebook. Doing a month of social networking in 20 minutes… now that’s efficient!

Continue Reading…

For many companies, freelancers, pastors, and non-profit organizations,Twitter and Facebook might be one of only a few marketing tools at your disposal because of the fact that it is a free resource and your audience might already be participating in these social networks. It is important for companies to come across as professional, but there is conflicting advice out there on how to create a social media personality that will get your company the kind of professional attention you want.

So the question is, are you using these tools effectively or are you making a few beginner mistakes? Here are our top three mistakes made by people when they are trying to interact with customers, clients, and others interested in your company:

Not Engaging Your Followers
Do you read what people are saying about you or your products? Have you responded to comments they leave you? Do you even care about their thoughts? You should and if you are not, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to build relationships.

How should you be engaging your followers? Comment on photos they post on your Facebook page, thank them for comments they leave, respond to their @replies. Use Facebook’s Question app, poll followers on Twitter, and create a community built your account.

The lines of communication with those that follow you and you follow should be two-ways and it should start with you. Take the time to reply to your followers and let them know you’re listening to what they have to say. Engaging with this community can have long-term and lasting benefits.

Ignoring Negative Comments
One specific way of not engaging that gets its own point is that you don’t ignore negative comments directed at you or your company on social media sites. Treat every comment, positive or negative with your full attention, but in negative comments even more so should you engage the customer. One negative comment that is handled quickly and poorly could exacerbates the problem and make a fed up customer into someone who will publicly renounce you or your product. And ignoring them simply validates what they’re already feeling: that your company doesn’t care about their business.

Realize that if handled correctly, you could still come out with a new customer and even show others that you really care about their wants and needs. In some situations, a public comment followed up by a private message may be necessary, but inaction is the worst thing you could do. Sometimes just reaching out can be enough to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Not Having a Plan
A few weeks ago I talked about the idea of having a Twitter strategy, but this can easily be applied to other social media tools with a little tweaking. Rushing into marketing with social media without a plan can cause confusion, frustration, and possibly lose customers and bad reputation.

Remember, what is posted on the Internet is there permanently. If you make mistakes in your social media marketing, they can come back to haunt you. This does not mean a strategy will make you flawless, but it will be the guidelines for how you proceed with social media. A few hours of time spent now on revising your strategy to be the best it can be can prevent many more hours or days of frustration and struggling to correct mistakes in the future.

About Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is a 26 year old youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years and absolutely loves sharing the life of Jesus with teens.  You can read more from Jeremy at


Many of you liked the digital nativity video from Christmas.  Igniter video has now done one for Easter.

If you want to use it for your services, you can pick it up HERE.

Description from their site:

Throughout the course of his public ministry, Jesus knew both the adoration and desertion of the crowds. Today, just as 2,000 years ago, the gospel asks a question that demands an answer: Will we follow? This video illustrates this truth through the dynamic lens of a 21st-century social network.


Digital Story of the Nativity

Chris —  December 14, 2010 — 19 Comments

I loved this video.  Great way to image the birth of Jesus in our digital age.

I confess that I still haven’t seen the movie about facebook written by one of my favorite scriptwriters Aaron Sorkin.  I have read several reviews, and was struck by Lawrence Lessig’s insight into what amounts to a fundamental shift that has been created by the internet.  This shift has a lot to teach us about our students and our ministry.

Lessig explains that the movie missed the whole point and magic of Zuckerberg’s story.  He says, “what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone.”  I agree.  As a person who spent his adolescence in a world where the internet was just beginning to take shape, I am constantly surprised by the total lack of limits (both good and bad) that the internet provides.

I have seen this first hand (tough not nearly as lucratively as Zuckerberg!).  I have a personal blog where I post thoughts on faith, ministry, and the future of the church.  It has regular visitors from 23 countries!   I’m just some punk youth pastor sitting on a chair at home drinking sweet tea!  I love writing it, but never thought I would have that type of audience when I started posting on it years ago.

What this means for our students is that they live in a world where they do not have to get corporate financing, a publishing contract, or a record deal to make a serious attempt at their dreams.

I think that is something that we MUST capitalize on as youth ministers.  I don’t mean having a blog or a Facebook page, but helping set youth free to do something about their faith.  Instead of encouraging them to engage in the 1950s passive learner model of sitting and listening every time we get them together, we need to be giving them the kind of permission with their faith that the internet gives them.  We need to be giving them permission to fulfill Jesus’ dream of “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

I think the key to getting those students engaged is to follow the lessons from the internet:

  1. Start small and close to free.  What can you and your friends do in your spare time to make a difference?
  2. Make it social.  A cople of people working together have much more insight and potential than a lone ranger.
  3. Release the beta.  Launch sooner than later.  If it is overwhelming, make it smaller.  If something non-essential is going to delay the launch, do it later.
  4. Remind them that when Jesus gives the Great Commission in Matthew, he is both asking us to go, and giving us authority to go… just like the internet.
  5. Allow comments.  Find ways to get other people to tell you how you are doing, and what you could do better.
  6. Tap into a social network.  Students have a limited network on their own, but when they have adults on the team, they  have access to a much broader network of people and resources than they did on their own.

These are a few.  I know there are more.  Instead of resisting the internet’s no-limit posture, let’s funnel that power into the true hope for the hopeless.

Facebook New Groups

Jeremy —  October 6, 2010 — Leave a comment

Today Facebook held an event where they announced a update to their current group structure.  Looks like it will make it much easier to use. Creating groups, adding people to the group, privacy, all are getting upgrades.  The biggest improvement that I see it to chat.  I think it could be a great improvement for people using it in ministry.  I could totally see a small group creating a closed group and using the chat.

But don’t go looking for it yet, it will be rolling out over the next few weeks.

(Image from TechCrunch)

Read the whole story over on

It is frustrating to have to allow some app to compress you video or image files before you can upload them to your intended destination. Also frustrating is the cap on “over the air” uploading from your iPhone even when it is connected to WIFI. To top it all off, I like to have my video residing natively on YouTube and Facebook, but hate having to go through the painful uploading process twice. PixelPipe solves all of those problems.

PixelPipe focuses on one thing: publish photos, video, audio, text and files on over 100 online destinations. Basically that means it will put your media on every blogging, social media, and online storage site you can imagine.

Once you register for an account, you set up “destinations” like YouTube and Facebook and it adds them to your list of destinations.  Then, once you are ready to upload, you select the media you would like to upload, click upload and it does the rest (one upload to multiple destinations).  It has a 250MB cap which should make most of your HD clips uploadable; though, if you have edited them into a snazzy video, it may exceed the limit.

Its one flaw is its UI.  Once you fire it up, it is not obvious how to go about selecting which destination you are uploading to at that particular moment (you have to go into settings>edit destinations and then select “enable default” or “disable default” in a drop-down next to each destination).  It is this kind of unfriendly UI that would make you think twice before buying it, but is worth putting up with in this free version.

The bad UI aside, this app should be on everyone’s iPhone who does ministry as it allows you to easily upload media to lots of locations on the spot without having to wait until you get back in the office and have the time to sync it with your computer.

We just recently used this to upload videos of our kids on a mission trip every day while we were on the trip, and got rave reviews about our communication from parents as soon as we stepped off the busses.  Do yourself a favor and try PixelPipe out today.  There are versions available for tons of phones and operating systems (iPhone, Android, Nokia, Palm, IM clients, Windows, Mac, and Linux).