How do you listen to the congregation? Do they send emails to express their thoughts and feelings about the current state of your church? Do they text you? Post comments on your blog? Or is their silence?

I had the opportunity to attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference last Monday in San Francisco where I attended several workshops on using social media in your “listening” campaign. Although the lingo is a little bit different in the nonprofit world, this concept of using technology and social media to truly “listen” to your constituents is a wonderful concept that we can all embrace, whether in the for-profit, nonprofit, or faith-based world.

Here are several comments that were made during the sessions:

“Any organization should have someone designated to ‘listening’ via social media.”

“If you don’t watch (and listen) you don’t learn.”

“It’s not about page views on your website, it’s about people integrating content and sharing it.”

“Listen, learn, and streamline in order to adapt to what’s changing in order to obtain better results.”

Here are a few other tips for social media strategy:

  1. Be present (online).
  2. Define brand by “being” what your mission is.
  3. Be proud of what you do, but don’t “say” it, be it.
  4. Be authentic.

Social media experts confirmed that some of the most valuable places to be online are Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

Here are some additional ideas I had during the workshop to help open communications with people at my church using social media:

  • Start a Facebook group
  • Start a Facebook cause
  • Monitor blog posts (of members, local orgs, pastors, etc.)
  • Use Google Alerts to track comments on web

These are just a few suggestions to get you started in better “listening” to your attenders to improve and hear the needs of your congregation and beyond. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!