Jamie Golden is a freelance digital marketer that helps companies, brands, bloggers, and anyone who is trying to gain a presence on social media to frame and execute plans to do so. You can learn more about her on her blog here!
I got to meet with Jamie at Seeds Coffee Company on a chilly Monday afternoon to ask her some questions about her experience with social media and some tips for those trying to better their own social media.
How did you get to where you are today? What decisions were made along your journey and what steps did you take to get to where you are in your career?
I am a classic example of someone who had a degree in sociology womens studies and african american studies (because you study what you want to study), so I don’t have a marketing educational background. I came up in the ranks of ministry. I’ve only worked in nonprofits my whole life. I was an early adopter of all social media, so I used Live Journal early and Myspace early personally. I was in ministry, a volunteer on the board of organizations that wanted to adopt those but didn’t know how, so I became the resident expert just because I knew how to use them personally. I finally told myself I would get educated on how to really use them professionally. I made the decisions to go to conferences, attend virtual conferences, and to really get engaged by following all of the leaders of the social media marketing movement. I tried to find the people that were doing it well and educate myself on what they were doing.
What is your current/past relationship with Church of the Highlands? What contributions have you made to their social media ministry?
I currently am a member there and am on the Dream Team and also a coach of the Growth Track at the Fultondale campus. I originally helped by doing some minimal consulting with Katie Vogel, their Social Media Coordinator, and then served on the social media team for my campus. I only left to become a coach of a team at my campus. Now I do some local stuff for my campus, like creating graphics and creating things for them to use on local pages and writing content.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
Really understanding the platforms. For example, being a personal user of Periscope is different from being a brand user of Periscope, and the same is true for every platform. It’s finding out two things: what the client’s target audience is and what their objective is for every platform. Is it to sell products? To grow a donor base? To recruit volunteers? Or to just raise awareness? It’s figuring out what they really want to do and where those people are that they want to engage with. Is that a middle-aged woman on Pinterest who’s going to be most affected or is it college students that are all on Snapchat? How does that brand figure out the best platform to use and how can they concentrate on not doing it all, and how do you convince them not to do it all?
What is the most rewarding?
Social media for clients and for me is for making connections. For me personally it’s for meeting people on the internet. For brands, it’s building ambassadors – people who love your mission, love your products, or love the Gospel (whatever the case may be for your organization) and are communicating that. They’re not just followers and fans, but they’re sharing your content and engaging with you. Any time I represent a client and I see people commenting and sharing and liking and following another network that we have, I always think, “This is what we’re meant to do. We’re meant to build relationships here.”
What is a mistake you see frequently in social media marketing (overall or in ministries)?
People think they need to do all social media channels, when that’s rarely if ever true. What most organizations need to do is figure out their target audience (who is it they’re trying to reach? Who is their ideal attender to their church? The ideal buyer of their product? The ideal reader of their blog?) and where that person is on the internet. For most companies, it’s going to narrow them down easily and immediately to three networks. Every client is different. Some excel really well in a visual platform with digital media, so Youtube is their answer. Marketing-wise, Instagram has the highest user engagement of any platform, but not every business uses that. A lot of times companies will spend energy and time and money focusing on the wrong thing.
What are one or two online tools you couldn’t do your job without? Why?
I have to have a social media management tool. For me, it’s Hootsuite. I don’t live on networks, I live on Hootsuite, and it lives on networks for me. What’s great is that it helps me be most efficient; I can reply and can engage in one space on all networks for all clients.
Google Analytics is how I measure my ROI. I know my return on the time I’m investing in any one network because I’m very much looking at reports every week. I’m scouring over what’s bringing people to our website, what’s causing people to click on things. That may be Insights on Facebook for some, but any analytics tool is a must-have for anybody doing social media marketing.
What have you learned on your career journey concerning social media that surprised you?
I thought it would be (for clients and for me personally) very much a megaphone industry – that it would just be me telling people about what we’re doing and what we’re selling or when our events are and what have you – but what I found is that social media is very relationship driven. You really meet people that will go to the mat for your company in a way that very much surprised me. I’m always amazed that, when you ask people to support you, they will do it in such amazing ways. They will offer up their Facebook statuses for you as a company and that is beyond valuable. It’s more valuable than any video I could edit or collage I could curate of our product. I’ve spent a lot more time engaging with people than I thought I would. I thought I would just be writing and copying all the time and creating content when it’s really about how I engage with customers or attenders or members.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would have for a ministry leader that struggles with their ministry’s social media account engagement?
I think the key is to figure out your voice. Don’t let it turn into what you’d write in your bulletin. A lot of times people take what’s in their newsletter and just curate that down to 140 characters and let it be a tweet. I think the most successful brands have a voice on social media that’s different, very accessible, very relatable, and what’s more relatable than changing the world and the Gospel of Jesus Christ? There’s nothing more personal than that, so our voices have to be personal on social media for that same reason.
What steps might they take to find their voice?
Part of it is how they do ministry now. What do they care about? What is their church? Every church is different. Some are doing a lot of efforts in foreign missions like Brook Hills. Find out what you’re really passionate about. Is it community service? Is it Bible teaching? Is it discipleship? Narrow those down to three or four things and let those inform your voice. For example, if you’re talking about community, it needs to be a voice very filled with emotion because that’s what calls people to do missions. They need to feel connected to the story of what you’re doing. Have a voice that’s very personal, very detailed, and pull on heart strings. If you’re focused on Bible teaching and people understanding the Word of God, let it be an educational voice but in a very relatable way because you’re trying to make something that’s hard very accessible to the masses. The Hebrew and Greek were translated to English so we could understand, so we need to look at what the language is on the internet. That language is very casual, very easy-going language and you need to do that too. People are scared of that sometimes when you’re talking about the Word of God, but it’s also very personal and we have to make people understand that on social media. We have to put it on the bottom shelf for people rather than try to make them figure out what we meant in a 140 character tweet. It should be “Jesus loves you. Period.” It’s not complex and doesn’t have to have a disclaimer on it.