Join Kenny today on the Church Communications Podcast as he talks with Seth Muse going over the remaining top 10 rules about church social media. These are tips that you are not going to want to miss!
Katie Allred: Welcome to the Church Communications Podcast. I’m Katie Allred.
Kenny Jahng: And I’m Kenny Jahng.
Katie Allred: We want to help you become a better church communicator.
Kenny Jahng: And this is the place we’re going to talk about strategies and best practices for your church.
Katie Allred: Let’s get started.
Kenny Jahng: Hey folks. It is that time again. It’s Friday afternoon. We are ready to go. Ready to go. I don’t know where we’re going Seth Muse is in the house. Where are we going, Seth? Tell everybody.
Seth Muse: Man, I have no idea. What are we doing?
Kenny Jahng: I’m rearing to go. I love getting together with you every single time. First of all, it’s one of those things. Let’s just explain our relationship, Seth. It’s one of those things where people say… I actually had someone last week say, “The conversation was so organic, how many years have you known Seth?” And here’s the fun fact of the day. How many times have we met in person, Seth?
Seth Muse: Less than five.
Kenny Jahng: Yes.
Seth Muse: Less than five. Maybe three, three, four times.
Kenny Jahng: It’s one of those things where the inter webs has done its thing, right?
Seth Muse: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s really cool to see… I have a lot of friends that I’ve met online that I only see a few times a year maybe, and that’s if I can get a church or somebody to pay for me to go to a conference and see everybody. It always feels like a… I always say when I go to that church conference or something like that, it’s like going to a high school reunion that you want to go to.
Kenny Jahng: That you want to go to.
Seth Muse: Yes. That’s the way it feels for me. It’s great. It’s awesome. Great community.
Kenny Jahng: That’s what I love about social media. That’s why I’m on the podcasting because today, in today’s day and age, we can do this side by side. You’re in Texas. I’m in New Jersey, and yet we are actually having fun with what we’re trying to do. And that’s help everyone out there be a better church communicator. That’s the whole purpose of this podcast. In fact, from the beginning, Katie Allred who helped co found this group… If you talk to Katie, she thinks of this group as family, and I really think that is a really great way to characterize our church communications group. It’s a big family. We’ve got almost 22,000 people in the Facebook group alone. But if you really meet each other in person at the end of the conference, events, or even offline, you’ll understand that the kinship and just the generosity between community members is fantastic.
Kenny Jahng: So if you brand new to the community, welcome. Again, my name is Kenny Jahng. I’m sitting here in New Jersey. Seth is on the other side of the map down in Texas. And again, I’ve only been down to see Seth a couple of times, but every single time, we start with a bear hug and we say goodbye with a bear hug. It’s just fantastic.
Seth Muse: That’s because we’re both bears.
Kenny Jahng: Maybe.
Seth Muse: Big bears.
Kenny Jahng: So today we’re doing part two. The whole purpose of today’s podcast is to sit down and continue the conversation we started last week, and that was to go over the 10 unwritten rules of social media that Seth has penned, put down on paper. And we went through the first five last week, and today we’re going to go through the rest of the list. Again, I hope that you guys are ready to chime in. Leave some comments in the comments below because this isn’t a definitive list. It’s just one of those conversation starters, a reflection piece, something to get the conversation going.
Kenny Jahng: Seth, why don’t you just quickly rattle off what the first five unwritten rules of church social media are?
Seth Muse: Sure. First, we said don’t like your own posts. Kind of look lame. Not to get political because it’s just not fruitful. Stay positive because nobody likes a negative Nancy, Debbie downer. Like and share as much of your people’s stuff as you can, but be careful. We talked about commenting and when it’s appropriate to do that.
Kenny Jahng: Coming from the church’s account, right? That characterization [crosstalk 00:04:14]
Seth Muse: And sharing stuff. And then we should not spam our wall. In other words, oversharing too much. So using some of the features like Carousel or posting as an album on Facebook, things like that.
Kenny Jahng: The other thing about spamming… Let’s talk about that last two thing before we get to the last five rules. There’s always debate in I think church teams and especially those that are a little bit less educated on how social really works in relationship development. But their pastors and leaders just say, “Hey, we’re only going to talk about our church stuff 100% of the time. Why are you sharing other people’s things? Why are you even tagging or commenting or interacting with other organizational accounts across town, other nonprofits, the mayor’s office, the schools? Why are you even sharing some other stuff that has nothing to do with Jesus explicitly?” Can you just share? What’s your thoughts on that, and do you have any general rule? I think it changes all the time based on context. But do you have any general rule? How much should be our stuff and then how much should be other stuff, fun stuff, topical stuff, other stuff?
Seth Muse: Sure. I mean, the rule is… It’s okay getting into our first one, number six here. But before we get to that, I want to share this. Relationships are multifaceted. There’s more than just a passing of information between two entities that designate you as friends or having some sort of understanding of relationship with each other. When you and I talk, I mean, yeah, we’re online. We’re hanging out and sharing ideas. But also find out about your kids soccer and your daughter’s school. Those have nothing to do with Jesus per se, but we talk about our faith and we talk about what’s going on in the world of marketing, et cetera. There’s just so many things that we discuss that bring us closer together in relation.
Kenny Jahng: Together. Yes.
Seth Muse: Yeah. And if you want people to have, and this is going to sound like a little bit of a stretch. But stay with me. That have a relationship with your church as an organization to feel like this is not just some faceless machine that cranks out stuff for them to consume. You want them to have a relationship, and why would you spend all that time with your voice and your branding if you didn’t have some personality that your church kind of has that attracts people to it? And it has one whether you like to admit it or not. It’s there. You may not define it or know what it is, and a lot of times it reflects some of your senior leadership and how they are. But it’s there.
Seth Muse: And when you can capture that and share that on social media in more ways than just the serious stuff, it’s a much more valuable relationship that people have with your church. So on social media, to have things that don’t have anything to do with ‘Jesus or faith, salvation’, things that the church is really about, it’s the same thing as if you went to your neighbor’s house and you just immediately hit him over the head with gospel. “Hey, welcome to the neighborhood. Are you a Christian?” It would be kind of weird. You don’t start with that. You don’t always talk about that. You work it into regular life, and I think that the church as forgotten a little bit on how to deal with regular life with all this teaching that we’ve tried to do to just remove people from the world they can’t remove themself from. And it’s in the world, not of the world.
Seth Muse: We still have to be in the world. We have to engage with it, and that’s kind of how relationships work. So the first one I had was abide by the 80/20 rule.
Kenny Jahng: Yes, rule number six, right? Rule number six. Abide by the 80/20. Let’s talk about, what is the 80? What’s the 20, Seth?
Seth Muse: The 80 is the inspire posts that are about them, encourage, share scripture, tell stories about what’s going on, share testimonies, just things that would enrich people’s lives to the direction you want them to go right there. You’re not asking them for anything. And the 20% is where you’re asking them for something, right? Sign up for an event, come to a thing, join us for a service. 20%.
Kenny Jahng: Call to actions basically, right? Call to actions.
Seth Muse: Yeah, real hard call to actions. So the deal is is that most people didn’t follow you, your church on social media because they didn’t really… They wanted to know what was going on. Now there was a lot of times I’ve learned about things that are going on because of social media. But often it’s because I see a post like, “Hey, we’re having a great time at this thing.” Oh, man. I forgot that was happening. That’s not them going, “On Sunday, July 4th, we’ll have this thing. Blah, blah, blah. And you should come and here’s the link. Here’s how to sign up. It’ll cost this much.” I mean, that’s kind of what websites are for. Just send me the website. When I want to know what’s going on, I go to a website or I’ll email somebody. I’ll look at the calendar. But when it comes to social, I’m really not there for that. It’s not one of the main reasons I’m there. And most people who follow your church are probably the same way.
Kenny Jahng: I always say it’s kind of like when you meet somebody for the first time at someone’s dinner party or at some event, are you trying to be a boring person that just talks about yourself all the time or are you trying to be dynamic and interesting and empathetic and get the read of what is on everyone’s mind right now? Those are the types of things I think, look, it is at the end of the day we are relationship managers. We’re not technologists. So social media really helps I think weed out the people that don’t get it, and then rewards the people that do. And so that 80/20 rule is great.
Seth Muse: And I think with social media, we’re realizing more and more is that it is a tool for creating relationships and culture and atmosphere and this personality of your church. It’s not there to really get something from the audience. It’s there to create something in the audience, and then when they show up at your church, it’s like they [crosstalk 00:10:23]. It’s like [crosstalk 00:10:25]. Or when they’re out at their jobs, they just get it. It’s a way to cast vision without having to say, “Here’s our vision.” It’s just so rich and versatile. But we don’t use it that way. We use it as announcements.
Seth Muse: So the 80/20 rule is just basically a simple start guide for those churches, which are many, who struggle to flip flop and do 80% announcement and 20% other stuff.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah. Absolutely. You definitely don’t want to do it the other way around where it’s 80% about call to action. It’s about me, me, me, me. Help me. Sign me up. Donate to me. Me, me, me, me, me as the church.
Seth Muse: And last thing about that, the story brand, again because this is such a good thing, people don’t look to your church to be a hero with a weakness. And if you constantly need something from them, then you’re a weak hero. You’re not a guide. You got everything for them. You’ve got it taken care of. You don’t need them for anything. You’re just helping them.
Kenny Jahng: Absolutely.
Seth Muse: When you have that mentality, it shows on social.
Kenny Jahng: Perfect. Okay. Let’s move on to the second rule we’re going to cover today, but it’s actually number seven on the list of the 10 Unwritten Rules for Church Social Media by Seth Muse. So what’s number seven?
Seth Muse: I just did a hard no automated responses. I know there are sometimes where automated response might be okay. But I just, for me in what I was doing, just none. Just don’t do it.
Kenny Jahng: Absolutely. Yes.
Seth Muse: It could go wrong so fast. There’s such a high rate of error or somebody asking for prayer and then you tell them about an event because it’s automated, and you didn’t think about that. There’s just so many things that could happen either in a messenger, setting up a messenger with a bot to respond. I mean, if there’s something like, “Hey, want to help you out. Here’s some options.” That sounds like a good idea unless someone just messages you and goes, “Hey, my marriage is falling apart. How do I get in touch with the marriage ministry?” [crosstalk 00:12:24]
Kenny Jahng: I do think-
Seth Muse: “Hey, we love you. How can we help you today?” Well, I already told you that.
Kenny Jahng: Yes. You don’t want to. That empathetic voice is not the place. Pastoral care is not supposed to be automated. Now I will say there are ways to use automated messages, especially in the face of messenger bot world that we are using with churches. However, it’s in combination with a live monitoring and pushing in there. So there’s definitely ways to do it. You’re supposed to use technology to scale personal relationships, in my view, but you’re correctly, totally true. That you should never be outed for an automated message, and that impulse to even just do that basic thanks for following us type of response… Yeah, you just don’t come off personal. It’s less intense to come off personal, but no. That’s not the best way to scale your personal relationships using social media.
Kenny Jahng: Okay. Let’s move on to number eight. What’s rule number eight, Seth?
Seth Muse: You need permission to take and post photos of kids. I know I talked about earlier sharing things that were already generated. They’ve already put it out there. So it’s a little bit different. But when they’re coming into your building, you’re taking photos of them at a professional level and using them on your website, on print materials, things like that, you need permission to do that. And I’m not sure all the rules on this. Maybe you can speak on this too. But I know that we had posted, “Hey, when you enter here, you’re understanding that there’s going to be photos taken.” That’s a good start. I still don’t know if that legally covers you. But it’s a good start. And I think whenever you do use a photo of a kid, one of the things I used to do is I would just send the photo I wanted to use to our kid’s ministry and say, “Is this a foster kid?” Because we’re a big church. Lots of kids with photos, and I’m like, “This is a great photo. This kid looks perfect for this image I want to put out for this deal on the website or whatever.” But always run it through your kid’s ministry. Is this a foster kid? Is it [crosstalk 00:14:27]
Kenny Jahng: Right.
Seth Muse: … use this. Are they even here? Is this something we have permission… And they’ll let them reach out to the family, make sure it’s okay. And once you have the family’s permission, the parent’s permission, then you can post. So it’s two steps. Check with your kid’s ministry, and if they say it’s not a foster kid, it’s good, you still make them reach out and check and then get permission.
Kenny Jahng: In my experience, what we’ve also done is we’ve also made it generally known that photography is fair game. However, you want to opt out because almost every child environment that you have in a church today comes with some sort of name tag for the kid. So what’s an easy way is if they do opt out and you don’t want to be photographed as a person or child, you typically use some sort of marker, sticker, or symbol or the simplest way is just use a different color Sharpie marker. So say everyone’s blue, you might use purple or green or something like that for the kids who don’t want to be photographed, the parents don’t want them to be photographed. So that your photographer sees that and is using that subtly as signals. No one is outed or feels self conscious when the kids are using name tags.
Kenny Jahng: And more importantly, the other rule that we’ve seen I think work well, just a general rule of thumb is that you try not be able to match a full name to a child. So you never want to show the full child first-
Seth Muse: With a name tag.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah. First and last name with the face. So you want to break that up in different circumstances. There’s ways to do it. You can always Photoshop at the end of the day.
Seth Muse: Yeah, just blur it out or something.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah. But typically you don’t want that combination because the whole point is online safety, and you don’t want a predator or somebody else trying to piece all those things together in a single photo. So that’s just the general rule of thumb. And then where there’s no permission involved, typically… Or you’re not exactly sure, using photos where it’s not their faces but backs might be groups or from the back shot into the front, and using them to illustrate that there’s an audience where they’re not the actual subject matter but they’re part of the setting of the scene. It’s a children’s environment. That usually works well. There’s tons of other ways and ideas, but I think you get the point. We just need to be sensitive for children in this day and age, and the-
Seth Muse: And that’s the point. Just be aware of how you’re doing that, have a plan to cover yourself if something goes wrong for liability, other things, just to keep safe. Keep the kids safe.
Kenny Jahng: It’s just one of those things discussion. Communication usually solves most problems. So if you’re talking about this as a team and you come to a general agreement as a team, as a general rule, and you actually codify and put in writing somewhere, in a Google Doc or some place so your volunteers are taking photos, your staff members are taking photos. Just understand that rule so that the leadership of the church sees it, understands it, and follows suit. You should be kosher. You should be safe. But the whole point is you got to plan for it, you got to talk about it, and walk through it so that everyone’s on the same page.
Seth Muse: Absolutely.
Kenny Jahng: Rule number nine out of 10. What’s the ninth unwritten rule of social media?
Seth Muse: Silence is loud. Silence is loud, and what this means is that for your social media accounts, whether it’s your pastor’s personal account, your church account, you’ll pick as a church which platforms are best for you, which ones do you want to invest in and post on. But if you’re going to do that, you have to commit to that. And it’s when you go for a while and you don’t post, it says a lot about you. It says this is not worth following. This is not a valid platform to waste my time with this church on, to interact with this church on. So many people have just posted… They’ll just buy graphics and then they don’t interact with people. If you’re not going to interact with people, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to miss all the things that go along with that. And so you might be posting even regularly but you’re not saying anything back when people respond. It’s a dead channel, and they’re going to realize it. And they’re not going to pay attention to you there.
Seth Muse: The other arc of this is if you have a pastor who wants to speak about the dangers of social media from the platform but is not involved in it himself personally.
Kenny Jahng: Pet peeve. Pet peeve.
Seth Muse: It says to the congregation or especially upperly mobile people that aren’t paying attention to this stuff, why should I listen to you about how to deal with life because a lot of my life is lived out in the digital space, which you clearly have no interest in being part of, nor do you have anything to tell me about it? You read an article about how dangerous something was, but you don’t really seem to understand it. So I’m not going to trust you. The article you read might be spot on and you’re correct. But because you don’t seem to have any presence anywhere, it actually does hurt you. I know there’s going to be an argument about that one, but I really believe that. I really think that you should be active somewhere. If nothing else, just Twitter. Just be active on Twitter. It’s the easiest one. People can at least access you.
Kenny Jahng: You have to understand the culture and the language. You can’t come up to them and say, “Hey, I’ve been on the Facebook this morning, and when I was on the… I was twittering…” You can’t use the language, Seth, incorrectly because you lose the trust of your audience pretty, pretty quickly. So that’s a great rule.
Seth Muse: I had a gif with this of Steve Buscemi. He’s dressed up like a kid, and he walks out in this locker room. And he goes, “How do you do, fellow kids?” That’s just kind of how it sounds when you get up and talk about, “Ah, hello…” And he has a shirt that says music band on it. It’s pretty funny. But that’s just the image you put forward when you try to speak about things that you have no clue about, and it’s so obvious.
Kenny Jahng: Again, one of the things that helps in this area… The rule itself is basically, hey, look, it’s 2019. We’re going into 2002. If you’re not on one platform and trying to understand it where culture is, basically 100% of the culture’s out there. You’re not on it. It’s time for you to actually do the work of trying to get closer to your audience, to your community versus just selfishly saying they need to come to you. If you really want to have that relationship with your community, you need to start to understand how they talk, how they live, how they communicate and connect with each other.
Seth Muse: And we’re not asking you to go show us your dance moves on TikTok. We’re like going, “Hey, post a photo…” [crosstalk 00:21:38]
Kenny Jahng: Wouldn’t hurt. But yes.
Seth Muse: I don’t know. It could. It could hurt some people. Damage hips, things like that.
Kenny Jahng: Yes.
Seth Muse: But man, I’m just saying post photos of we’re praying for you or post images of I’m studying for this week’s message. There’s a lot of things that pastors can post that have to do with what they’re doing that people would want to see. And they just have to get with your communication director, find out what that is. It doesn’t have to be great. They’re not expecting you to be a design guru. They’re not expecting you to be the best at social media. They just want to know you’re there and you care.
Kenny Jahng: Oh absolutely.
Seth Muse: And that you’re part of it.
Kenny Jahng: One of the things, Seth, that I actually do in coaching leaders because there’s a lot of leaders who tend to be a little bit older, and they haven’t caught on to the technology. They’re not digitally native. So one of the first things we do is we don’t teach them how to be involved in socially for their organization, for their job. What we teach this is social media for the WIIFM. You know what WIIFM is, what’s in it for me. And so I think that people who are new to social media, relatively new or haven’t mastered it yet or appreciate it but haven’t figured it out yet, the rhythms of social media, it’s because we haven’t unlocked the WIIFM for you. The what’s in it for you.
Kenny Jahng: So we typically for coaching clients find out what’s your hobbies, what’s your passions, do you like golfing, do you like cooking, do you like guitars, what do you think personally in your off time? And there’s almost any given subject there is thought leaders out there, authors, celebrities, influencers, teachers, resources. There’s a community out there at this point. There’s a long tail game for almost every single interest. Let’s get you involved in that. And you know what, I think the people on your team would respect you even more regarding social media if they knew that you were really having fun with the fly fishing community on social. If you do carpentry in your garage on the weekends and you’re connecting with other people who are making really fun and fantastic stuff out of wood. Those are the types of things where once you unlock the value of community and connection through social media, then you can start to reimagine and dream what it could do for your church and typically that’s a much more successful pathway for people who’ve never used social media before.
Seth Muse: Absolutely. And it feels more natural to do it that way too. You don’t feel like an idiot, like a poser.
Kenny Jahng: Correct.
Seth Muse: And I think that’s a big issue for pastors. We feel like we have to go out here and be this social media influence type. We’re like, no, no, no. Just please don’t do that. There’s plenty of those. Do something else. Do something only pastors can do in a way that only pastors can do it. Go. And that’s what we want. We need that in this space anyway. I mean, we need more of that kind of voice out there. So your voice is needed. It’s just don’t think that just because you can’t do it at some professional level or some other expectation that you have for yourself, just find your voice and find your group and connect with that. [crosstalk 00:24:47]
Kenny Jahng: And the rewards are amazing, right? Finding community online, the rewards are amazing.
Seth Muse: Yeah. They are.
Kenny Jahng: You’ll find friends, like Seth and I, who without social media probably would never have met each other and developed this relationship for sure. And here we’re like brothers now. So I think it’s really, at the end of the day, it’s the connections that matter. It’s not about how many followers you get. It’s not about all this glamor and glitz. It’s literally about people, relationships, and finding other people that really resonate with you and understand you and you understand them. And just have fun together. So that’s a great one.
Kenny Jahng: So we are rounding out the list, Seth.
Seth Muse: Last one.
Kenny Jahng: You put down all 10 rules. These unwritten rules to church social media. What is number 10 on your list?
Seth Muse: Spelling and grammar are super important.
Kenny Jahng: I think I’m guilty of this one.
Seth Muse: It drives me crazy. I’ve always been a good speller. I have been. I mean, that’s just something. I didn’t realize I was blessed with that, but I’m blessed with that. There was a time when I was like I think I might be a teacher, and what I wanted to go get my degree in was English and teaching English. That’s always been something. I like to read. I like literature. But a lot of people don’t have that. And we have to do things like get Grammarly, get things that can help us out because if you make a simple mistake on a disposal graphic on social media, you’re going to hear about it. And it’s going to be embarrassing. Every single time. And I know that I think even once, Kenny, there was a time where you posted something, then had a spelling error in the graphic. And I sent you a message because I’m not a mean troll and comment on it right there in public.
Kenny Jahng: Private message. [crosstalk 00:26:40]
Seth Muse: I sent you a private message to say, “Hey, man. Did you know you misspelled it?” And your response was, “I know. They’ll respond better because they’ll correct me.” Something like that. And I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I think you were just trying it to see what happened. And it was on your personal Instagram or whatever, and I was like that is so funny because it’s so true. Everyone sees a mistake, and they’re like, “Oh, I better tell them, and I better do it publicly. And I better do it first. Oh, wait, everyone’s already done that. Let me do that again just to make sure they heard.”
Kenny Jahng: I will say I’m guilty of it. It goes to this rule, and I don’t think you evoke it frequently at all. I agree with you. We need to commit to excellence as communicators because we’re representing not just ourselves but the church, the brand, the community. And we’re representing to outsiders, not just insiders. However, there is something about social media where the whole point of social media is to be social. You need to have a give and take, and you need to have space built in for the other voice. So the general rule of thumb that this I think goes under is are you making space for your conversation partner, or are you just taking up all of the air? And that goes to listicals especially.
Kenny Jahng: This is kind of like today’s list of 10 unwritten rules. The job for us as publishers, as facility managers of a community is not to be comprehensive, it’s to start the conversation. So sometimes I’ll do a list of seven rules or something or 10 things… And I’ll go back and I’ll delete one of the most critical, most fundamental rule, and I’ll leave it out on purpose because when you read a list and you see something that’s blaring, just clearly missing, you just can’t help but comment and say, “Hey, you forgot about this,” or, “You need to think about…” It just begs for engagement. It’s a little bit like an open story, like an open story loop basically.
Seth Muse: And that’s an insight into the insane or genius, thin line, of Kenny Jahng’s mind and how he works. Because it is brilliant but it’s risky as well. That’s why we get along so well.
Kenny Jahng: Look, you don’t do it all the time.
Seth Muse: We’re doing it on social media though. No, no, no, no. It’s like a one off deal. And that’s kind of like what Elevation did once. They just made the ugly post. They have all these incredible looking posts, and they make the really ugly one. And everybody was like, “What it is this?” Well, it was one of their top viewing posts of probably the whole year because they knew if they did that, it’d be disruptive. And that’s kind of an unwritten rule is disruptive works. We don’t do it all the time.
Seth Muse: But with your regular posts, though, getting back to this, the spellings are super important. The biggest one is with your, you’re and your. Sorry, there, their, and they’re and your and you’re. The different [crosstalk 00:29:35]
Kenny Jahng: It’s and its.
Seth Muse: It’s and its. Yeah. And just things like that where if you’re going to write captions, this is a copywriting kind of pet peeve. I can understand graphic design mistakes because there’s a lot going on there. But with writing English, that’s the language unique for the most part. So work hard to make sure that you’re spelling words correctly. I know there’s like [crosstalk 00:30:02]
Kenny Jahng: You don’t even have to work hard, Seth, right? The whole point in today’s day and age, you don’t need to work hard because the tool that you use is, what again? Let’s share it with everybody.
Seth Muse: Is Grammarly.
Kenny Jahng: And so tell us exactly how it works. What is it, and how does it work?
Seth Muse: There’s two different ways you can use it. One, you can just get a… What are they called for Chrome? An extension. And it reads everything on your page in Chrome, and it works with Google Docs, it works with webpages and email if you’re using Gmail, stuff like that. But there’s also Grammarly that’s got an app that runs through your entire systema a little bit more robust that you can buy. They might even have a free version of that. But it basically reads everything that you write and type and corrects it or it shows you suggestions. And it says, “This is the wrong use of the word your,” and gives you the right one. And then you can update for some of the slang words that you use a lot that are not in the dictionary but they’re words that you’re going to use a lot. Like Instagram is not in there. So I think recently they just added it in. So now Instagram capitalizes and makes it look right.
Seth Muse: But there are words that you’re going to come up with like it might just be native to your Next Steps class and you want to capitalize it. It’s going to say, “This doesn’t need to be capitalized.” Well you can either hit ignore or you can add it to your library and they know that’s a proper noun for the thing you’re doing. It learns as it goes, as much as you teach it, and then it just helps you write better copy in social media, in your emails, on your website when you’re editing, just kind of everything. Super great tool. I don’t know any other like it, and I wouldn’t know what I would do without it because even though I, like I said, I’m good at spelling and grammar, constantly is correcting my mistakes. And there’s sometimes where I’m like, “No, sorry. We’re going to leave that because I like the way that sounds better.” But it’ll change your sentence structure if you want. It just gives you good options for being professional at whatever level of profession you want to be.
Kenny Jahng: Now there is paid and free accounts. There is a free version where you can install the plug-in extension into Safari or Chrome, whatever you’re using. They actually have… I don’t know if you know this one, this is my super tip. They have a Grammarly keyboard for iOS for your iPhone.
Seth Muse: No way.
Kenny Jahng: Yes. So if you switch to the Grammarly keyboard, you actually then get the prompts for the spelling mistakes and grammar right there as you’re writing in real time. Again, it’s free. So there’s a free version. The premium versions I think are worth it, and you can see that Grammarly, the sales a couples times a year. So you can get a 50% off, et cetera. I think it’s worth it for your team. It’s definitely something that over time… And they give you stats and they give you pattern recognition of the rules that you basically have breaking over and over again. So in theory, your grammar should be getting better or at least improving your writing. But it’s definitely something that your team should have. It goes beyond just the spell check. I know Google Docs has spell check and grammar, that’s the very basic you should be doing if you’re not going to invest in something like Grammarly.
Kenny Jahng: But I think the whole rule, case in point, is we need to commit to a certain level of excellence because we are publishers. I know this is a texting culture and everything is in acronyms and everything is on the fly. You see those emails signatures that say, “Hey, I got fat thumbs. Pardon my spelling errors.” But there is some sense that from the institutional level, from the corporate church account level, that we should I think, and this might be up for debate. If you think otherwise, I’d love to hear your voice and chime into this discussion because I think, Seth, there might be some people in the post Millennial, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, Gen Z community and beyond that may think that spelling’s not a big deal anymore and that we are all in texting culture. I don’t know. But from my part right now, we have to protect and actually elevate our publishing.
Seth Muse: Yeah. I would say that I would disagree with that person that would say it’s not important because there is a level of authority that comes with being… Because here’s the deal, you put out a post that’s great and you misspell one thing in it, and somebody latches onto that who disagrees with you and is going to focus in on how dumb you are. That doesn’t mean that you’re dumb, but they can totally try to negate the other thing that you’re discussing. And this happens all the time in those threads about politics we tell you not to get into. So you say something or misspell it or do something, use the wrong sentence, they’re like, “Hey Kenny, use the write word form of your. What do you know about politics?” That has nothing to do with each other. But that’s how people think.
Seth Muse: So you got to be careful with it. Don’t give them ammo they don’t need. And I would also say that if you’re going to make a mistake, do it on purpose so that it’s disruptive Kenny Jahng style and not accidental and give them reason to think that you might not know what you’re doing.
Kenny Jahng: Well, I love the poster that you have, “Keep clam.”
Seth Muse: Yeah. It’s right here in front of me. You can’t see it.
Kenny Jahng: Yeah. Yeah.
Seth Muse: It says, “Keep clam and proofread.”
Kenny Jahng: Yes. That’s a very good rule of life to live by. So hey, why don’t we just recap all 10 rules that you’ve written down for us. The Unwritten Rules of Church Social Media. Seth, why don’t you just recap all 10 rules quickly?
Seth Muse: Okay. Here you go. Don’t like your own posts. Don’t get political. Stay positive. Like and share as much of your people’s stuff, but be careful. Don’t spam your own wall. Abide by the 80/20 rule. No automated responses.
Kenny Jahng: No, no, no.
Seth Muse: Permission to post photos of kids. Silence is loud. And spelling and grammar are super important.
Kenny Jahng: Love it. Love it. Love that list. Again, everybody, I’d love for you to chime in. What are the rules that you love that Seth has written down, these unwritten rules? What are you guilty of? Maybe you had some epiphany that you’ve been going along and liking every single one of your posts back in the history of your entire social media accounts, and you woke up today and said, “What? What’s going on?” We’d love to hear your responses, what resonated with you, what didn’t, what pet peeves do you have out there that we should add and write additional rules for this list? This is the place for you to get involved.
Kenny Jahng: Again, if you love our podcast, we’d love for you to smash that like button, leave a review so that more church communicators can learn about this resource as a podcast. And also, if you haven’t been to our Facebook group, we’ve got 21,000 peers that are ready, willing, and able to help you become a better communicator.
Kenny Jahng: Seth, I can’t just say enough about the generous posture of the people in the Church Communication’s Facebook group. If someone hasn’t heard about it yet or hasn’t been in there yet, what would be the one, two benefits or things that you’ve gotten out of it over the last year or two?
Seth Muse: Well, first of all, it’s kind of what we discussed here. There’s a networking relationship building element to it. You just meet people and you start to… You kind of know who knows what they’re talking about, and you can ask questions and they’ll chime in. It’s really helpful in that sense. But in the other, it’s like you hear people ask questions that you probably have and actually see how other’s can chime in. And it’s very much a community of support. It helps you feel like, “Hey, I’m not alone.” I think that when I was in pastoral ministry, there wasn’t really a lot of places like there are now. And I felt very much alone a lot of times. With communications, it started online, this community of building our space and really starting that group in a lot of ways. And it just feels very much like I never feel like I’m the only one going through this. And that’s huge.
Kenny Jahng: Absolutely. Absolutely. So that’s what the community’s about. I’d also like to invite you… One of the things that people have been discovering is that we actually have a store at our website churchcommunications.com/store. Here’s a little self plug. This is the place where you can actually get some mugs and actual tshirts. We’ve been seeing some tshirts show up at conferences. The one that I have just says, “Create, post, repeat.” That’s our mantra as social media. But there’s just one that I saw that a couple of people have gotten, and it’s this big shirt and it just says, “It’s in the bulletin.” It’s just one of those things that… I think it says, “It’s in the bulletin,” and there’s a subhead it says, “Been there for weeks.” And that’s the mantra that only church communicators can empathize with I think as we consult each other in doing what we do tirelessly for the gospel week in, week out.
Kenny Jahng: So if you haven’t been to any of those properties, we invite you to join us. The other thing that I’m going to invite you to… You’re going to start to hear a lot more about again is we actually have a premium group in our Facebook group. So there’s an actual premium group. It’s a paid membership group that it’s an extra level of support and attention and resources. There’s free church social graphics that are put in there every month. There’s office hours put up every month, and you’re going to see Seth in that premium group much more trying to become a really, a guide and a resource for that community because Seth has tons of wisdom, both from the marketplace and the ministry world.
Kenny Jahng: That’s one of the things I think both Seth and I have in common is that we worked in secular marketing in the marketplace, and we also worked in the ministry space for communications. And that intersection allows you I think, Seth, for both of us to see the best practices in the marketplace in the secular world out there and being able to translate some of that and bring that goodness and really filter out what’s working, what’s not, and say how do we apply this to church and ministry in this space in particular. I think that’s what gets us excited. And having I think the ability to unpack that and have more space and time with the people in the premium group is something that we just both enjoyed, and you’re going to see more of Seth in that group because he’s going to lend himself as an expert and resource to your church.
Kenny Jahng: So if you haven’t heard about it, currently it’s actually on Facebook. It’s the experimental group. There’s less than I think 30 groups worldwide that has this subscription data feature. Facebook actually has announced that they’re abandoning support for it. So we are in transition. Seth and I are moving this to our website. So there will be a more robust place because it’s a very limited. If you’re part of the group, you see it’s very limited inside the Facebook module because the product managers of Facebook started to build out this premium group feature. And they didn’t complete it, and now they’re backtracking just a little bit as they rethink their model there. So we’re going to move it out because we want to serve you guys. We’ve got I think several dozen. I don’t think it’s exactly the number. We got enough people that the conversations are healthy and robust, and it’s a place for peers to spend a little bit more intentional time with each other. So we’re really thankful that Seth is going to show up there and help us lead that conversation in a much more intentional way so that, again, the mission for us at Church Communications is to help you become the best communicator you can be for your church and the herald of the gospel.
Kenny Jahng: So Seth, thanks for chipping in in that capacity. I think it’s going to be a great 2020 as we look ahead.
Seth Muse: Yeah, my pleasure, man. Thanks for having me.
Kenny Jahng: So that’s it for this week. We’ll chime in again. Merry Christmas to everybody. I think one of the things that we’re going to take off probably a week here from the podcast. But I think Seth and I might be able to squeeze in one more roundup of the year or FAQs, maybe an AMA of some sort. If you have any questions, email me firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know what you want to hear from us as we round out a fantastic year together for the Church Communications community and the podcast in particular.
Kenny Jahng: Seth, why don’t you just leave, before we sign off for the day, what is the best way people can get in touch with you? What is your preferred social platform and the handle to reach you and connect with you?
Seth Muse: Yeah. Instagram is my Insta-jam. So find me there at Seth Muse, and I can connect with you from any other place. If you wanted to join my podcast Facebook group or whatever, it’s on Facebook. But the Instagram is the best way to do it.
Kenny Jahng: Awesome. So Seth Muse on Instagram. Kenny Jahng on Instagram. But the way, the place I’m hanging out these days is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is just on fire. So if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can look me up, Kenny Jahng on LinkedIn. That’s where I’m vlogging daily at this point. I’m trying to convince my buddy over here, where is it? I feel like… Yeah, there. I’m convincing my buddy Seth to hop into the vlogging daily world. He’s started on YouTube. You got to look him up on YouTube. But yeah, we’ll see. 2020 I think, I’ve been saying video is the new black, and we got to go all in. And I’m sure you can see both of us on video much more as we go forward. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll check you out here next week on the Church Communications Podcast.