I have written and spoken previously about the drastic changes we have experienced in the way we purchase products these days. Online sales of all types of products and services increases every month and should continue to grow for the foreseeable future. I know that my personal buying habits have trended to more and more online purchases. My family even orders our groceries online to be picked up at a convenient time!
What drives our confidence that the products and vendors we buy from online are trustworthy and reliable? I don’t know about you, but I carefully read the specifications to make sure the item is what I need and then I immediately read the reviews from previous customers. I trust the stories and experiences other people have had with something that I can’t touch, taste, or smell to help me make my decision to buy or pass. What does that sound like to you, is that what we are asking people outside the church to do?
The Church is asking people to invest their heart, souls, and might into a faith story that we can’t touch or see, and to say our society has become cynical is quite the understatement. It’s hard to blame people for their skepticism when controversy and evil swirls all around us, and unfortunately, even in our churches. Just like testimonials online help assuage our fear of making a bad purchase, sharing our stories of how trusting Jesus Christ has changed our lives can help overcome the cynicism and skepticism of our friends and family.
How does the church use reviews and testimonials to build confidence with a skeptical audience?
Many of you have been sharing testimonials in worship for years which is great for the people in your service! But, what about the people that you are trying to reach that need to hear these stories. They aren’t sitting in your pews, so how do we reach them with these personal stories of healing, hope, and transformation? I believe there are three key strategies that can help us reach people outside our church with these important testimonials.
First, we have to get our people’s testimonials communicated on all our external channels. The most important digital channel is our website, our communication hub online. The preferred media to present testimonials online is video. Video stories capture the emotion and humanity of the story and will have the most impact on viewers. If your worship testimony was presented live and you don’t have quality, video/audio recording equipment, then there are alternative methods. There are apps you can use to capture video testimonies, stories, or other video responses to questions/survey and will upload them to your website. Check out one here, http://boast.io/?aff=9TVK4Z8M, that offers a free trial so you can see how it works (contact me if you want to learn more).
Or you can record the testimonial using your smartphone, but I highly recommend you use a lapel microphone plugged into your phone and do some editing of the video to make the finished product look high quality. If video is totally out of the question, then create a blog page dedicated to testimonials and allow your people to write their own stories for publication and include a picture if possible.
Second, the next most important digital channel for sharing your worship testimonials are your social media platforms. Again, since social media is a digital channel, the most effective media to use is video. If you have video and you have already followed strategy one above, then you simply connect to your video on your website. Instagram doesn’t allow links in their posts and limits video to 1 minute or less, so you can include a shorter video or a picture-and-post and include a link in your profile directing viewers to click there for more. Once again, if you don’t have video capability, then use your social media as a micro-blog platform and include pictures to let your people tell their stories.
Third, the most important strategy for communicating testimonials outside the church walls is getting your church folk to share them. And, if you have completed strategies one and two above, then we have created an easy avenue for your people to share these stories on their social media accounts. It is critical that we create a culture where our people understand that their role is to share stories and testimonials, where appropriate, in their circles of influence. We can help fuel this culture by making testimonials and storytelling a priority not only in worship, but in all the ways that we communicate.
I think telling your stories via personal testimonies is a critical component in building trust and credibility with a skeptical public. ChurchCMO is committed to helping churches tell their stories and create a culture where people are sharing stories. Let us know how we can help your church.