Tagsocial media

Facebook – the Ultimate Word-of-Mouth Tool

In a recent survey on synagogue marketing that I conducted, Jewish leaders said word-of-mouth is their most effective marketing technique. In the same survey, they admitted that while they have Facebook pages, they mostly can’t say whether Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild is worth their effort.

Word-of-mouth is successful because it’s a marketing message from the most trusted source: someone you know. (Admittedly, not everyone I know carries the same amount of trust.)

Facebook, with its extensive friend networks and ability to communicate personally and honestly, ought to be the ultimate word-of-mouth tool.

If you’re a synagogue executive director or a leader of any non-profit, some of these ideas might help you get more out of Facebook. (Feel free to ask me for help!)

Make Facebook more effective in a synagogue, membership organization or non-profit
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Marketing the Shul: What’s Working and What Needs to Work

Presented to The Future of Jewish Non-Profits Summit, July 11, 2011, Chicago, Ill.

When it comes to synagogue marketing (and very possibly marketing churches, too), technology is trumped by the old stand-by: personal contact. Paid newspaper advertising doesn’t seem to work well, and the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of social media.

As a lifelong professional communicator, and former president of Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah in Wilmette, Ill., I constructed an informal survey (using Google Docs) which I sent to Chicago-area synagogue executive directors and randomly selected rabbis, as well as Conservative synagogue presidents on a national listserve.

Facing competition from the Internet, iPads, the golf course and other non-religious distractions synagogue leaders are eager to find marketing techniques that will engage current members and attract new people, without draining the temple’s resources.

What’s working and what isn’t

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Experts explain the benefits of blogging for business and education

Why Blog?

By Jonathan Lehrer
Editor, MrCommunicator.com

My ego has been a bit underemployed lately. (By “lately,” I mean since I was the P.A. announcer at Niles North High School in Skokie in 1971.) So today–Feb. 1, 2011–I am giving my ego a birthday present: A blog, with the ego-feeding title of “MrCommunicator.”

(Please don’t tell my ego that about 10 billion people have treaded this ground before me.)

From left: Joe Weber, Chris Ruys, Wally Podrazik, Jill Stewart, Scott Meis

From left: Joe Weber, Chris Ruys, Wally Podrazik, Jill Stewart, Scott Meis

So for my first official post, I reached out to journalism profs, writers and professional communicators to muse about why people bang away at the keyboard when they could be enjoying Craig Ferguson. Or, better, sleeping.

  • Wally Podrazik says people blog because they have to.
  • Jill Stewart says she blogs because she can.
  • Joe Weber sees blogging as a way of living out a fantasy.
  • Chris Ruys uses blogs to promote her business.
  • And Scott Meis says a blog is a form of “personal brand positioning.”

Chris Ruys, owner of Chris Ruys Communications, Inc., a self-described child of the ‘60s, points out that most of what she’s learned is “out the window” in these days of social media.

Chris blogs “to share the new rules of marketing, PR and communications with my subscribers, friends, followers and connections.” While she runs her boutique PR firm–which she aims to promote in via the blogosphere–Chris still finds time to write for two blogs: “Getting Social” (about social media tools) and her newest online endeavor, chrisruys1on1, a subscriber-based blog with tips, tactics and advice on social media, public relations and communications.

What Chris is doing is “personal brand positioning,” in the view of Scott Meis, a Digital Group Manager on Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact team.

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