If your church, nonprofit or business is looking to jump on the social media and digital marketing bandwagon, the number one thing you need to do is perform a brand audit. Maybe you’ve recently taken a position as a communication director or you’ve been managing your church’s social media accounts for the last five years. Whatever your particular situation, it is never too late to audit and measure the effectiveness of your efforts. There is no reason to keep doing something that isn’t working. If you’re not seeing results and connections online, you NEED to take the time to figure out why.
Coming from a military background I understand the concept of audits pretty well. Almost everything in the military has what’s called an AAR (After Action Review). Most likely your church sits down to discuss the success of an event or how the Sunday experience went. As creatives and communicators we should do the same. Even if you are seeing success online, you should still occasionally stop to figure out what is working and what is not.
That is where a brand audit comes in handy.
If you’re ready to take this step, make sure you are ready to put some time into it. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to pull off, but once you do it you will be glad you did.
Here are six questions to help get you started on your brand audit!
1. Does Our Brand Match Our Mission?
Nearly every church has a mission statement. Nearly every pastor would be able to easily explain that mission. Our job as communicators is explain and represent that mission. As you go through your church Facebook page, ask yourself if you are presenting that mission in a clear way. You need to be specific here. I’m not just talking about the broad brush of getting people saved, I’m talking about your church’s specific mission. If your church is targeted to young families, ask yourself if your online and print materials reflect that mission.
2. What Are the Analytics Telling Us?
Monitoring your website and social media channels is easier than ever before. For me, the hardest part was being honest about the numbers. There would be posts or web pages I would create that I thought were awesome. I spent time making every detail count, but when the numbers told me that other people didn’t like it that much, I had a hard time letting go! The numbers never lie. If people aren’t liking a specific type of post, you need to adjust. If no one is clicking a certain link on your website, you need to adjust. Be honest. If your success comes from videos, do more of them. If your congregation loves witty tweets, do more of them. Let the numbers be your guide.
3. Is Our Brand Consistent and Recognizable?
Nothing says “Hey, we have no idea who we are” than poor branding or a poorly thought out message. Your content needs to look the same across all platforms and your message needs to be heard through one voice. Consistency will help the community get a sense of who you are and what they can expect when they walk through your church doors on the weekend. Go through your websites, social media and print materials and ensure that your brand looks and feels the same and you don’t confuse your community with 18 new logos and brand colors every year. Give them something they know and recognize!
4. Does Our Online Content Serve a Purpose?
Not only do you need to make sure that your brand matches your mission, you need to make sure that your content helps you accomplish that mission. Posting without purpose is pointless. If your website is nothing more than an online flyer, you might want to look at adding some quality content that reinforces your church vision. Take a look at your site through the eyes of someone who has never been to your church. Does it tell them where to park or where to take their kids on Sunday morning? Does it accurately depict your church. All of your online content should be designed to tell people who you are and what you do.
5. Are We Reaching Our Target Audience?
There are lots of churches that are trying to be all things to all people. I’ve never been one to agree with that philosophy. There is a huge difference in the way you present your brand when you are actively trying to reach a certain group of people. You will not be very successful if you try to reach young families and single people over 65. They just aren’t the same, and often aren’t looking for the same things. Knowing your target audience is vital to your online success. When auditing your brand, make sure that the content you post and print are reaching that audience.
6. What Is Our Action Plan?
Knowing is not enough. After you’ve taken the time to audit your brand, you need to make a plan for how to fix things that are ineffective and broken. Does your website have broken links? Is your Facebook page missing your website address? Whatever you find in your audit, make a plan to fix it and get better.
This article originally appeared here.