How To Get More People To Your Church

Recently, Twitter announced some new search functionality to its bag of tricks. Where did they make the news? Where else? (See below)

 

 

When I saw this, I thought immediately of churches. Why? I recognized how it could be leveraged to attract visitors.

In a nutshell…

1) Search Twitter for certain keywords or phrases.
2) Refine that search to people that are tweeting “near you.”
3) Engage said people and invite them to visit your church.

If you like this idea, download the Twitter app to your iPhone. (I imagine it would work the same on an Android phone, but I only have an iPhone.) Once you have the Twitter app open on your phone, look for the magnifying glass.

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Click the magnifying glass and do a search for the phrase, “pray for me.” Once the results are returned, click the filter icon. (See arrow in the picture below?)

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You are presented with several choices for refining your results. Click the “More options” link.

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You are taken to a “Refine results” page. Click the “Near you” option (at the bottom) and then, “Apply” (upper right corner).

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Now, all of the search results are from people in my area. For example…

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*(I distorted the person’s name and location for the sake of their privacy.)

What “my area” is exactly, I cannot say. When I scroll through my search results, I notice that some are shown as being in my state (Georgia), others were 20 miles away from where I presently am and a few much closer.

For the sake of imagination, consider these searches:

# bored and alone
# help me lord
# too much stress
# family fun
# need church home
# need somebody
# “listen to me”

So, what do you think? I had a few more ideas but, will save them for future posts. For now, I would like to know yours. What do you think of this idea?

Jim

P.S. Although this post is centered around the Twitter mobile app, look for this function to come to the desktop version very soon. By the way, are you following me on Twitter? Are we connected on LinkedIn?

How Twitter Can Save Itself (…and make a few bucks in the process!)

Jim StroudAre you an avid Twitter user? I am. I tweet a great deal which is why recent news of Twitter slipping in popularity concerns me. I do not for a second believe that Twitter is going away anytime soon. However, from a competitive standpoint, I do not want it to slip into irrelevance (Friendster?) or battle for significance when it was once a force to be reckoned with. (MySpace?) That being said, I would like to humbly suggest to Twitter a few tweaks (and a couple of acquisitions) that might work to keep their rivals at bay. At least, for a moment or two longer.

 

HASHTAG REGISTRY

  • Set up a system whereby people can register a hashtag. I’m thinking akin to buying a domain. For example, let’s say I wanted to register the hashtag #resumeforensics. I fill out a form and pay something, really, really cheap. Say… $0.99 a month / $10.00 a year. What does this get me? When someone uses my hashtag, they click on it and are taken to a landing page that explains what the hashtag is all about and any related content (pictures, videos, whatever). They also see who are the most popular people associated with that hashtag. The owner of the hashtag gets to see traffic stats and how they rank against other registered hashtags in the system.
  • If someone wants to register my hashtag (and not just use it in a tweet), Twitter sends them a message that says #resumeforensics has already been registered and suggests other hashtags. If someone uses a hashtag that no one has registered, business as usual (as of now), just no special landing page when you click the hashtag.
  • This option could go a long way to helping people figure out what a discussion is all about should they arrive somewhere in the middle of it and give advertisers more choices. It also removes confusion should users in another country altogether start tweeting around the hashtag as well. Make sense?

FAVORITES ARE REALLY “LIKES”

  • I bet if you were to take a poll that most people would say that they use the “favorite” option on tweets as if it were a “Like” button. Why not change that verbiage? Are there copyright issues regarding that? I mean, will you get in trouble with Facebook? If so, consider other words like: Approve, “Thumbs Up,” “Good one,” Cool, Recommended or Nice.
  • Hmm… while you’re at it, maybe a dual choice is appropriate. Can I have the option to “Bookmark it” and/or “Nice it?” If I bookmark it, then I want to get back to it later. If I “nice it,” I’m just giving kudos on what someone said and do not necessarily want to clutter up my (now) Favorites list.
  • In the event you ignore my suggestions about turning favorites into likes (or the equivalent thereof), can you make it so I can sort my favorites by date and/or adding a filter so I can search my favorites? (Same way you let me filter images and links in my Twitter searches.)

MORE TWITTER FUNCTIONALITY

  • I love the search engine Tweepz because it allows me to search the biographies of people on Twitter. I would like that functionality on Twitter as well. (Or, simply buy Tweepz and add it in.)
  • In keeping with your pithy roots, how about letting me share 15 second audio bites? Since SoundCloud plays well with your system, why not buy them and fully integrate it?
  • I wrote a blog post explaining how to search for lists on Twitter. Why is there no easy way to search for public lists on Twitter? Honestly, this makes no sense to me. Lists are a great way to reduce the information overload on Twitter and help me focus. I would also suggest making automated lists for your users to choose from based on people they tweet with the most, subjects discussed, location and trending topics. I would also make list suggestions based on your “Who To Follow” algorithm.

MAKE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS EASIER

  • I have multiple Twitter accounts. I use my main @jimstroud account to discuss social recruiting and job search strategy.  I use @isearchologist to focus on search and technology in general. I have others as well. I would LOVE IT if I could log into one account and manage them all, instead of signing out of one to go into another.
  • Imagine this scenario, someone visits my @jimstroud account. They also notice that I have other Twitter profiles as well. They opt in to follow me on the other accounts. Now, when I tweet something about social recruiting, it goes automatically to my main Twitter profile @jimstroud. However, if I decide to tweet about one of the greatest TV shows ever made – 24 (or Breaking Bad or Dr. Who or The Walking Dead or… whatever) then by tweeting as per usual and adding a symbol like ^2, then my tweet will get posted only on my @isearchologist profile and not my main one. Make sense? I also would like to give someone the choice of selecting to get ALL of my tweets from each of my profiles in one stream.

TREAT USERS DIFFERENTLY

  • Okay, one last thing! I’ve read that you have a lot of changes in the wind. I will be eagerly anticipating them. No doubt more user interface changes will be gracing the web and my mobile. Why not let me choose the interface I want? For example, before rolling out your changes to the masses, give your legacy users the option to keep Twitter as it has been? (But let them upgrade their interface later!) New users won’t know any difference anyway. Make sense?
  • Also, create interfaces for certain audiences. New users get an interface whereby you mouse over a section and a help menu appears (until they turn it off). More seasoned users who are not as active on Twitter, but have been in the past, get another type of interface. Expert users, those who have been using Twitter consistently, get to pick and choose what functions they want to use on the web and on their mobiles.

Or… Maybe I am just obsessing needlessly over Twitter and my ideas are hardly worth a glance. Either way, I would love to know what you think Twitter and anyone else who stumbles across this. Leave me a comment?

-Jim

P.S. Feel free to follow me on Twitter. 😉

 

Why is @Netflix leaving money on the table?

netflix is leaving money on the table

NETFLIX IS LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE

I love me some Netflix and get a bit happy everytime I hear them expanding into new markets or their stock rising. (Need to get me some of them options by the way.) Anyway, I was binging on some “House of Cards” when an idea came to me. I think Netflix is leaving some money on the table. I have a couple of ideas concerning Netflix that I would like to share with the hope that if implemented, it would get me free Netflix for life. If the powers that be are especially grateful, some Netflix stock would be reason enough for a happy dance (or Michael Jackson “moonwalk.”)

IF I LIKE MY MOVIE, CAN I KEEP IT?

I put a lot of movies in my queue and some I do not get around to viewing. Unfortunately, some disappear from my list before I can engage them and I am denied the choice altogether. (Ugh!) This had me thinking, “what if for a few pennies more, I could “lock” a movie in my list?” In this way, should Netflix cut it from the general offerings, I still have it in my list for as long as I pay the “lock” fee. This would be on top of my regular subscriber fee, by the way. If I cancel my “lock” privileges, my locked movies disappear only as long as they are no longer available to the general subscriber audience. Make sense? I think people would pay for that, even if they are too busy to actually watch everything they are saving.

House of Cards

DON’T LET ME SPOIL IT FOR YOU, BUT THE BUTLER DID IT

“House of Cards” and “Lillyhammer” are two of my favorite Netflix original shows. Love ‘em! Mean it. I would like to tweet or comment about each episode as I watch it but, I do not want to spoil it for other people. Moreover, I do not want anyone else spoiling it for me. So, this is what I thought would be cool. Howzabout Netflix gives viewers the options to leave comments at different points of the video and call it the “Spoiler Chat” or something like that. In this way, people who have already seen a show or are watching it for the second time, can rant and rave without messing it up for everyone else. Get me? Hmm… Just in case you do not, imagine this.

Let’s say I am watching the latest season of “Arrested Development” and a certain someone says, “Say goodbye to these!” I leave a comment on the video that very moment saying, “There’s always money in the banana stand.” The only way someone would see my comments and other “spoiler chats” is to click an option like, umm… the close captioning option. By doing that… ah! Okay. I think you get me now. Annnnd just in case there is still any ambiguity, check out the video below. If you mouse over the dots, you will see comments I’ve made.

In case you were somewhat amused, click here to view more of “The Jim Stroud Show” on my YouTube channel.

Okay, back to my point. For this to work, people would have to be watching on their desktops. Umm… I say that because of all the typing they would want to do. But now that I think of it, one could very well do this on a mobile device. The accuracy and speed by which my daughter can text with her friends is amazing. I’m sure others could follow suit. But, to make it easy, maybe on the “spoiler chat” interface could be some predetermined responses like smilee faces or “you had me at hello” or “Say hello to my little friend” or, any number of famous movie quotes. Just an idea. Hmm… Maybe people could add their own canned responses?

I would think that such an endeavor would present a double benefit to Netflix. Not only do they give their customers a means to build community around content, but they also get more data to extrapolate and analyze. For example, how many people commented on the action scene verses the love scene? Do they prefer to leave smilee faces at certain scenes? Do they prefer to write original notes or use the canned responses? Maybe they don’t like the idea at all or, maybe they love it? How do they respond when an actor or director leaves comments in the spoiler chats? Does this change draw in a larger audience? So much to speculate on and of course, all fodder to help purchase compelling content for their customers. Just a thought.

I also had some ideas around how Netflix could garner an unfair recruitment advantage over their competitors. I will save that for another day.

What do you think of the above ideas? Pretty solid? Or, a waste of time? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks!

Jim

When will job boards innovate? (Part 2)

Okay, in my last post, I went on a long rant about job boards not being creative enough (in my humble opinion). In this post, I want to make a few more suggestions. Sure, it may be a “pie in the sky” kind of thought, but hey, you’ll never know if you never ask. What if at the bottom of each job posting were stats that would let the jobseeker know what is going on with the job in real-time?

For example…

We offer a competitive benefit package including health, dental & vision insurance, 401k plan, profit sharing, PTO (paid time off) & holiday pay.​ If you meet the above requirements, please submit your resume for consideration to careers@​somecompany.​com.​

  • This job has been open 12 days.
  • This job has 276 applicants.
  • So far, 3 applicants have been shortlisted.
  • Time until this round closes: 3 days, 6 hours and 42 seconds.

* Sign up for updates on this job by adding your email here: __________________

My thought is that each job could be treated like its own little jobfair. Get it? No? Okay, I’ll go a little deeper into it.

  1. Recruiter posts a job and sets a timer for the job to be “live” for so many days.
  2. During that set number of days, they will accept as many resumes as people can send in.
  3. Of the resumes they receive, they will pick out the applicants that they have an interest in. This is called “shortlisting.”
  4. When the time runs out, recruiter stops accepting resumes and will only consider the applicants they have shortlisted.
  5. If they decide not to hire any of the people that were shortlisted, they re-post the job for another period of time. (Which is why applicants who have found the job after it was closed, can sign up for updates should a new round of resumes is requested.)

So why do it like this?  Simple. The jobseeker knows where he stands and what is going on with the job at any given time. If they were among the “shortlisted” they would be notified by email. If they were not chosen to be shortlisted, then they know that as well.  They also know when a job is closed, so they can go and concentrate on another position somewhere else.

Does that make sense? What are your thoughts?

When will job boards innovate? (Part 1)

The other day I was veggin’ on the couch and flipping through my DVR to catch up on some guilty pleasures.  Just in case you are wondering, I’ll run through a few: NikitaSmallville, V, The Human Target, Chuck, House, Fringe and Desperate Housewives (again – guilty pleasure) and Samurai Champloo.


Somewhere between watching Mugin and Jin carve bad guys with their swords (Samurai Champloo) and Bree creating the perfect family meal (Desperate Housewives) I get this idea. What would it take to become my favorite TV character? The more I thought about it the more I realized how career sites and the recruiting industry as a whole were missing out on a golden opportunity.

Riddle me this Batman. When was the last time you saw something truly innovative erupt from one of the major career sites? And when I say innovative, I am not referring to a “me too.” (Oh look, Monster has a blog now! Yawn…) If you are like me then you can not think of anything earth-shattering either. If I may, allow me to make a suggestion to every career site in the world. After clearing my throat I say, “Do something different!!!”

Why not divide your jobs up in other ways than industry and company? Consider these suggestions…

1. Have a section of your site dedicated to specific television shows and/or popular movie characters. Create resumes for these characters that link to current opportunities and specific schools. For example, (Smallville fans will appreciate this) have a biography page on Clark Kent. It would include Clark’s yearbook picture, a mention of his interests in astronomy and his intention to either pursue a career as a mild-mannered reporter or, major in Agriculture and assist with the family business. Clicking on astronomy, reporter or agriculture would link to relevant job openings and perhaps college websites that offer programs in those areas.

Or better yet for the CSI fans… After watching a 6-hour marathon of Gil breaking down crime scenes, you think that you can do that (or you would at least would like too). So the next time you are job searching for a dream job, you see Gil’s picture and say I want to do that gig. How do I even get started? Who would hire me? So you click on the CSI Jobs section and you see something like this (from the official CSI website)

(Doesn’t looking at the picture put the TV theme in your mind? Hum with me… Ooooohhhh aaaaahhh…)

Inside of this fictional profile would be links to schools he attended and the jobs this character is qualified for. I think it would be worth a few bucks to advertise a position to qualified forensic scientists that are CSI fanatics. Why? People passionate about their work make better hires!!! (Jim Stroud’s Tip of the day.)

2. Although this is not recruiting related, well.. maybe it is. Howzabout a cross-promotional bringing awareness to the latest box-office bonanza? For example, Nicholas Cage had a movie out now called “The Weatherman.” Why not approach movie producers with the idea that a career site can market a movie directly to people looking for jobs in meteorology? Who better to generate buzz about “The Weatherman” than people passionate about the science of weather?

Furthermore, careersites could have a message board where people could discuss what was wrong with the science of “The Weatherman.” For example, I can EASILY imagine someone saying that “…the Doppler radar used in the first scene was not the best radar to use because that model was based on a technology two years out of date. They should have used the new Doppler 3000. Blah, blah, blah…” Okay, you may roll your eyes at someone who nitpicks over details like that but guess what? This is THE person that you would want to hire. Why? Please refer to earlier point ( People passionate about their work make better hires!!!)

Am I am being a bit naive in thinking that this is possible? Maybe career sites are perfectly satisfied with business as usual? Maybe they have already considered approaching this strategy and turned it down? Maybe recruiting and entertainment are two entities that are best kept separate?

Maybe. But I doubt it…