Day one of the Lenten photo-a-day project is winding down. For those of you who care about stats, here are the stats from when we first shared the project online [2/8/13] mostly through yesterday [if info was available], as of the publishing of this post:

  • 1,064: people who have signed up to receive a daily email or text reminder
  • 351: new facebook page likes from 2/8-2/11 [no advertising other than tweets, fb shares]
  • 1,000+ shares of the article on fb
  • 119: new twitter followers
  • 120: twitter mentions
  • 1,100: twitter clicks
  • 84: RTs
  • 11,005 page views of this article about the project [9,678 unique views]

So what have I learned?

  1. People want to connect if you invite them to. It does’t take much. Really.
  2. Ideas will spread if they’re worth spreading.Tweet it, facebook it, tumblr it, pin it and they will come. Or at least look. And hopefully, share.
  3. The church has to find ways to engage culture. The photo-a-day thing may be played out but sometimes tried and true methods still  have some stickiness. What other ways can we engage culture? Social media is teaching us how. Same stories, different channels.
  4. The church can engage culture by bringing something to add/respond/reflect. Lent. Who celebrates that, anyway? We do. We are finding new ways to think about and rethink traditions and practices and we’re inviting others to do the same.
  5. Crowdsourcing sometimes takes your idea from good to fantastic. If conversations on facebook didn’t start about ways to receive a daily reminder about the word/phrase of the day, we wouldn’t have done it. Thanks, Adam.
  6. Give folks a little more than they ask for. Because of the great response to the added feature of daily reminders on text and email, I had to ask what else we could offer. Even though the photo-a-day was reflection enough for some, others wanted more. The daily theme is accompanied by a verse and a bit more to chew on, via a link to our tumblr site.
  7. When we work together, great things happen. Not equating this project with you know, world peace or anything, but when you can get folks in mainline denominations and beyond to participate, well, that’s kind of a big deal. Getting tweets and facebook kudos from colleagues who I know online and off, saying that this project has gone viral is not any sort of feather in my hat, but is more a testament to the ways that we are finding ways to connect with one another in spite of and despite our denominations not always initiating collaboration.
  8. Track everything. How else are you going to prove a project like this was ‘successful’? Until organizations understand that social media is important, that it does have value in a communication strategy and is a valid way to engage, evangelize [you know, share God’s love and be welcoming and all that] and be pastoral [in my context], you will always have to back your anecdotal evidence with numbers. I’m using analytics from facebook, twitter, sproutsocialsignal [for email/text] and google analytics to keep track of what’s happening.

So that’s the end of day one. In writing this, my phone has been blowing up with twitter and instagram notifications. Back to work. And yes, that’s my photo-a-day today. Or my day, rather.

P.S. I forgot one of the most important learnings: YOU NEED A TEAM.