Should Your Church Worry About Online Reviews?

A majority of consumers research a product or service before they make a decision, but will they look up your church before attending. The answer is maybe. If someone is looking for a new church, they might ask friends what church they attend, or they might want a fresh start and begin their search on the internet. When that happens, you want to have a presence.

The first step in this process is to get yourself set up. The easiest places to get reviews are on Google and Facebook, you want to be registered on both simply so you show up on the search, but also so you are able to be reviewed. You might also consider church specific places such as FindaChurch or ChurchPick where the entire website lets you see reviews, and if you list your church you can update your page with upcoming events and add your website so that people can look at it as well.

Now that you have your review sites up, you need to get reviews. The easiest way to get reviews is to simply ask. You can make an announcement, put it in the bulletin or add it to your email newsletter. Your congregation will like having a simple way to help grow the church, and letting them know about an easy opportunity to help is all you have to do. Don’t simply mention the reviews once and never bring it up again. People might have a lot on their minds, or if you’re asking during a service they might not want to whip out their phones and do it then, so they forget. Make sure you ask a few times, it might take several discussions to make the idea stick and get people to do it. You also don’t want all your reviews to be on the same day, spacing out your reminders might also help add to the authenticity of your reviews.

Asking for reviews can be easy, the only thing we recommend you avoid is bribing people for reviews. It goes against almost all review site’s protocol, but not only that it’s just not good. This doesn’t happen often, but you need to know to avoid it.

When you have reviews you want to thank people for taking the time to offer their feedback, engage in what they shared with you. If someone brings up an issue they had, publicly comment back that you appreciate their concerns and offer a solution or tell them how you fixed it. Being engaged with your audience helps show that your church is involved, and actively listening.

While not every person seeking a new church is going to do a thorough search, you want to be prepared for those that do. Having reviews in multiple places adds to your credibility, and having all the feedback about the congregation, events, and church as a whole helps personify you instead of simply being a name that comes up when they Google search “churches near me”.

-Kristin Orr, Marketing Coordinator at BizCentral USA 08/14/17

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