Russ Horner    July 11, 2016

One does not need to dig very deep through the internet to see how social media has changed the entire world, let alone marketing strategy. The list of changes to marketing tasks is a long one, but the level, speed and dependency of the of changes varies from business to business.

Through my research, I found it interesting that businesses have embraced social media differently, at different paces and with different weights. But most experts agree, embracing social media at some level is a must. Ian Altman, contributor to Forbes Magazine says, “History is repeating itself. Only instead of phone or email, we call it Twitter and Facebook. If you ignore customers on social media, it’s like not answering your ringing customer service line.”

I had a long interview with Reverend Bill Lamont, Pastor and Head of Staff at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Virginia. As an ordained minister for over 30 years, Rev. Lamont had a lot to say about how social media has changed the marketing and communication strategies of church business. “What the churches know now is they need to have a good website. The website is the face and this is what people look at first.” Rev. Lamont also reflected on how marketing communications has changed due to social media. He said, “Just 10 years ago, we used ‘phone trees’ to publicize events. I would call a couple of people, then those people would call a couple people and so on. Now we use email blasts and text messages with the youth.”

Many organizations also have different age demographics to address when developing their marketing tactics. For example, Rev. Lamont said over the years, they went from printing their newsletter, to having a combination of printed and electronic newsletters to now, where they produce electronic newsletters with only a few hard copies. “It is a little bit of a hit and miss with the seniors but a lot of the older members have computers now. You would be surprised.” And he is not alone in his observations. Dr. Jessica Kun, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Richmond Hill, Philharmonic Orchestra and Director of Music at Wilfred Laurier University says, “The kind of audience we have look at posters. In 10 years you will see a difference because (people) will be used to using social media.”.

For many other business, social media is the back bone of their survival. For Joshua Peters, Co-Founder of Blast Marketing, his business relies almost exclusively on social media. From email, the Blast website to Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, almost all marketing communications are done through social media. “Almost all of our casting calls, responses, customer feedback, event reports and administration is done through social media. We simply would not be a business without it.”

Lessons for Others

All organizations are different when it comes to how they transition to and use social media.

Each organization must identify who their customers are and decide what mix of social media and traditional marketing tactics will work for them.

Organizations must have some social media in their marketing mix in order to survive in the current electronically social environment.

Organization: Hidenwood Presbyterian Church
Industry: non profit
Name of Organization Contact: Rev. Bill Lamont

Authored by: Russ Horner

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Briton, Henry G. – USA Today. June 20, 2010. Are social media changing religion? Retrieved on July 6, 2016 from

Altman, Ian – Forbes Magazine. April 7, 2015. Why Your Business Must Embrace Social Media Yesterday. Retreived on July 6, 2016 from

Dr. Jessica Kun photo. Retrieved on July 6, 2016 from

Rev. Bill Lamont photo. Retrieved on July 6 from

Blast Marketing. Retrieved on July 6, 2016 from