Marketing Pitfalls: Using Full Names

We live in a digital age. There’s no denying that we are tied to technology. Digital gadgets and social platforms have made it so incredibly easy for us to record and share our lives at virtually any second. But for marketers this can be dangerous.

We’re Just Too Comfortable

It’s so easy to post information without a second thought. Filling out a form, posting a photo of you and your friends, checking in at your most recent location. We love filling people in on the details of our lives. But as marketers we must be careful not to get too comfortable.

One of my biggest Market Pet Peeves (specifically in the social realm) is the use of full names. But we do this without thinking.

Let’s say your church has a Facebook page. You want to give a shout out to the guy who just did special music, or the lady who set up your recent ladies’ tea. It is completely appropriate to give credit where credit is due. But please, don’t use full names.

The World Wide Web

Often times we forget that our digital platforms truly are world wide. We fail to realize that literally EVERYTHING is searchable. This makes using names sometimes very dangerous.

You may think I’m paranoid or over-reacting, but I believe that in ministry you can never be too careful.

This is why I encourage you (ever so strongly) to NEVER include the name of a child under 18 years old in your digital marketing. Even with permission, it is better safe than sorry when it comes to someone’s child.

For adults, use first names only. The only exception to this is your pastor, director, etc. If the individual’s job IS your organization (and you have their written permission of course) full names may be appropriate.

Worst Case Scenario

This post is not to scare you or to make you paranoid about digital marketing. That’s not the issue.

But imagine this:

You have a young college age individual sing special music at your church. His full name and photo ends up on your Facebook page. Years later that same individual feels a call to minister in a closed area. Could this effect his work?

Keep in mind that photos do not disappear. Posts cannot truly be ‘deleted.’ When in doubt, include a photo OR name. Always ask permission before posting ANYTHING about an individual. And never post names of anyone under 18 years old.

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