Itʼs certainly no secret that social media is an awesome way for your church to get the word out about whatʼs happening. As a matter of fact, youʼd be hard pressed to find a growth minded church that isnʼt hitting the social media scene hard. So the question is no longer “Should we do social media?” The question is now “How can we make our social media strategy effective?”
The problem with churches doing social media is the same problem churches have with any new thing that comes along. Five years after the rest of the world does it, the church hops on board haphazardly. Then it takes another five years for the church to fine tune its attempts at being effective. Then, by the time they get their act together, culture is onto something else. So here we are somewhere around five years after the big boom, and many churches all over the world are clumsily using social media to no valuable end. But we want to help you nail this thing and get social media right before its too late. So weʼre sharing five things your staff needs to understand about social media.
one – social media is not just a big free advertising board
I canʼt stress this enough. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all the other online social sites arenʼt just apps and websites; theyʼre thriving, living, breathing communities full of real people. Churches often expect that they can get results by simply creating a Twitter account, and posting a tweet that says something like “Make sure you join our pastor this weekend for our brand new series ‘The Social Network.ʼ Pastor Bob will be preaching hard from Godʼs word.” What people donʼt realize is this is equivalent to walking through a crowd of people and muttering under your breath, “New series. Pastor Bob. This weekend. Godʼs word. Be there.”
Not only does it not grab peopleʼs attention in the big stream of social activity that your followers are already experiencing, but if your social account is on the newer side, thereʼs really not anyone there to read it anyway.
If you want people to pay attention to your advertisements, you need to engage with them personally as well. As a matter of fact, for every one thing you ask someone to do on social media, you should offer them three things that are inspirational or encouraging with no ask attached. This is a community of people after all, not a church attendance generating machine.
So be sure to do things like engaging your followers when they send you a message or comment on your churchʼs stuff. Throw out inspirational and challenging Bible verses or quotes sometimes. Share brief testimonies and stories of life change that will brighten someoneʼs day and help them understand what it means to be a part of your church community. Prove to your social audience that youʼre not just going to throw ‘ads and asksʼ at them if they friend or follow you.
two – social media takes a lot more work than clicking ‘postʼ or ‘tweet’
One of the things I am always surprised about is how few churches actually have a follower acquisition strategy. This may sound complicated, but itʼs basically just a complicated phrase for ‘a plan to get more followers.ʼ You need to remember that thereʼs just no reason to spend time posting on a social network if no one can see what youʼre posting. So not only is your content important but building your social audience is important. Fortunately, as a church, youʼve probably already got a real life audience every weekend to begin growing your social accounts.
Create a slide in ProPresenter, Keynote, or PowerPoint for your pre-service slideshow that lets people know they can follow your church online. You can also add social links to your weekly bulletin or your connection card. You could even go hog wild and ask the person who is doing announcements, or a welcome from your church stage this coming weekend to invite everyone to follow your church on social media.
While youʼre at it, remind people to ‘shareʼ and ‘retweetʼ what your church is up to online. This is what makes social media a secret weapon; itʼs an incredible way for your church to virally share whatʼs going on in Godʼs house.
three – if your staff doesnʼt do it, your church wonʼt do it
Did you know that a church is over two times more likely to get involved in doing something that the staff is already doing? True fact. So when someone in the church asks a staff member about something they saw your church post on Instagram, their response shouldnʼt be ‘I donʼt really do the whole Instagram thing.ʼ Total staff involvement doesnʼt mean that everyone is live tweeting their life step-by-step, but it does mean that they have an idea about whatʼs happening on the church social accounts.
The entire staff should, like, favorite, repost, retweet, and share a large majority of the thing that hits social media. After all, most of the staff probably already has their own local social audience based on their own relationships that can be used to help grow the church social accounts in the first place.
Your entire church should be able to find your staff online and follow them on social media. This engages them in your church social accounts, while also building a deeper sense of relationship between a congregation and leadership.
so just do it
Thereʼs no reason not to be rocking the social media scene. Make someone the person in charge of social media on your staff, ask them to create a social media strategy for the coming year, and then use your weekend services to get the church on board.
A church that shares on social media is essentially a church that shares their faith. When everyone starts sharing the awesome happenings from church the previous weekend, youʼll see an upswing in first-time guests as well as greater brand recognition in the community.
Chief Executive Officer
TK has worked in the church for over a decade and brings years of executive leadership experience along with years of experience in media and technology. TK has a Masters in Public Administration and is an expert of navigating the minefield of procedural issues churches experience. He’s not quite so stuffy though; he is vibrantly creative and understands what it takes to create and plan a weekend from start to finish including video, music, and production.