This post is taken from an article I posted on LinkedIn.
Every church is on social media these days. Big, small, and every size in between, churches have realized that social media is here to stay and they need to be involved. However, many churches struggle with how to work with this communication medium.
After managing church social media accounts for several years now, and observing what other churches are doing, I’ve identified three areas that many churches seem to struggle in when it comes to their social media presence, and simple tips that can be implemented to solve them.
This is a big one. Let’s face it: the vast majority of churches do not have the resources or staff to devote tons of time to social media. Many are doing good just to keep their website updated. So when it comes to social media, many organizations are guilty of posting sporadically, or in some cases, barely at all.
It can be very off putting to someone who may be checking out your church for the first time to visit your Facebook page and find you haven’t posted in over a year. Or you may risk annoying your current followers by sharing four or five posts within a fifteen-minute period, then nothing at all for another week. Both of these are extreme examples, but I have personally seen both happen.
If you have a person (staff or volunteer) who has, let’s say, one hour per week to devote to social media, you can maximize the use of that time by utilizing post scheduling. Example: you have five posts to make this week. Rather than sharing all five posts at the same time, which will overwhelm your follower’s newsfeeds at one time and then disappear for the rest of the week; schedule those five posts to occur throughout the week, that way you stay in their newsfeed and keep them engaged.
- Finding a balance between “upcoming” and “already done”
Your church needs to know about upcoming events. But they also need to know about what happened at and after those events. Church bulletins, website, in service announcements, there are many ways every church utilizes to announce what’s coming up. Social media is another great way to do this. But social media is also just that—social. Be social with your followers.
For example, let’s say your church has a large Christmas outreach event coming up. You’ve announced it many times for several months in your bulletin, services, on your website, and social media outlets. It’s a big success. But after the event you don’t post any pictures, updates, reports, stories, or a thank you to your volunteers. How will this look to a visitor who came to the event, told their friend how great it was, this friend looks your church up on Facebook, sees nothing, and doesn’t think about your church again?
You’ve missed an opportunity to create a “wow, I want to check this place out” moment with a person who hasn’t even set foot in your building yet. Your own people who have supported this event with their finances and time also enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors. Sharing pictures, stories (or if nothing else, a quick thank you to all who gave their time and money) has two rewards: one for the new person who will want to check out your church because of what they saw, and one for your congregation—building morale, excitement, and increasing their engagement with your organization. You can even encourage your own people to post their pictures from the event, or stories they have, to your wall, or tag your church in their personal posts about it.
- You do you
Your church is unique. There is no other place exactly like you. One of the most important things to establish as you develop your social media presence is your own voice and style. Taking into account your current congregation, but also the people you are trying to reach and bring in, what is the best way to communicate who you are?
If you are a more traditional church, this may look like formal language and use of more “churchy” words. If you are a contemporary church focused on outreach, you will definitely want to tailor your posts accordingly by using a more casual voice.
Consider, as well, the strongest areas of your church. Have a really great worship team? Take a short video during a service and share it on your Facebook. New sermon series starting? Ask your pastor to describe it in a 60-90 second video and post it online to show new visitors what you will be talking about. This also gives your people something to share with their friends. These are just a couple of ideas for showing the world who you are as a church.
It is important to remember as you continue to develop your social media presence that your church’s voice needs to be just that: the church’s voice, not your voice. If you are not used to writing non-personal posts for social media, it can be difficult to get out of the “I” mode. Always remember you are the organization to the world when you post on your church’s page. If you have a personal note to share (let’s say you are the pastor and you manage the Facebook page), note at the beginning of the post that it is “A note from Pastor…” or “From Pastor…” to signify that this is a personal word that you would like to share with everyone as you, not as the church.
A final thought
Social media is one of the greatest tools available today for sharing about your church, and more importantly, about Christ. The message stays the same, only our methods change. We bring “good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10), let’s use the vast reach of social media to take the good news to all people.
Image credit: belmarketingdesignstudio