There are around 4.2 billion daily users on various social media outlets. With such a prevalent user base, the way we interact with other people is constantly changing.
Gone are the slow days of sending letters in hopes to get the word out. These days, it’s all about social media networking. You build up hundreds of messages that can reach millions of people within just a few hours.
And one of the great things about social media is that it’s essentially free marketing that won’t draw on your church budget.
This kind of power comes at a price, however. You’re dealing with people, and that can get… messy. You need to constantly be on the lookout to keep yourself and your church social media outreach from getting entangled in some kind of drama or, worse, scandal.
Fortunately, all it takes is a little forethought, Scriptural guidance and a bit of calm thinking to keep an online disaster from happening. Listed below are five ideas to keep in mind whenever you are working on any kind of digital marketing.
1. FORGETTING THAT WHAT YOU POST IS PERMANENT
Sometimes we get pulled into the idea that once we delete something, it’s gone forever. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, once something is posted on the Internet, it stays there, no matter how hard you try to erase it.
Don’t forget that when you make your posts public, people may be able to search into the past and bring up everything you’ve ever said. It’s critically important that your church remains above reproach. Scripture commends us to,
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders” (Colossians 4:5, ESV).
2. REACTING EMOTIONALLY
With social media’s fast pace and wide reach, you’ll have to deal with a huge variety of people daily. These interactions can range from adoringly friendly to openly hostile. No matter what happens, don’t forget to take a step back when emotions begin to run high.
It’s better to step away for a few minutes, gather your thoughts and decide your next action. Giving in to emotional impulses will only increase your potential to say something you’ll regret later.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, ESV).
3. GETTING INTO DEBATES
It can be frighteningly easy to get drawn into a heated debate, especially when you are a part of church’s social media.
The best thing to do in this situation? Just step away.
Don’t reply to anything that could begin to blow up into a full-fledged argument. It’s better to remain quiet than to feed the fire. And if you feel bad about ignoring an angry comment, remember that Scripture says,
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered” (Proverbs 22:24, NIV).
4. FALLING INTO NEGATIVITY
Social media can have a negative impact on a person’s self-esteem. One of the best ways to counteract that is to constantly share a positive and loving attitude with everyone you come into contact with.
By sharing such a demeanor, you’re helping to generate a positive opinion about you and your church to your audience. When possible, keep things in a light and even happy mood.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, ESV).
5. ATTACKING OTHERS
No matter how rude or outright mean a person may be to you or your church, don’t attack back. Take the upper road and simply walk away. Delete their comment if possible, or leave it to your audience to come to your defense.
If you do make a reply to any harmful words, make sure that what you post is calm and level-headed and is not an attack on the person in question.
“… if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39, ESV).
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18, ESV).
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CHURCH SOCIAL MEDIA
As you can see, most of these types of bad PR situations are easily avoided. As long as you keep this information in mind, you’ll have no trouble keeping your church social media professional and free of problems.
However, even with the best advice under your belt, there is no pleasing everyone in the world. Just remember to keep your cool when the trolls inevitably come calling.
A closing Scripture to guide you:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6, ESV).
What’s your favorite way to keep a handle on your church’s social media outreach? Let us know in the comments section below!