We’re already in the digital age but many Christian churches are still in doubt about whether they should ride on the social media wagon. And I understand where their doubts are coming from. There have been cases of cyberbullying, social anxiety, exposure to inappropriate content, self-images issues, etc., caused by social media.
But actually, the reason why some churches are not on social media yet is that they have no idea how to go about it. Because, yes, social media can be overwhelming. There is so much going on on Facebook and Twitter that we often don’t know where to start, what to post, or who to connect with. So instead of making a mistake and looking bad online, churches tend to stay away from it.
If you can relate to the struggle, then this article can help you. I know it can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be! As we go on through this article, you’ll realize that you don’t have to finish some degree or become a digital marketing specialist to start your church’s social media journey.
Why should our church use social media?
When Jesus commissioned us in Matthew 28:18–20, he instructed us to go into all the world. To put this another way, He wants us to go where people are, regardless of where they are. Yes, as I’ve mentioned before, social media can bring out the worst in people but, it is our role as Christians to shed some light on the darkness of the virtual world.
According to recent data, there are more people on social media than ever before. There are about 4.62 billion people on social media worldwide. Among Christians, about 55% actually read their bibles online, and around the same percentage access the Bible via their mobile phones.
So, whether we like it or not, social media has a significant influence on our culture. It has an impact on how individuals think. So, if we want to reach them, we need to be active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others.
Think about it, day by day billions of people are influenced and educated by secular groups through social media. More and more people, both young and old, are becoming convinced of things that are contrary to the Bible.
We do need to upgrade and battle the negative influences spreading over the internet. And, the church can use social media to remind them of God’s principles and most especially bring them back to God’s kingdom.
What are the best church social media strategies?
So without further ado, let us discuss some strategies we can learn before we start posting on our social media accounts.
Established Church Branding
A Church’s branding is essential not just for social media for a church. It allows churches to create a consistent identity and credibility among church members and non-members alike. We never compete with other churches but it is important for people to recognize and remember you so they can come back. It also unites your members towards the same mission and vision allowing them to become more involved and planted in the church.
So, if you do not have an established church branding yet. You need to work on that first. If you already have one. You need to re-evaluate your brand. Is it still relevant to the current society? If not, you might want to re-brand. Meet with the leaders of your church and create a fresh, personable, and exciting brand.
Social Media Planning
Just like any other church project, nothing comes to fruition without a plan. So sit again with your church leaders and ask yourselves about your goal. Who do you want to reach with your social media efforts? Do you want to encourage more people to go to church? Do you want people to reach out to you when they are in need? Do you want to remind them about this week’s sermon?
Once you’ve listed down your goals, start thinking about ways to achieve that. For example, if you want them to be spiritually connected with Christ throughout the week, you might want to post sermon graphics or sermon recap content once a week. You can also post encouraging verses and devotionals. If you want more people to go to church, you can post entertaining activity videos and pictures with your church’s weekly schedules.
Don’t think about how difficult it is to achieve. Your goal at this point is just to know what you want and how you want to do it.
Identify Key Performance Indicators
Before executing your plans, you need to set some parameters to determine the success and failure of your efforts. You need to make sure you can identify measurable outcomes. Put them in actual numbers. In this way, if you succeed you can celebrate the victory God has given. On the other hand, if you fail, you know what went wrong and you can then plan how to fix it.
As you think about your KPIs, make sure you do not only measure your social media effort’s success through how many likes and reactions you got. You need to think back on your goals. You can ask the following: How many people in my community did we reach? Did our efforts bring people into the church? Did it translate to more churchgoers? Did we have more regular members? How many volunteers did we gather for a project?
When you’ve got things set up and as you go along and do your social media efforts, you can feel free to change your KPIs depending on your growth. Just remember that nothing is perfect at the beginning. If you fail to meet your KPIs, experiment, analyze, and then repeat!
How to get started with Church Social Media?
Whether you already have an existing social media you want to improve or this is your first effort you need to know how to get started. Here are a few things we can think of to help.
- Pray for your own Social Media Champion.
Leadership is an important factor in any church department or ministry. This principle is true also in social media. You need to choose a pinpoint person who can take the responsibility for this project. When looking for this person, prioritize someone with commitment rather than someone with high technical skills. Church Social Media is a long-term effort and we do not want people who might give up right away. But of course, we need someone who knows what to do.
- Choose your Platform
There are a lot of existing platforms available online. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube, etc. I advise you to explore all of these platforms. Study their trends and demographics. Who are these platforms reaching? Does this align with our goal? With this in mind choose a few you want your church to be involved in. Do not get into the hype of joining all the existing platforms available. Because this will definitely burn you out. Yes, we expose our church but not too much and not too less either.
- Find your Frequency
This next tip is important. You need to assess how many people there are on your team. Are these people volunteers? Or do you have paid social media experts? Depending on your team’s capacity and availability, you and your team need to figure out how often you can post in a week. Make sure you are realistic with your plan. Again we recommend you not to overdo things. You do not have to post 10 times a day even if your team can handle that.
- Create a Schedule
Next, you need to create a schedule. To do that, you need to go back to your goals. Based on your goals, determine what kind of content you want to post. Based on your church schedule and programs, you need to adjust your schedule as well. For example, if you have a Youth Night on Fridays, you might want to do postings the day before. If you want a sermon recap, you might want to post that after Sunday service, that could be Monday or Tuesday. Again, make sure your schedule is realistic and is something your team can handle.
- Equip your team with tools
Another important thing is the social media tools. You and your team need to research for tools that can help you do more with less time and effort. This is especially true if your team is composed of volunteers. These people have other things to tend to so you might not want to overwork them. There are many existing tools out there that can help you create social media graphics and videos. If an investment is necessary, weigh the pros and cons. and if the tool is necessary, go for it. Tools help your team long-term, so make sure you equip your team for battle!
- Build a Support Team
Just like any business, viewer satisfaction and interaction are very important. You need to build relationships with your online audience. Do not make the mistake of detaching yourself from the exact people you are trying to reach. Do not just post out content and do nothing. There are people who might comment or message you for help, prayer, and support. Connect with these people like how you would face to face.
To do this, you need to involve people around your community who are trained, committed, and core values-oriented to reach out to people on a personal level. Minister to them, pray for them, take care of them and bring them to the fold.
I hope you learned something from this article. Yes, Social Media takes time and effort, but it is definitely not impossible to do. It is not as daunting and overwhelming as it looks as long as you take the right small steps to get there. Start where you are now. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You will learn more things as you go along the journey. And never forget that if you do not know what to do next, you can always ask someone for help.