Social media may have started out as a recreational activity, but it has become a powerful tool for businesses and organizations. This includes churches. Social media can deepen your engagement with your current members and potentially grow your congregation.
It’s difficult to know how to leverage your church’s social media presence. Even if you’ve used Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in your personal life, there is a different strategy to posting as an organization. Here are five tips to use social media effectively for your church.
1. Start Small
You don’t need to join Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and TikTok all at once. In fact, you don’t need to join some of these platforms at all. Instead, focus on the platforms that the majority of your members use.
It might be helpful to send out a survey to see which is the most popular social media platform among your congregation. Once you’ve established a presence on one platform, consider joining others if you feel that there is enough of an audience there.
2. Post Consistently
No matter which platform you use, consistency is key to gaining and maintaining followers. Don’t confuse consistency with frequency, though. When it comes to online etiquette, stick to these rules of thumb: one Facebook and/or Instagram post per day, and no more than ten tweets each day.
3. Respond Frequently
Be sure to respond to each and every comment, even if it’s just to thank the user for their input. When you encounter negative feedback, remember that there’s nothing wrong with deleting an obscene or hostile comment. Most social media outlets offer the ability to block users. Don’t be afraid to use it. After all, you want to create a safe, uplifting environment for your congregation.
4. Aim for Authenticity
Most churches have the goal of growing their congregation through social media. An authentic online voice is essential for this. When new potential members come through your doors, they should feel that they are seeing the same version of your church that they saw on social media. For example, if the majority of your members are age 50+, don’t show mostly young people in your Facebook posts. Try to write in a way that conveys your church’s unique personality.
5. Offer Useful Content
One of the biggest mistakes that churches make on social media is confusing quantity for quality. If you use your church social accounts solely to post calendar items and promote yourself, your followers are probably going to disengage. Instead, give them outside content that they will find useful.
Your social media presence should offer real value to your followers. For example, if your pastor has been delivering a sermon series on anxiety in uncertain times, use your social media to supplement that by sharing a relevant article about stress-relief. Social media engagement for churches is a matter of connection, and there’s only so much connecting your congregants can do with posts that are solely about your church.
Use these tips to get started with a social media strategy. There is a lot more information out there about using these platforms effectively, but perhaps the best way to learn is to experiment. Try different types of posts and see which ones resonate the most with your congregation. Eventually, you’ll find the strategy that works best for you.
Get more tips for engaging your congregation in our Church Leadership blog category.