COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Google the phrase, church social media, and you’ll be served up over 200 million articles about using social platforms for your ministry. There’s no longer any question about whether your church should be on social media or not, but being on social media isn’t enough. You need to prioritize using it well. If you want to take advantage of all the opportunities social media provides you might need to elevate its importance.
Let’s face it: there are a lot of churches and ministries vying for people’s attention out there. If your church is involved — but not invested — in growing a digital presence and social media skills, you might be wasting your time and investment. Social media offers so many perks and possibilities it would be foolhardy not to spend some time devoted to your social media channels. In fact, it might be the secret weapon for struggling churches, or a great tool to boost your attendance for important holidays. If you can’t justify the time spent on social media, I encourage you to consider the following ways your ministry might be missing out.
Social media might be the first place people find your church
Over 46 percent of church planters say that social media is their most effective method of outreach. Think about that for a second...out of all the possible outreach methods, almost half of today’s church plants are seeing a bigger return for time they invest into social media than anything else. So it isn’t like social media is competing with your website for the most visible digital channel; it’s competing with every method churches are using to draw attention to themselves.
With a thoughtful church strategy for social engagement and some regular money devoted to advertising, you can create an awareness of your ministry and send people to your website where they can learn more. Plus, when you add the Facebook pixel to your site, you can retarget the people that Facebook has sent to your website.
You can build a relationship with your congregation's friends
Let’s face it; this is the reason you’re on Facebook. Through the likes and shares of your updates from people who already attend your church, your content is pushed into the feed of their friends and family. When you explain to your congregation that their interaction with your Facebook page is a form of outreach, you can build a strategy around sharing your culture with people who might be open to learning more.
Facebook's groups and events rival some real life church networks
There are some great software solutions out there for churches to use to facilitate digital community. But one thing that’s fantastic about Facebook is the fact that most of your people are already there every day. Using Facebook groups for ministries or studies is an incredibly easy (and free) way to keep everyone together and on the same page. You can create groups for prayer, home groups, Bible studies, classes, or lifestyle groups for people that like to do things like hike or garden. You can make them as private as you want, and you can invite people outside the church, too. This gives people another level of exposure and interaction with your church.
Facebook events are another stellar way to raise awareness for an event. You can invite everyone in the church, and they can invite others, too. All updates and important information can be communicated in the event group. And you can even experiment with ads to promote your event. And, again, the great thing about it is everyone’s already on Facebook. (Check out our 10 Facebook Tips for Churches.)
You're meeting people where they are
Community is in transition. People are building important networks and connections online, and it is becoming a valuable way for people to connect. For instance, did you know that 35 percent of the couples married between 2005 and 2012 met online? Instead of fighting this transition, the church should be embracing its inherent positives and opportunities. We should be taking advantage of every tool at our disposal to reach people where they are, and there may be no greater tool available than social media.
Your social media accounts represent your church vitality
I know it doesn’t feel like it should be the case, but when people come to one of your social media platforms and you haven’t updated it in months, it shapes their impression of your church. If you’re going to have a social-media presence it’s important for you to regularly update it. This means that you need to be very particular about the social-media platforms your church adopts. It’s better to have one or two platforms you really excel at than to be on every platform and to do them terribly.
Integrating social with your church app
If you already have a church app, you have an intuitive way to integrate social media into your engagement strategy. Since more people are using mobile devices to shop and interact online, an app is a great way to keep people involved, to tell your story, and to share your church’s teaching and content.
People can share your content to their social-media platforms from your app and you can use your social channels to promote the app. It creates a seamless way to build an audience and expose more people to your church culture.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MinistryTech Magazine is the go-to source for the latest information on technology and its use in ministry, known as technical ministry. We feature articles on things like church management software, electronic Bible study, Internet security, websites, e-giving and more.