3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Church’s Online Engagement

By Wesley Thornton

Your church has been producing online content for the past year due to the pandemic, or maybe even before then. It’s possible that you now have a great foundation online and have gained some traction, but where do you go from here?

The key to having a successful on-line ministry at your church isn’t to receive more views or followers, but to engage.

The goal of online engagement is to produce active members and encourage them to take steps of spiritual growth.

Most churches have strategies for engaging people in-person to lead them to transformation, but what about online?

I’m going to share with you three strategies you can implement today to strengthen your online engagement.

1.     Personalize Your Posts 

It can be difficult to see transformation in any church without building trust. To non-church and even churchgoers, the church is largely viewed as a building and the pastor as a somewhat unrelatable figure. This can make the barrier to building meaningful relationships more difficult for churches.

However, social media has given churches a unique opportunity to allow people to see the church in a different light.

How can you do this?

  • Allow others to see the church serving the local community.
  • Make appreciation posts for staff and volunteers.
  • Show behind the scenes using live videos.
  • Reply to every comment.
  • Personally reach out to new followers.

2.     Create Wearable Content

The correct term for social media would be “shareable” but here is why I chose the word “wearable.”

You wear brands, read books and listen to music because you relate to them and would likely recommend them to a friend. Hence, the need for your church to create content that others are willing to use and share.

According to Sproutsocial, “People are 16x more likely to read a post from a friend than from a brand.”

The church is spreading the greatest message in history and due to the over-saturated social platforms, attention is our most valuable commodity.

Remember, people are on social media to “be social,” not necessarily to see what their local church is posting.

That is why the church must create content that makes people stop scrolling, engage and share with their friends.

How can you do this?

  • Before posting, ask yourself “Would I share this if I were them?”
  • Understand your audience. What are their interests?
  • Personally ask your most loyal followers to share your content.

3.     Intentionally Provide Next Steps

The best form of engagement is when someone takes the desired next step.

In-person, this might be filling out a welcome card, volunteering or getting baptized.

Online, this will be commenting, liking or sharing a post, filling out a digital connect card, following/subscribing, planning a visit, signing up for an event, etc.

It should be clear in your post what next steps you want your audience to take.

Here are a few ways to clarify: 

  • Specifically ask them (“comment below”, “share this with a friend”, “like this post”, “click the link”).
  • Place links in the description of your posts (Ex. Digital connect card link in your livestream).
  • Ask questions that require a straightforward response (“In one word, what has God been teaching you lately?”).

Bonus Tips

  • Post when your audience is most active. Check your insights to find out.
  • Use images—93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook have an image (fastcompany.com).
  • Tap into the power of video. According to Facebook, videos receive 59% more engagement than any other post on Facebook.
  • Record videos vertically when possible. According to Buffer.com, mobile phone users hold their phones vertically 94% of the time and are 5x as likely to watch a vertical video.
  • Create a poll and ask what type of content your followers want to see.

Remember, social media should be used as a tool to help your church do ministry, not promote it. The church now has the opportunity to connect with people seven days a week through social platforms.

Use these strategies to help strengthen your church’s online engagement and see more life-change in your online audience!

Published June 8, 2021

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Wesley Thornton

Wesley Thornton lives in Danville, Virginia, with his wife, Jordan. He currently serves as the Youth Director of Kentuck Baptist Church and is a full-time Business and Computer Middle School Teacher. Over the past two years, Wesley has been able to reach millions of people with the gospel through his personal online ministry. He now has a passion for providing church Leaders with the tools they need to help their church thrive online.