Organizations across the world have integrated social media into their culture at a breathtaking rate. I still remember when our staff sat in a room and debated whether we should start a Twitter account. Now, it’s hardly even a question for most churches. Social media can be a useful tool for the kingdom when used well. So the question becomes, how do we use it well? Below I’ve listed 7 helpful tips for using social media for your church. For purposes of discussion, I’ll mainly be referring to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, only because other platforms differ too much to include in the same post.
Don’t use social media until it makes sense.
Once you open a social media account, you’re going to want to fill it with content, and content takes time and effort. Especially in the beginning stages of a church plant, there may not be a good reason to have a Facebook or Twitter account. In that stage, you could easily communicate with anyone you need to via email or text. A good time to begin to use social media is when you “go public” at your church’s launch.
Keep it current.
You don’t want someone checking your Twitter feed only to realize nothing has been posted in several months. In today’s world, that may lead people to infer that your church no longer exists.
Even if it’s just posting a bible verse every other day, figure out ways to keep the content coming.
Social media is a two-way street.
If you are on social media, people will want to communicate with you there. Social media is often the most convenient way for a person to ask for service times, getting connected to a group, and whatever else. So if you have social media, make sure someone is checking it at least every 24 hours or so to respond to people’s questions.
Photos and stories are king.
The best content is made up of photos and stories.
Find a person in your church with Instagram skills and let them post photos from their iPhone at your next event. In addition, use staff meetings to collect any encouraging stories, then contact the people involved to ask if you can share it on social media.
Follow your members.
Some may disagree here, but consider following your members on social media. You’ll get to see the type of content and information they interact with, and you might just see them posting about something happening in your church. In addition, they’ll often follow you back.
Use tweet-scheduling apps.
You’ll save yourself (or whoever runs your social media) a lot of trouble if you schedule tweets in advance. We take about 30 minutes on Mondays to schedule posts for the whole week, and then don’t have to think about it much. The most popular apps are Hootsuite and Buffer(both are free up to a certain point).
The only constant is that there is no constant.
Because social media is still relatively new, best practices are continually evolving.
Following large organizations on social media and reading social media blogs are great ways to learn and adapt as the field changes.
Published June 10, 2015