Many churches are using social media to enhance their ministries. From pastor blog posts and podcasts to Facebook shares and Retweets, social media continues to be a powerful tool for pastors.
A January 2017 report from the Pew Research Center revealed that around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage in news content, share information, or to entertain themselves.
The study shows social media use has been on the rise over the past decade. Facebook is the most-widely used of the major social media platforms. Other popular social media platforms include Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
When the Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, only five percent of American adults used at least one of these platforms. By 2011, that share had risen to half of all Americans, and today 69 percent of the public uses some type of social media.
So, how do we best use and maintain a social media platform? And, what types of social media will meet the needs of our churches?
Take a look at these top-five tips as you continue to develop an effective social media strategy. Whether you have a megachurch audience or a more specialized ministry within a small church, there are plenty of creative options and opportunities to keep your audience active and engaged.
- Choose social media channels you’ll use most effectively, and incorporate them into your marketing plan. So, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, a Podcast, or Instagram, choose platforms that will meet your needs. Begin with two-to-three platforms, especially if you have a small staff, and start by engaging in meaningful conversations.
- Decide who will manage your social media platforms. Once a point person is designated, they should communicate with other key members on the church leadership team to ensure that the content and messages being generated are clear and consistent. Managing the graphics and related details are also critical in maximizing an effective social media campaign.
- When considering the effectiveness of your social media channels, think about tracking factors like “How well do we know members of the congregation?” or “Beyond the church walls, how do we best serve our local community? “Is the traffic increasing on our social media channels?”
- Promote social media endeavors through traditional mediums such as your church newsletter, a Sunday bulletin, or on other promotional items. This will help you to continue to raise awareness and to strengthen your church branding. Consider creating a logo, a tagline, or a consistent message you want to share in conjunction with each post.
- Consistency, frequency and response rates are important. Set measurable goals regarding how often you’ll schedule posts and what topics you’ll talk about. Social media is also a free way to promote events and happenings related to your church calendar.
Other helpful social media tips include:
- Consider the look and design. Incorporate elements like logos, and photos. Make your social media attractive and inviting for visitors to navigate through your site or page.
- Update frequently. Don’t let your efforts become inactive or stale. Sites and pages can lack engagement if we don’t keep them fresh.
- Know your audience. Provide them with meaningful, regular content. Give them opportunities to provide input, or offer surveys. Make them feel welcome, and invite them to be part of a community.
- Introduce a blog to address timely relevant topics.
- Social media can lose its effectiveness if it’s not executed properly. On the other hand, it can be impactful when you know and engage with your audience, and have specific goals in mind.
Investing time, talent and resources in a comprehensive social media plan can lead to successful results over time.
As a well-respected and experienced author and journalist, Ginny McCabe has authored five books. Her bestselling and award-winning title with Dr. Jill Hubbard, Secrets Young Women Keep is available from Thomas Nelson (www.Thomasnelson.com.) Other titles include: Some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline, Living A Gold Medal Life: Inspirations from Female Athletes, and Changed: True Stories of Finding God Through Christian Music.