Best Social Media Options for Churches
I’ll be the first one to admit that this topic is not “NEW”. However, it is worth a refresher for those churches that are just now starting to pivot their attention to the world of social media. Disclaimer: this is NOT for the churches that already have a thriving social media presence, as we know there are many! However, if you are just getting started, read on!
According to Christianity Today social media is the new “Town Square”. It is a place that people are comfortable to gather and share their lives through photos, updates, events, etc. According to Pew Internet Research, 74% of all adults who have access to the internet use social media. Therefore, churches should be planning to actively engage their communities through these platforms.
The findings also suggest three main social platforms for churches to focus on initially. Here they are, in order of audience and engagement activity:
FACEBOOK – it comes as no shock that the social media giant is a place nearly 70% of adult social media users are visiting daily. Facebook is a great place to post updates, event details, prayer requests (congregational – not personal) as well as photos of your community interacting. Facebook becomes a secondary resource for your existing congregation and a way for the broader community to see what you are up to and how they might be able to get involved. Let’s be clear though – a Facebook page is NOT a substitute for a website.
“Church websites, for the large part, are for people new to the church, whereas social media is for those who are already engaged with the church.” – Churchleaders.com
In a future blog post we will discuss some tips on how to create a GREAT Facebook page, but that is for another time.
INSTAGRAM – For those of you who are truly new to the scene, Instagram is basically an image led social platform that “shows” what you are up to rather than “tells”. Instagram is a platform that gives your church an opportunity to share pictures of your ministry, promotional videos for upcoming events, and even encouraging quotes or Bible verses. It is especially popular among younger demographics. Instagram, like most of the larger platforms, can be linked to post across other social networks, so that your “pastor photo bomb” gets pushed to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. This multiplies your church’s visibility exponentially, with just one submission (and minimal effort).
TWITTER – The art of the 140 character “tweet” might be a foreign concept, but it has huge impact when it comes to reaching a larger, more affluent, global audience. Research suggests that the average Twitter user tends to be college educated, young, and live in households with an annual income of $50,000+. So if you are a church in the suburbs, near a university, Twitter might become your #jam. Don’t underestimate the engagement that your church can enjoy by posting and replying regularly on twitter. Use it to comment on cultural events, post new blog posts or links to sermons, or for posting photos of Sunday services, baptisms and so much more. Also, don’t make the mistake of setting up your account and then following a boatload of users in attempt to get a follow back. Just start posting and engaging in the conversations that are relevant to your church community, and watch the follows/likes/retweets start rolling in! Now, that is not to say you shouldn’t follow or follow back. You absolutely MUST, just make sure it’s out of genuine interest. All of the above said, if this is still all mush to you, stay tuned for the low down on how to manage your twitter feed, as well as how to #hashtag!