It seems like there’s always the latest online craze that churches need to participate in. Whether it’s Instagram stories, certain hashtags, joining certain networks, or Pokémon GO, your church may feel a pressure to constantly join in on the online craze. It can be difficult to be active online successfully as a church, and it can be equally difficult always trying to “keep up.”
When it comes to an active online presence, social media engagement is a tried and true method when it comes to reaching more people on the web. But you can’t always just post a 160-character tweet and call it good. Plus, for the person running the social media channels, it can just get plain old.
Here are 8 things you need to start doing with your church social media to liven things up a bit and to have more fun!
1. Join the Conversation
Conversations over social media are happening all the time, in fact they never stop. A great way to start doing your church social media is to simply join the conversation. There are many ways to do this including joining in on trending hashtags and striking up a conversation with your followers.
When jumping into a conversation over social media, here are some things you will want to keep in mind:
- Don't hijack a conversation with your own hashtag or your own link
- Be polite
- Don't turn it into a sales pitch
- Make sure you have a friendly profile photo
- Don't be creepy
When you follow these guidelines, chances are everyone involved will want to keep the conversation flowing.
2. Try Something Unconventional
Create different types of social media messages to break the routine and do something a little more interesting. Animation can help brighten things up a bit so go ahead and try to create a gif or a little project with iMovie. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and you may be limited in the number of characters you can use, go for an Instagram photo instead. If you want to create a message that is useful, fun, and educational, try your hand at making cool-looking infographics with Canva.
3. Teach Your Congregation How to Use It
When it comes to learning how to use social media, some of your congregation might benefit from a quick how-to. Another way to get your congregation involved in using social media is to let them know you have social media they can follow. Being friends on Facebook or following one another on Twitter can be a great way for the church body to stay connected with one another.
4. Curate Your Social Media Messages
In many ways, the best things about social media is that it’s fun and sometimes completely spontaneous. But you can benefit by having a specific plan about what you’re going to post and when you're going to post. Some advantages of being able to curate your social media messages include:
- It can help add consistency
- It can save you time
- It can help to keep your social schedule fresh
In order to better curate your social media messages, you can use your newsletter or bulletin to shape the content on your social media channels.
5. Promote Other Churches' Events
Another great thing about social media is that you can easily share other people's messages and their content. Did you see a great blog post by the pastor of the church down the street (or across the country!)? There is no harm in sharing it with the members of your congregation. Sharing other people's content and promoting other church's events keeps you from looking a bit narcissistic. When it comes to church social media, it doesn’t have to all be about you guys! When you show support to other relevant churches or groups, you're not only increasing your reach, but you're also connecting with influencers, and expanding your audience's horizons. By promoting other church's events, you're also exhibiting unity among the church body.
6. Have More Fun
Many church social media messages have deep, profound meaning and tones. In order to come across as more human and a little "lighter," share something funny or make a joke. Just because you're the leader of a church or part of one, doesn't mean you have to be so serious all the time. If God didn't want you to laugh and enjoy life, then this passage from Job 8:21: "He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy," would have to be removed from the Bible!
7. Designate One Person
When using church social media, it's best to designate one person or at least designate one main person per social media channel. For example, if you have a Twitter account for each small group, you can have a small group leader be in charge of it. Otherwise, having one person handle 4 Twitter accounts, 6 Facebook pages, 3 Instagrams, and 2 LinkedIn pages could be a bit much. By having more than one person posting messages, you might also run into sending out the same or similar information more than once, which could start to annoy followers.
8. Monitor and Analyze the Performance of Your Church Social Media
While social media is meant to be, you know, “social,” there’s value in using it for your church’s more business-y purposes. Analyzing which social media messages get the most engagement, analyzing the best times and days for your church social media to post, and analyzing whether or not infographic images perform any better than normal messages, can be of great value for you. You can use this info to make your social media messages better and more tailored to your audience.