Social media is a powerful tool that churches can use to engage and connect with the people inside of outside of the church. However, it takes planning and strategy to actually get the most out of it. Churches often make the mistake of using social media as an afterthought to promote an event or class, and then get discouraged by the results if it doesn't work as hoped. Promoting classes and events is one of the reasons why you need a church website, but there are ways that you can use social media for that as well. To be successful at social media for your church you need make a plan to continually be engaging people so that they are already engaged when you post. If you just post sporadically, you won’t engage anybody.
Here are 6 steps to create a social media campaign for your church:
1. Make A Plan
The most important thing to do when starting a social media campaign for your church is to make a plan. Too often churches go wrong by not having a plan and just posting whenever they remember to, or when something really important comes up. Not having a plan just will result in low level of engagement from followers. A good way to start is to choose somebody to be in charge of your social media accounts and then start thinking of ideas to engage people at your church. After that, start to create a plan for what type of content to post.
2. Know Your Audience
Most churches have a pretty good idea of the the type of people that attend their church, but it’s important to know who specifically you are targeting to engage on social media. Chances are that most people in your congregation use Facebook. But not everybody uses it the same way, and the engagement level isn’t the same for everybody. Trying to target everybody with your social media posts often leads to low engagement. Targeting a specific group in your church will lead to more engagement and a more successful plan.
3. Select Which Social Platform To Use
Now that you have a plan and you know your audience, you will want to choose the platforms will be best to create the most engagement. The 3 social platforms that work best for Churches are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook is a great place to start and probably the most effective platform for churches. It has the most users and is great for creating conversations, promoting events, and sharing videos. In fact, 71% of online adults use Facebook. Instagram is a very engaging for young adults and teenagers. It is a great tool to show your churches culture and community with photos. Twitter can be a great tool to reach people outside of your church body. When choosing which platform you want to use for social media you need to be sure that you are realistic. If you aren’t sure that you will be able to keep up managing certain pages, its often better to just choose one and do it well than to try to do them all. There’s nothing worse than having a Facebook or Instagram showing that the last post was a year ago.
4. Post Interesting Content
Once you have determined what platforms you will be using, you will want to decide what kind of content you will post. Again, it’s important to think of your target audience and what they would actually want to see and engage with on social media. Ensure that every post is interesting, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
5. Create A Community And Culture
Social Media is a way that you can create community and culture within your church. While community can’t be something that only happens online, sites like Facebook and Instagram give great opportunities for people to connect into the church community. Creating a hashtag is a great way to get people engaging with you online. It is also helpful to get leaders posting on a regular basis too.
6. Be Consistent
Consistency is a big deal on social media. Posting regularly shows people that your church is active. If a newcomer or visitor was to come across your Facebook page only to find that you haven’t posted since last year, it can affect their decision of whether they come back or not. Social media is an extension of the community that is already happening in your church, and it gives people an easy connection point. To stay consistent, you can use websites like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance and help you stay ahead of the game.
Social media is a great tool for churches to use to create a sense of community and connection online. You can use it along with your website to create a full online strategy. If you do not yet have a website (learn how to get a church website), that is a great place to get started. Your website should be the main place where people can find information about your church and any events or classes they might want to attend. As culture shifts to be more and more online, it becomes more important for churches to have a strong online strategy.