Over the past few years, social media has exploded in its ability to influence, increase sales and expose companies as never before. It has become one of the first sources for information and feedback. We, in the church world, would be blind to ignore the growing presence of social media’s impact on our churches. Whether you use it to simply inform or to take your church into deeper engagement, here are four important ways every church can use social media to expand their audience.
Get Out There
If you are not presently using social media for your church, the most important step you can take is to start somewhere. Begin with tapping into an area you are already familiar with. Do you have a Facebook page? Create a page designed specifically for sharing information about your church. If you regularly take photos, check out Instagram. Twitter doesn’t take photography or page building skills, all it takes is a short message to share. Your biggest challenge will be fitting the message into 140 characters or less. No matter where you start, get your feet wet in the social media world and begin to engage your audience.
Fit Your Crowd
Its extremely important to tailor your content according to the audience of each social media platform. Those who use Instagram more often will be more attracted to pictures and graphics that tell your story. If you enjoy being creative, check out apps like Word Swag that allow you to customize graphics. The Bible App can also easily be used to generate images with Bible verses on them. Facebook users want to engage in conversation. Posting polls or open ended questions will not only capture users, but it will generate more traffic than simply stating facts or information. Facebook is also a great place to create and share events going on in your church. Getting to know your crowd and adapting to them will give you a broader scope of reach.
Whether we are looking for a plumber, lawn company or a new church, references are one of the most important ways for us to know whether or not a company is worth checking out. Create a video of volunteers, interviewing them as to why they love to serve. Share stories of life change. If you have a great event going on, use Facebook live to share it! Doing a sermon series? Create a hashtag unique to your church and encourage the congregation to use it as they post, tweet or upload photos. Tell the story of your church through the people who already love it!
Keep it Current
Nothing is more aggravating then checking out a company and finding sales ads from three months ago. The same is true in our churches. When someone is checking out your social media site for information, the last thing they want to see is Easter service information when its currently June! People want to know you are moving forward. Make sure you have someone who is specifically dedicated to not only updating information, but also engaging at least a couple times a week. If your church is able to post once a day, vary the time of day to ensure you reach different audiences. The more often you engage, the more social media presence you will have.
Though some may resist tapping into the social media world, I believe that we can make a difference in the daily lives of people by using tools that they are already immersed in everyday.
The apostle Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some..” (1 Corinthians 9:22b ESV). We have the opportunity to reach people by simply entering into their worlds, right where they are. Lets make the most of social media in order to make an impact for Jesus Christ.