Why Social Media Matters
By now, you probably don’t have to be convinced that social media presence is important for any church.
But doing it well? That’s another story.
Has your church facebook page just become a digital bulletin board? Is your engagement and reach down over last year? Are you scrambling figuring out what to post?
And yet, we believe it matters. It is one part of how we reach out to our communities and increase our presence. Here’s what Barna has to say about how millennials engage with their faith digitally.
Creating a Church Social Media Strategy
How many of your monthly posts are:
- Announcements for upcoming church events
- Bible verses
- Stock photos
- Thrown together at the last minute when you remembered you haven’t posted all week
It’s okay, you’re in good company. Most churches are using their social media channels as digital bulletin boards, and most churches are missing out.
You need a strategy.
You need a plan that starts with church goals, priorities, and calling, and works out a plan from there. A good church social strategy is built on a foundation of intentional stewardship over your platforms (not the staff member who wants last minute promotion. More on that later.)
Your strategy needs 4 parts.
#1 Set your goals
Set clear, actionable, achievable goals. Examples: increase engagement by 15%. Increase followers by 10%.
#2 Craft a strategy for each goal.
If your goal is engagement, posting service times and sermon updates won’t cut it. You need content that catches people’s attention.
Do: look at other churches to see what stands out. Set aside time for storytelling. Create question-driven posts.
Don’t: create posts for the sake of creating posts. Quality > quantity. The best social posts take time to brainstorm and create.
#3 Pick your channels
You don’t need to master every popular social media platform, but you do need to know your audience.
Here’s 2 truths:
- If your church isn’t attracting young people, pouring effort into TikTok isn’t going to magically reverse that.
- The types of content you post for an 50+ audience is different than what will get engagement with young families. You need to know your audience and start testing until you know what works.
If you’re just getting moving and have a young to middle aged congregation, focus on getting Facebook and Instagram to a healthy spot. If your church members are older, you may only need Facebook. If you have a young crowd and leadership willing to try some off-beat ideas, give TikTok a try and regularly post on instagram.
#4 Create a calendar
Social media can be a huge pain point in your job.
Here’s the three secrets to a stress-free social media plan
- A social posting calendar
- A posting scheduling tool
- Blocked time to batch create posts
#5 Execute and Analyze
As you test new things, keep an eye on your engagement, reach, and other metrics. Over time, you’ll have a better sense of what will work for your church.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Sometimes it may not work, or you might discover the next church social media trend.
Creating a Social Media Calendar
A clear social posting calendar will help you, and any other team members, stay on the same page. This simple Google Sheets template will get you started.
Having a month-long view will help you see the balance between event promotion, sermon clips, and other types of content.
Once a week, take 1-2 hours to write all of the captions and gather assets for next week’s posts. Then, use a scheduling tool to input all the posts. You’ll work more efficiently than putting together daily posts.
Now, let it do the work for you.
Tools for Success
There are some tools that you can use to make your social media plan easier. Here are some of our favorites.
For graphic design:
- Adobe Spark
For video editing:
For project management:
- Most social media tools also now have built in scheduling options
Social Media Content Ideas
Blog posts have double value. They increase SEO presence and they can repurposed for valuable social media content. If your pastors or staff are writing blogs, pull out useful segments or quotes to create a social media post a week. Boom, one of your posts is already done.
The most valuable content for any organization is the content your followers create for you. Reposted and sharing someones post from an event or the weekend service makes your page feel personal.
If no one in your church is creating this, encourage it by requesting some volunteers and staff members occasionally make a post, and repost it on the church page. As people see content shared, they’ll be more encouraged to do it in the future.
Quality of the sermon is the most likely reason for someone to pick a church. Finding a 30 second clip from the sermon is a simple, consistent way to boost engagement.
Remember to add captions! Roughly 70% of users are watching on mute.
Volunteer Quotes and Stories
Our churches shouldn’t just be about our pastors and leaders. Highlight the life of the church. Tell a 3-5 sentence story about a volunteer, life group leader, or serving member. Let them share what God is doing in their life.
It takes time to find and cultivate these stories, but it’s oh so worth it.
Stock photos on church social media doesn’t work anymore. People are going to your social media pages to see if people look like them and if they’ll fit in at your church.
You need a consistent library of photography from your church. If you don’t have a background in photography, you can probably find a volunteer that does. Bring them into the mission and equip them to take regular (quarterly or monthly) photos during services.
Yes, sometimes you do still have to do an event post. However, try to incorporate a story telling edge, or a video. Whenever possible, try to avoid the traditional square event graphic.
Beyond Social Media
Social media is just one part of a comprehensive church marketing strategy. An integrated approach involves SEO, social media, Google Grants, and more.