From businesses to entertainers, social media has become a dominant force in promoting your brand. One subset of social media marketing has recently been on the rise. I’m speaking, of course, about the church. Many churches, from independent to organization-based, have begun to embrace social media as a means of connecting with their congregations, organizing church events or simply as a repository for pictures of said events. These are all great uses, of course, but there is so much more that social media can do for your ministry.
So, how can you use social media to maximize your Church’s reach?
1) Figure Out Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Church –
Not all social media platforms are ideal for nurturing a Church’s digital presence. Instagram and Snapchat are great for posting pictures and videos of events, but can lack substance due to limited room for text. They should be used in more of a supplemental capacity, or to share high-impact visuals from the church. According to Sproutsocial, a large swath of adult social media users are on Facebook, with a high middle-age to senior citizen demographic. Chances are that most, if not all of your congregants use it. Create a Page for your church, highlighting your mission, services, programs, events, or daily scripture reflections. This is an ideal means of presenting your ministry to the world at large. A carefully curated Facebook Group is also very useful. You’ll find that inviting your members to join, allowing them to interact with you and with each other gives you an efficient way to engage with them not JUST on Sundays, but every single day of the week.
2) Broadcast Your Services –
For something that seems so obvious, this is typically a controversial suggestion. Some churches that I’ve done audits for seemed reticent to bring the world into their sanctuaries. One concern is that making it easier for people to remotely access your live-streamed services could result in lower attendance rates. I’ve found that to not actually be the case. In churches that I have helped implement this change, attendance remained consistent among the congregation, and the stream even drew visitors. There is a culture within the Church that makes it a taboo to miss even one service. Most church-goers found it comforting to be able to go on vacation with their families and still be able to catch their church service online. Not only does this foster a guilt-free atmosphere, it builds feelings of loyalty and ownership among the congregants. The second benefit of broadcasting your services is an obvious one: it brings new eyes to your ministry. The goal of any Church ministry is to win souls. And with the amount of souls from across the globe currently residing on social media, it is the biggest platform you have to spread your message. Live-streaming your services can act as a low barrier of entry for people who aren’t comfortable in a church environment.
3) Repurpose Your Old Media –
With Social Media, content is king! There’s no point being present on social media platforms and not have anything to say! As a church, there are a variety of things you can post: inspirational quotes, daily scriptures, information on upcoming events, among other things. However, there is much more that can be done. As stated in the #2, regularly live-streaming services, bible studies and other instructional material can be a very effective means of bringing eyes to your ministry. The further upside to this is that you can edit short clips of sermons that pack powerful, meaningful messages and post them intermittently on your social media. These are often more impactful than just written messages, as the emotion comes through more clearly. And what about audio? Most Churches record their sermons on CDs and, depending on how old the ministry is, can have years of these old messages stockpiled. With some creative editing, you can repurpose these audio recordings into Podcasts. As the graphic shows, a Podcast is an incredible way to spread the word of God to a large swath of people. Curating your old sermons into a single, regularly updated Podcast is an excellent way to bring in a new audience. Not only that, but newer members of your congregation would be able to benefit from listening to sermons that they have missed. Maybe something in your Church’s archives could be the message that speaks directly to them?
As often as social media is portrayed as a scary, wild west-like frontier, it is important to realize that it can, in fact, be a blessing to any Church’s ministry if used correctly. These are just a few tips to get started, but it is important to note that if you treat social media as it was intended, as a means of bringing people together instead of dividing them, you’ll definitely be able to do God’s work, win more souls and nurture the souls that you have already won.