You probably already know how important it is for your church to have a good website. Do you know how valuable social media can be, though? Here are some tips on using social media to your advantage.
Any good PR plan needs an effective strategy to achieve its goals, but first you have to nail down what you want your outcomes to be. Your council or decision-makers should start by answering some questions:
- Whom do you want to reach? Are you providing information primarily to members? Are you hoping to attract visitors?
- What is your message? Does this platform serve as a convenient reminder of upcoming events? What would you like those who are searching for a church to know about you?
- How will you measure success? What is the intended result, and how will you know you have achieved it?
Once you have a basic idea of what you want to accomplish through your online presence, you can start to think about content. While what you post will be mostly dependent on the specific goals you have set, keep the 5-3-2 rule in mind. Out of every ten posts, five should be links to outside relevant sources, three should be posts you create to give information about your organization, and two should be fun posts that humanize your overall content. A common error that many churches make is to focus primarily on promotion. This can be off-putting, particularly for newcomers. By ensuring that half your posts are made up of informational or inspiring curated content and another 20% of what you post is designed to entertain, it is easier to maintain your target audience for the remaining 30% needed to promote your own events.
Your planning meetings should include a decision about which platform or platforms you want to use. You probably don't need an account on every social media site, especially if you don't have a social media marketer on staff to manage all of them effectively. If you do use multiple platforms, you want to make sure they each have some unique content. To keep up with how each of your accounts is performing, it may be helpful to use a dashboard platform.
There are two main ways to utilize Facebook. A page is great for your curated, created and humanization content. A group is a way for members to interact and keep up with each other during the week. It's hard to beat Facebook when it comes to event planning. Even users who don't scroll through their feeds very often at least log in occasionally to monitor their social calendars. Create events on your church's page or in its group to make it easier for followers to keep up with what you are doing and invite others to join.
Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic ways to showcase your best visual content. Your website probably has a photo gallery, but social media gives people a way to comment on photos and engage with others. These two platforms can be used to highlight different ministries within your church. You can make group inspiration boards on Pinterest for each project, team or committee, and your Instagram can document the fun everyone has at each event.
Twitter is probably the easiest platform for sharing curated content. Follow relevant accounts and simply retweet the things they post. They get an extra shout-out, and your followers get information that helps them stay connected to what's going on in the world. You can also host the occasional Twitter party to spark discussion on a particular topic or theme. Just create a catchy hashtag and advertise ahead of time to get as many attendees as possible.
Your church doesn't have to be everywhere on the internet. A couple of well-curated social media accounts can be quite useful, however.