The way people communicate has changed. Today more and more people communicate and consume information via social media. People trust what friends and family share increasingly more than other avenues of information. Social media marketing does not have to be difficult or costly. A few simple steps can be taken to use social media for church growth.
Churches need to get information to their members and the community around them. Spreading the word is their mandate. Churches should meet their members and the community where they are, today that means using social media. Using social media as a way to minister to the community can help bring the community into your church boosting your
How do you use social media for church growth?
- Appoint a social media person
- Have a social media strategy
- Understand the audience and types of content
- Follow up with every new comment
According to Barna Group the use of the internet and smart phones has increased significantly since 2011. Many churches are ready to embrace technology. They offer free wifi to staff and guests. Most churches have an email list that they send out newsletters and updates to their members. The best way to spread the Word and grow your base is to allow those members to share the information that is available to them already. Members that share the church’s message, with friends and family, is your best advertisement.
Steps to Start Using Social Media for Church Growth
1. Appoint a social media person
Your social media guru doesn’t have to do it all alone, but they do need to know how to set up accounts and share content that is made by themselves and others. They need to understand how to use the right social media platforms to get the most of out them. They should also encourage others to use the platforms to share information with their friends and family. They are required to have a clear understanding of what the church message is and to who they want to send that message to in the community.
2. Have a social media strategy
Know what you want to say and how you want to say it. You need to know who your target is and what they want and need to see. It is important to know what type of information they need and when. That will help you decide which platform to use for your content. It isn’t as important to have a lot of content as it is to be consistent with the right type of content. Members and guests need to be able to anticipate when content will be delivered. They will start to look forward to it. It is helpful to have a social media calendar and stick to it.
3. Understand the audience and types of content
Understanding the audience and types of content that is appropriate
4. Follow up with every new comment
People want to be engaged in a conversation. It is one of the reasons that social media is effective. Reply to individual’s comments and posts, answer questions truthfully and authentically. Keep your schedule so that your posts continually are in front of your followers. The more activity, the higher your rankings on the platforms will be. Often that is a factor in how many followers see your posts.
Ways to Use Social Media for Church Growth
Once you understand how to use the social media platforms you want to share the right content with your members and the community. Studies have found that people trust information from friends and family more than other advertising avenues. So put content out there that your members will want to share with their friends and family.
- Video testimonials
- Daily Devotionals
- Praise and Worship
- Bible studies
- Life groups
- Special guests
- Special Announcements
All of these are ways to reach members and the community. Many churches already have email lists so they can send out newsletters. Add shareable content when you send the next one out and with each new email going forward. Let your readers know that you want them to share with their friends and family.
Facebook is often the first place to start. They have the ability to make groups and events to help you target the audience you need to see your message. An example would be having a group or event just for staff, if needed. Also you can start groups based on different bible studies or church groups if members wanted to continue the conversation outside of the church. Facebook is the best one to start with if you haven’t already got a page, make one. If you have one that isn’t maintained well, go through and delete old posts that do not align with your new social media strategy.
YouTube is also a great platform for churches. Starting a YouTube channel is easy and quick. It is easy to share across platforms. You can add videos of sermons, praise and worship, and special events. Add weekly podcasts to reach followers and the community alike. It is suggested that the average user is on social media two hours a day. They are already there so you might as well use it to your advantage and put your content in front of them. Video is a great learning tool and almost every platform has a way to share them.
Another avenue to reach the community is for members to broadcast live at church events. Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, and other platforms offer this service. It helps connect the viewer in real time to what is going on in your congregation. You can broadcast tidbits of events that you have going on to attract interest with information on what is coming up next in your church. Live broadcasts are becoming more popular among every demographic.
If the social media platform you are using has the option to add a location so people can check in, use it. It is a great way for people to interact and share their church home with others. Facebook does offer this option and others are developing the option.
There are two fundamental purposes of using social media for church growth. Engaging with your current members and reaching new people. Making your information shareable will help the current members share with their community and convert those community members into church members. Your content must be authentic and true to your church message. You want that message shared everywhere, that is your brand. The message is what you need to bring in the community so make it simple and easy to understand. Then share it in every format, photos, posts, videos, and of course share it across as many of the social media platforms as you can.
How do I let church members know what platforms we are using?
There are a couple of ways to inform your members about the social media platforms you are using to reach the masses. You should announce it during service. You already have the audience and they are already listening. Also, add the logos of the social media platforms you are engaging with to your newsletter, both physical and digital. Additionally, put the logos on all of your promotional information as well, so that anyone that sees your material will be able to connect with you socially. Most people check out new places online for a sense of their message and reviews.
If I am using several different social media platforms how do I post to all of them without being overwhelmed?
The best way to post to several social media platforms is using a social media sharing service such as Hootsuite, Hubspot Marketing, Loomly, eClincher and others. It is possible to add all your platforms to a social media sharing, however you might have to shop around to find the right service. You can then schedule posts and let the service take care of it. This way you can put aside the allotted time each week or month, depending on how often you post, and get back to other church business.
How can I use social media to decrease my advertisement spending?
Social media is the new way to communicate. If members of your church are sharing your message to their friends and family your other advertising dollars can be put to better use. There are services that you can use on social media to advertise to a targeted audience. These have been found to be effective because again the average user is on social media for a significant part of the day. Facebook and other platforms even give followers the option of donating to your church or specific causes that your church may need help financing.