Social media is an ever-changing landscape, and it can be challenging to know how to use it to your church’s advantage. But regardless of the platform you use, social media is a fantastic way to reach new people and connect with those who call your church home.
Here are a couple tips and tricks to up your church’s social media presence.
1. Focus on one platform at a time.
While it may feel like there is a new social media platform every few months, some platforms have risen above and stood the test of time. Each one comes with its own trends, rules of engagement, and formats.
For example, many of the trending reels you see on Instagram were popular on TikTok several weeks prior. Although you may eventually want to have a presence on several platforms, start by focusing on one and learning the ropes of that particular medium. If you aren’t sure which one to use, consider the resources you already have and the groups you are hoping to reach.
Here’s a useful article how different generations use and interact with social media.
2. Celebrate people.
Whether we admit it or not, we like to see ourselves reflected in the things we consume. By praising your staff and members of your church, you give people a glimpse into the social landscape of your church.
Try handing your account over to a staff member or a small group leader for the day. They can give a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes of your church, a particular ministry, or answer Q&As. While you, as the pastor, are often the face of your church, we all know that it is the people who make up the culture, and using social media to pull back the curtain on that culture is a great way to reach others.
While you’re at it, posting throwbacks of the early days of your church can be a great way to share the story of your church and all God has already done.
3. Offer a sneak peek behind the scenes.
Speaking of behind-the-scenes, try using your socials to show the process of making Sunday mornings happen. One of the things people like about social media is getting a glimpse into the lives of others. Many people just show up and have little idea of the work AND the fun that happens in the lives of those serving behind the scenes.
Share an early snapshot of the upcoming worship set so people can listen ahead and prepare themselves for Sunday. Have the speaker of the week pop in to show how he or she prepared and prayed over God’s Word for this week. Pass the phone to your children’s or student team to share a bit about what they’ve got in store for the kids and students.
This lets people get to know you and highlights places and helps people see themselves serving there, too!
3. Create shareables.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry and teachings, He often used short stories called parables. These made His teachings not only easier to understand (well… except for maybe in Matthew 13:1-23), it made them easier for His followers and listeners to share with their friends, family, and neighbors who missed it.
Although engagement methods change rapidly on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, creating something that people will either want to share or save for later is always a good idea. Whether it’s a quote or a prayer or even a funny video of your student pastor, the more you make shareable content, the higher your engagement will be, and the more the platform will push your content to others.
Creating shareable content can take some trial and error. Once again, start by asking yourself what type of people you are trying and called to reach and go from there.
4. Focus on engagement over entertainment.
People won’t interact with your content unless there’s something to interact with. If you’re posting a lot of photos with a caption reading, “See you Sunday,” you might not be getting a lot of traction.
While building a thriving online community can be a slow process, it is doable, but you have to start with engaging content. Ask questions. Post polls. Interact with commenters when you can – and truly engage those who are a part of the digital community you are growing.
Often times Jesus asked questions of His followers, but more remarkably He listened to their answers and met them where they were (John 4:4-26).
5. State your values clearly.
Social Media is a platform, and one of the best ways you can use your platform is to highlight your values, overall mission, and passion. This does not mean you have to get political, but social media offers you an excellent opportunity to stand with others on matters that are important to you.
Perhaps your church is heavily involved with a couple of ministries. With permission, highlight those ministries on your social media using some of the same techniques mentioned above. This way, people who engage your social media know exactly who your church is and what you stand for.
Sure, social media can be intimidating and overwhelming at times at even where to start, but the opportunity to influence others, share the stories of God’s Kingdom and work happening in your church and community is too great to simply keep swiping on by.
Emily Towns, Staff Writer, Paper Giants