Social media is a powerful tool that can be adapted to suit a broad range of potential applications. Whether you are looking to expand the presence of your church online and attract new followers or you'd like to provide more value to people who already attend, social media can prove invaluable.
Live Stream Your Sermons
Whether your church is located in a big city or a small town, not everyone can make it to service every Sunday for any number of possible reasons. Maybe they're feeling under the weather. Maybe they're out of town on business. This doesn't mean they have to miss out.
The availability of free online streaming services like Facebook Live and live streaming on YouTube make it surprisingly easy to provide a live video feed of your sermons or special events. You can start as simply as using the webcam on a laptop in church or you can invest in more advanced equipment as your budget and expertise allow.
Live streams can also be a great way to reach out to people who are outside of your local community and welcome them 'into' the church. Best of all, the videos are easily saved and archived for later viewing too.
Start a Facebook Group
Business and organizations of all sizes can benefit from having a Facebook page. That's a great place to share new content, promote upcoming events, and grow your following. However, pages are distinctly different from Facebook Groups and your church can benefit from having both.
Whereas Facebook pages are designed such that the page owner will be posting most (if not all) of the content, Facebook Groups are designed more like discussion forums where all the members share and interact with one another. These groups can be a great way for churchgoers to get to know one another and foster a tremendous sense of community in a more relaxed online environment.
Share Scripture in a Visual Format
Care to highlight particularly poignant or timely passages from the Bible? Instagram is a great place to do this if you create a social media-friendly graphic rather than simply posting the words themselves. A variety of graphic design tools are available online for exactly this purpose and Canva is one of the easiest and most accessible.
You've likely seen similar social media graphics with inspirational quotes. The same format can be very effective for scripture passages. Just be sure to research the best time to post to maximize your reach and impact.
Plan Your Content Calendar
It's important to keep up with a regular (ideally daily) presence across all social media platforms where your church has an active presence. Consider using one of the many social media management tools to plan and even schedule your tweets, Facebook posts and more. Creating a social media content plan is a great way to help keep your social media page from going dormant for days or weeks at a stretch.
Use a social media content calendar template to plan out your content weeks or even months in advance. You don't want to miss timely opportunities to remind followers about upcoming Bible studies, fundraising campaigns, and special events, as well as holiday-themed content around special dates.
Ask Permission Prior to Posting
Social media can be very visual in nature. Posting photos and videos directly on Facebook, rather than linking to an external site like YouTube, are generally favored by the site's algorithm. However, it is important that you ask the permission of church members and service or event attendees before posting their photos online. This is especially important regarding children. Not everyone is comfortable having their picture posted on the Internet and you should strive to respect their wishes.
Engage With Followers
Most importantly of all, don't use social media purely as a broadcast tool. It's not like a billboard, a newspaper or a radio station. Instead, think of social media as a platform to facilitate meaningful conversation. Monitor the activity across all your social media feeds carefully and be sure to respond to comments and questions in a timely manner. This demonstrates how much you care about your followers and what they have to say, which is precisely the warm and connected impression you want them to have about your church.
Expand Your Reach With Social Media
These are just a few of the many ways churches can benefit from social media. Get started with a few of these tips to expand your social media presence and boost engagement with church members, prospective members, and others in the community. Once you have gotten the hang of it, add in additional social media tips beneficial for faith-based organizations like yours.