When part of your job description is managing social media, you tend to get a lot of questions about how to use Facebook or Instagram; at least that has been the case for me over the past 2 years. No matter who I talk to about social media–pastors or ministry leaders or congregation members–there are a few questions I’m always asked.
Why should my church be on social media?
Your church likely sponsors the town high school’s sports teams, attends local festivals, and supports businesses in the area. We do all of these things and more because we want to reach new people, and we want to meet people where they already are. The same can be said of social media. People in your community are already scrolling through Facebook on their lunch break and checking Instagram before bed, so why not meet them where they are?
Establishing a Facebook page or Instagram account for your church puts your church’s posts in your congregation’s news feeds. It gives you a new platform to communicate announcements, invite prayer requests, and further connect with your congregation throughout the week. Your congregation is already on social media; meet them there.
What should my church post to social media?
Acts 2:42-47 describes the early church as being devoted to the apostles’ teaching, coming together to break bread and pray, giving to anyone who was in need, meeting together every day, and praising God. Your church is likely trying to accomplish many of these qualities, as well, through gathering for weekend worship, sharing in communion, and taking up an offering.
Have you considered using social media to do each of these things, as well? Use social media to help congregants devote themselves to teaching by sharing scripture, sermon quotes, or devotionals. Create a Facebook group and post there often to bring people together daily. Post a link to your online giving website and share a story of how your church’s giving has impacted a member of the community. Ask people to comment with their prayer requests and pray for the comment above their own. Share stories of what is happening in and around your church, and praise God on social media for all He is doing in your community. Be the church beyond the four walls of your meeting space. Use social media to connect with your congregation constantly.
How do I get more people to interact with our church’s social media?
If you are already on social media, you may have trouble getting many people to see the content you are posting. There are tons of tips and tricks online for how to get more interaction on social media, but these are my go-tos:
1. Consider your audience.
Make sure that when you post, you understand who you’re posting to. Any post you make will only be seen by people who already like your page. Don’t post something to social media that’s meant for people outside your church, because people outside your church don’t follow your page. Instead, post content intended for your congregation that is also understandable by guests. If someone who has never been to your church scrolls through your Facebook page, would they want to visit your church based on what you post?
2. Don’t use social media as a bulletin board.
I see too many churches that only use social media to encourage people to show up to in-person events. If your entire social media presence is an advertisement for events at your church, you’re missing the point. Use your church’s social media to foster community and encourage interaction, not just to advertise events.
3. Build social media into your culture.
The Facebook algorithm is a jungle, but you can learn how to navigate it to your advantage. Teach your congregation to always like and comment on your church’s posts; this will tell Facebook to show these posts to more users. Figure out a way to build social media into your church’s existing communication platforms. Maybe your pastor leads the whole congregation in checking in on Facebook at the beginning of service each week. Maybe when you create a Facebook event you take 60 seconds out of service to walk your congregation through inviting their friends to the event. Maybe you print an announcement in your newsletter or bulletin about following your church on Facebook and Instagram. Create a culture in your congregation of utilizing social media.
Should I pay to advertise on social media?
Obviously a post that you pay for (called a Boost in the Facebook world) will get more views, likes, and interactions. However, whether or not you pay to boost posts is entirely up to you. In July my church hosted a Vision Night for our community. We are a church plant hoping to launch services in November, so this event was to share our vision for the church with community members and leaders in hopes that they would want to get involved. We created a Facebook event and invited everyone we knew, and we boosted the event for $100 to the zipcode of our church for two weeks leading up to the event. We had 2 people attend this event without a personal invitation because they saw the event on Facebook. One was connected to someone else in attendance, and the other was new in town and had been looking for a church home since moving to the area. Both people joined our launch team and are now active members of our congregation. It is certainly never necessary to pay to boost Facebook posts, but if a boost is done well, it will pay off.
So what’s next for your church? Do you need to create a Facebook page? Are you ready to branch out into Instagram? Will you boost your first post or share brand new content today? Whether your church has been on social media for ages or you’re just getting into the game, take a moment to assess your current social media presence and develop a plan to use social media to point more people toward Jesus.
Kat is a dangerously outspoken, bluntly honest, fearlessly loving follower of Jesus. Before moving to Chicago in February of 2019 to plant a church with Missio Dei and Converge MidAmerica, she worked for a multicampus church in Florida as a social media director, worship leader, media producer, and graphic designer. For more from Kat, check out her website.