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Leveraging Social Media for Church Growth: 10 Best Practices

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Social media isn’t just for young people anymore. With everyone and their dogs on digital platforms today, organizations are leveraging new strategies to keep up with the online world and connect with their audiences over the internet.

Churches are no exception. An increasing number of spiritual communities are harnessing the power of social media to share their messages and bring new members into the fold. Social channels allow churches to expand their influence and reach “untapped markets.”

Here are 10 tips on how you can take full advantage of social media for church growth.

1. Create a Welcoming Social Media Presence

The first step in cultivating any sort of online presence is understanding your audience and tailoring your platforms/channels accordingly. For churches, it’s especially important to create a welcoming and inclusive environment online, as this lays the foundation for your future outreach efforts — you want your audience to know that you care.

Use consistent branding, such as logos and color schemes, across all platforms to make your church instantly recognizable. Craft posts that resonate with your audience. For example, you might share:

  • Uplifting daily messages
  • Sermon highlights
  • Church community involvement stories

This creates a sense of belonging. By following your content over time, your audience will begin to feel they know you, even if they haven’t actually interacted with your church in person. If they’re local, this may eventually lead to membership.

2. Use Video Content

Video content is a cornerstone of effective social media strategies — and there are many ways to use videos to engage your audience. Whether it’s through livestreaming your services or sharing video ads, this type of content is great for reaching those who are unable to attend your events.

While video sermons and related content gained traction during the pandemic, it seems they’re largely here to stay. Though in-person church attendance has risen steadily, 22% of Christians reported watching online services more often than they did during the height of COVID, indicating a slow but sure trend toward digital worship.

The bottom line? A significant number of congregants prefer worshiping at home, and video content is a fantastic way to reach those people who wouldn’t otherwise interact with your church.

3. Engage with Your Audience

Social media is so much more than just a broadcasting tool — it’s a platform for conversation. If you’re serious about promoting church growth, it’s important to actively engage with groups, organizations, and individuals online.

There are several ways you can interact with people through social media. One of the most effective methods is by creating interactive posts. For instance, you could ask for feedback through an anonymous online survey or create a simple Instagram poll to get a feel for your audience’s likes and dislikes.

Be sure to respond promptly and thoughtfully to as many comments as you can. This shows that you aren’t just an online logo but real people with a real church community. Sharing testimonials and personal faith stories from church members can also be a powerful way to connect and inspire others.

4. Develop a Hashtag Strategy

Hashtags may have had their day in the sun, but they’re still a valuable tool for spreading social media content. They help categorize content and make it more discoverable to target audiences. Create a unique set of hashtags for your church for general use, as well as specific hashtags for events or sermon series.

This can be tremendously helpful in parsing content and encouraging channel visitors to spread your message far and wide to increase visibility. And the numbers don’t lie: Instagram posts featuring at least one hashtag see 12.6% more engagement. 

Take some time to research relevant hashtags. By staying up to speed on trending topics, you can boost online engagement — and possibly get more people in pews.

5. Incorporate User-Generated Content

Business content has its place, but user-generated content brings a fresh breath of authenticity to the digital world and can greatly enhance your church’s social media appeal. Encourage congregants to share their own stories, experiences, and photos from church events. This can add a personal touch to your profiles.

This type of content resonates well with users because it showcases real-life experiences and a close-up look at church community life. It’s one thing for you to brag about how great your church is — it’s quite another for your members to do the advertising for you.

Think of user-generated content like customer testimonials. The good ones really do the talking for you.

6. Collaborate with Influencers

Influencers get a bad rap, but they can work wonders for brands. Partnerships are also beneficial to churches, significantly boosting their social media reach. By partnering with local influencers who align with your church’s values, you can amplify your overall mission and message.

To get even more out of these partnerships, consider inviting influencers to speak at church events or participate in panel discussions. They can offer diverse perspectives and reach a wider audience to encourage church growth.

7. Foster Online Communities

Community is really the heart and soul of any faith-based community. This type of camaraderie extends to the digital space as well, where groups and individuals can come together to spread the gospel message.

To reach the greatest number of people possible, consider creating specific online forums centered around different interest groups within the church, such as youth or volunteer teams. Such spaces enable more targeted communication and engagement, helping members feel more connected to the church and each other.

Connected, supportive church groups are more likely to attract new members and position themselves as leading pillars in the community.

8. Post Inspirational Content on a Regular Basis

Consistently posting inspirational content can keep your audience engaged and remind them of the church’s presence in their lives. This content might include:

  • Daily devotionals
  • Bible verses
  • Spiritual quotes
  • True stories of hope and resilience

Your content should offer spiritual nourishment and be a source of encouragement for followers. Sooner or later, non-members are likely to come across your content, and if it resonates, they may even drop in for a service.

9. Host Virtual Events

Virtual events have become extremely popular and offer excellent opportunities to engage with a diverse range of users. For example, churches can organize online prayer meetings, Bible study sessions, or guest speaker events.

Promoting these events on social media and encouraging online participation can be a great way to reach people outside of your immediate church community.

As any social media marketer will tell you, keeping abreast of the latest digital trends is vital to making a lasting impression on social media. Take advantage of any new features on your channels and experiment with different content formats.

Keeping a finger firmly on the pulse of trending topics is key to keeping your church top of mind and in the digital know. Finding a harmonious blend of traditional worship activities and social media engagement is the best way to reach potential congregants. 

Final Thoughts

Your church probably has a website and may be using livestreams and online donations to leverage the ever-changing digital landscape. Great! Now take the next step. Start using social media to spread your message both locally and around the world. Creating a social media presence for your church can help you make the most of videos, posts, hashtags, virtual events, and content from the church, church members, and even influencers to promote your mission and ideals. A strong social media presence is especially important during the summer months when members are more likely to be away on vacations and family outings. To help your church drive strong engagement and giving during the summer months, check out our newest guide, 10 Tips for Beating the Summer Slump, to set your church and its members up for a summer of fun, engagement, and easy giving.

About Vanco 

Vanco is a trailblazer in the world of digital giving, dedicated to empowering faith-based organizations with effective financial solutions. For over 20 years, Vanco has been at the forefront of creating innovative giving tools, earning the trust of over 25,000 churches and faith-based groups. To learn more about Vanco’s church giving tools and how they seamlessly partner with ACS Technologies’ church management software programs, click here to learn more.