More churches are recognizing that social media is here to stay and can be a powerful force for good. Used well, social media can bring great connection between your members and the church body as a whole. It’s also a great source for communication with members.
While social media can be very good, there are certain dangers that come with its use. Overuse can cause isolation and be an obstacle to connection. Turning to online relationships instead of “real life” connections can make for unhealthy and unrealistic relationships.
Many people struggle with comparison, and that’s often fueled by what they see and experience through the social media they use. It’s important to realize that the pictures we see on our news feeds are only what the other people want us to see. If we compare ourselves to the highlight reel of others’ lives, we’ll certainly struggle with feeling less than.
On the other hand, there are many wonderful reasons to use social media, especially for your church. So how do you use your church’s social media most effectively and for good?
It’s important to view the social media you use as a way to connect with your members and the public, with the intention of developing an ongoing relationship.
When I pick up my phone to scroll through Instagram or Facebook, 95% of the time it isn’t to look up a piece of information, but rather to check in and see how my friends and the people I follow are doing.
You want to develop a relationship with the people you follow, but that’s dependent on what they share. If all they share is what time they woke up, how many sit-ups they did that day, and what they had for lunch, you might choose to unfollow them because that is just boring. We stay connected with someone and follow them because they find a way to share not only what they may be doing but also what they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives. What they share and how they share it draws you in and keeps you checking back in because you feel connected.
The same can be true of your church’s social media. People may check your Facebook page before a big event to make sure they know the right time to show up, but that isn’t what they’re truly interested in.
Share pictures and short videos highlighting different staff members, what they’re doing, and what they have going on in their lives. Is your youth minister working on his seminary degree on the side? Do a short video of him working at his computer on his online class and let him explain what he’s learning and why he chose to seek a seminary degree. Are your discipleship pastor and his wife expecting a baby? Take your members behind the scenes as you surprise them with a baby shower. Introduce them to the staff and lead volunteers, and let viewers hear about why they choose to be involved in your church.
An important thing to remember when you show a video is to make it less than 5 minutes. Most people aren’t going to pause long enough to watch something more than 5 minutes long. The shorter the better is usually a good rule of thumb. If you need to share more information, then let folks know that a second post will be coming with more info. They would rather check back in for a short piece of info than sit and watch something for several minutes.
Don’t be afraid to use humor and sometimes just plan something that will make your audience laugh. You don’t want your church and staff to come across stiff and unapproachable. You want to invite your followers into your church family and let them see what you are all about.
The person who controls and posts on your social media should be someone who uses it themselves every day and has some background in technology, if at all possible. There is so much that can be done to connect with your members and community.
We live in an age where the world, as a whole, is more connected than ever before.
Use this to your advantage by posting often and with purpose. Your ministry team as a whole should not only have input into what is posted each day but also should be aware of what’s being posted.
Social media can be such a powerful force for good, and your church certainly wants to take full advantage of all the good that can be accomplished with this medium.