Social Media 101

Your church has a Facebook fan page and maybe a Twitter account or two. Is social media really worth the time investment? Will social media lead to any helpful actions or decisions?

The answer is, “of course!”—dependent upon how well you strategically plan and tactically engage with your audience.

Social media is another channel of communication, but it’s also not just another form of communication—it’s relational (or should be). The first question to ask isn’t necessarily should your church use social media, but rather are you adding value to your attendees and communities through social media?

Know why you want to use social media and what you want to achieve with it. Only then will you be able to correctly identify how to use it in your context, with your ministry, following your church’s unique vision.

Social media’s effectiveness for your church is directly proportional to how well it integrates with the unique vision of your church.

Engaging with people via social media requires a good mix of information, insight and two-way dialogue. When social media is a bully pulpit or a shiny megaphone of continuous advertisements, it misses the point of the medium: interactive communication. When your church and ministries are sharing and interacting with your audience, you gain value feedback. If you’re just talking at your audience, eventually you’re just making noise.

Create a Call to Action

With social media, a call to action can be any number of tools, including but not limited to:

  • landing pages
  • videos
  • surveys
  • polls
  • drawings (for a chance to win)
  • giveaways
  • purchases
  • generating responses
  • sharing with their (the audience’s) sphere of influence

For events, activities, volunteer opportunities, service projects and services, creating a call to action means adding a link to generate a response or action. From a new website landing page for a special event to an online poll or survey, giving people something to click and do helps move the message from passive to active.

When it comes to creating content for your social media channels, always be thinking about how you can continually engage your audience in a way that benefits them and endears them to your church’s, ministries’ or pastors’ influence.

Take a look at your church and ministries’ Facebook pages and Twitter status updates. How much of what you communicate is talking at your audience versus talking with your audience? How often are you creating a call-to-action that leads to greater involvement, participation and life-change?

It’s one thing to be “on” social media. It’s quite another to build a strategic social media execution plan! So, how is your church doing? What can you do better?

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Anthony has worked in the secular world of A/V, the ministry world of church staff and the para-church ministry of three companies that serve the church space (Auxano, Fellowship Technologies and Worlds of Wow!). Today, his consultancy focuses on helping churches and para-church ministries leverage appropriate systems, processes and technologies for more effective ministry. Anthony leads out of his strengths of effectively caring for people, efficiently managing resources and enabling scalable growth. He has been consulting, teaching, writing and speaking to church and business leaders for nearly 20 years.