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How to Use Social Media Effectively in the Church

social media church

People will engage, and it can be more successful at keeping people informed than any church bulletin.

“We need to get…!” is a rallying cry many churches make. When a new thing comes out and a church sees another using it successfully, it’s not uncommon for a church to follow along.

Calvin recently wrote about the church and social media. He wrote about its effectiveness:

So is social media effective for a church? It can be, but in most cases, it probably isn’t. The shocking reality is that I bet most churches know that their Facebook page isn’t producing anything, that is, except an image.

I agree that in most cases it is not effective. The question, however, is:

Why isn’t social media effective?

It’s often not effective because it is implemented and executed poorly. If done right, people will engage, and it can be more successful at keeping people informed than any church bulletin.

The goal for this post is to focus on three separate tools for social media, highlighting the mistakes churches make using them and providing the effective measures. I hope this guide will help you and your church to create a successful implementation or relaunch.

But first, it should be made clear who the audience is.

It’s simple:

1. Church websites, for the large part, are for people new to the church.

2. Social media is for those who are already engaged with the church.

Facebook

It is still the King of all social media. Having nearly 700 million users worldwide will do that. Lots of churches have a Facebook page. Most of them stink. In the movie Field of Dreams, the main character, Ray Kinsella, is told, “If you build it, they will come.” It was in reference to a baseball field. Unfortunately, people will not come to a Facebook page simply because it’s built. Here are several ways to use a Facebook page effectively:

1. Improve how it looks—I’ve seen churches that don’t even bother to use an image on the main page. The default “info” or “wall” page is boring, especially for a new visitor. If you have somebody on staff that knows code (or a volunteer), using HTML, Javascript and CSS, a custom welcome page can be built. Lifechurch.tv offers an excellent example of this. If you don’t have access to somebody who can do that work, use a service such as Pagemodo. They offer easily customized templates. They have plans that allow free pages and low cost monthly prices to have more than one page and remove any Pagemodo branding.

2. Updates, updates, updates—This cannot be stressed enough. Believe it or not, most people do not pay attention to what is in a church bulletin, particularly those who are online. People in your church utilize Facebook. Seeing updates about upcoming events, news, seeing photographs and seeing video will keep them engaged. It allows people to share these experiences with family members or friends.

3. Use a Facebook page, not a personal account—I’ve seen a number of churches do this, and it is a mistake. People don’t want to send a “friend request” to a church account. In order to engage on a Facebook page, all somebody needs to do is “like” that page. Speaking of engaging…

4. Allow people to post to the Facebook page wall—Monitor it so that inappropriate posts can be dealt with. But don’t make the Wall page nothing but a bulletin board. Allow people the ability to express a thought or ask a question if they want to.

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Jay Caruso

During the day I am the director of IT at a third party logistics company in Florida. Outside of work I am a husband to the greatest wife in the world and a father to two beautiful, vibrant (sometimes too vibrant!) children. It was 15 years ago that I became a follower of Jesus Christ and my life has never been the same since.

Jay on ChurchLeaders   Jay's Website

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