A recent Pew Research Center study showed that the majority of Americans use Facebook and YouTube. And, Church social media use is on the rise.
The social usage of other platforms varies by demographic but those are the most popular.
For instance, 78% of adults 18-24 years use Snapchat.
Social media has become a standard tool for communicating and one that needs to be embraced!
According to the Pew Study, the most popular social platforms – in order of US adult usage:
- YouTube (73%)
- Facebook (68%)
- Instagram (35%)
- Pinterest (29%)
- Snapchat (27%)
- LinkedIn (25%)
- Twitter (24%)
- Whatsapp (22%)
Churches are often laggards when it comes to technology trends but are now learning how to improve social media by taking advantage of the available social technologies to improve communications with their members and community.
Ten years ago few churches had a plan for communicating through social platforms, but that has all changed.
An estimated 60% of churches now use some sort of social media to share information.
Despite differences in the size of the church, annual contributions, and age of pastors – more and more churches are now realizing the benefits of social communications.
This has changed the traditional communication model of email, printed copy, or the occasional phone call.
For instance, big church events may have warranted a press release to share information with those outside the organization.
But churches now share this type of information via social networks.
5 Tactics for Using Church Social Media
1. Develop a Church Social Media Strategy
Take some time and research what is working in other organizations and brainstorm ways to use social tools to communicate with members and nonmembers alike.
Target users by demographic and cover all the bases. For instance, if this study is correct and the majority uses Facebook and YouTube, create content, and push it on those platforms.
Get your youth group involved in helping to use Snapchat for their demographic!
2. Set Goals for Church Social Media
How can a church manage social media? The first step is to set goals and hold employees accountable for achieving those goals.
Create specific goals and targets for social media as part of that process.
Think about the who (target audience), what (message), and how (process) the church wants to communicate and ways it can be done consistently.
Set goals that help you understand social usage.
For instance, set goals to track the number of content shared, number of likes by platform, number of comments, engagement per post, or number of new followers.
Use these goals to focus on social growth and engagement.
3. Assign Responsibility
Once a social strategy has been established, it is important to assign accountability to someone for ensuring it gets done.
Social tools are only as effective as the frequency that they are used and can be one of those things that get done after all other competing responsibilities are finished.
Assign the task to someone and hold them accountable for getting it done!
Create a reporting system to track the social goals and adjust the strategy based on those results.
4. Solicit Feedback
Talk to church members and have them help identify ways to use social tools to better communicate with them.
Conduct a focus group and try to gain new ideas from your employees, volunteers, and members.
For instance, talk to age-specific demographics about the platform of choice, content interest, and format.
5. Write Church Social Media Policy
Establishing a process for social communication is important to ensure consistency and quality of content. Once a system has been created, write policy and train employees and volunteers (if applicable) on what internal boundaries and requirements are.
We see all too often those social messages that have gone wrong – that is the last thing you want. Set some boundaries and monitor content and messaging to ensure it is consistent with your church message and brand.
No one knows what new technologies will be available ten years from now but churches should be taking advantage of the many tools that are available to improve church communications and spread the message!