Last week, I had the privilege to sit down with NewPointe Community Church’s Assistant Communications Director, Brandon Hostetler, to learn how churches can leverage social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to engage their congregation and reach their community.
Here are 4 tips that churches small and large can put into place today.
If you’re anything like me, trying to figure out what to post can be overwhelming. Getting started in social, however, doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.
Brandon says, “You don’t need a complicated strategy or plan to get started. Start small. The objective is to get something out there.”
Brandon recommends shooting for two posts per day. Using Facebook’s scheduling tool (which we’ll discuss below), you can schedule a whole week — or a whole month — of content in advance.
And don’t stress out if you miss a day! Brandon says, “Even I miss a day!” You can always get back into the swing of things the next day.
Create goals and action steps
As Lewis Carroll writes in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same is true with managing your church’s social media profiles.
Brandon recommends setting some initial goals — in terms of number of people reached, number of people who like your page, or visits to your church website — and define action steps to get you there.
“Once you have a list of goals,” he says, “work toward one goal at a time.” If you pursue too many goals at once, you’ll get overwhelmed and lose your focus. And if you’re having trouble meeting a goal, don’t be afraid to put that goal on hold for a while to pursue another.
Focus on people
As I’ve shared on our blog, your church has two audiences — your congregation and your community. The most effective content is going to answer the question, “How does this make a difference in my life?”
Brandon says, “People are interested in what you can do for them.” Not to be too consumeristic, that could mean helping your congregation and people from your community take the next best step for them in their spiritual growth.
When you connect with the people who follow your church on social media and build a relationship with them, they’ll be more open to engaging with and sharing your message.
Brandon shared his formula for balancing engaging and promotional content.
- 50% of posts – Share interesting and entertaining posts (should spark conversation)
- 30% of posts – Offer helpful information (tips of advice, FAQ’s, etc.)
- 20% of posts – Promotion of your business/church. (AKA events that your church is doing)
If you add up the numbers, 80% of the material you are posting is about or containing information that benefits your congregation, and only 20% of that is “promotional” content that benefits your church.
Take advantage of the features each platform has to offer
Facebook’s news feed is only one tool in your toolbox. As you start using social media to communicate with your church and your community, there are a number of tools that you may overlook.
Here are a few to consider.
- Facebook’s scheduling tool. Brandon recommends scheduling out a week of content at one time. Create a Google doc to share with your team, gather your content for that week, and use Facebook’s scheduler to “set it and forget it.”
- Facebook advertising. You may not be sold on the idea of “advertising” for a church, but stick with me here. Facebook offers “boosted posts” to help you reach not only the people who like your page, but their friends and friends-of-friends as well. For a few dollars, you can promote an upcoming event or new sermon series as a tool to help your congregation invite their friends.