Just like you wouldn’t start a road trip without plugging in your coordinates, you shouldn’t set out on your church social media outreach before making a strategy. It can feel overwhelming and too technical to create a strategy, but following six steps will give you the building blocks you need. Ready? Let’s go!
What problem is your church solving by using social media? Is it to deepen communication with your congregation, expand your community outreach ministry, or share the Word of God with your followers? Specifically writing out your Whys creates a solid foundation to the body of your strategy. Plus, it provides a good reference point when you have multiple requests to post content on your social media channels.
Don’t get knee-deep into your digital communication and realize you should or shouldn’t be on a specific platform. Do some online research, look at what other churches are using, and discuss with your team to decide which platforms your church should be on—andif you have the bandwidth to manage multiple accounts. Don’t fall into the lie that you must be on every single platform. Choose the platforms that fit best with your mission, content, and management time.
If you aren’t inclined to numbers and data, goals can feel scary. If you’re just starting out on social media or even if you already have a digital presence, start basic. Set goals for your follower growth, engagement (link clicks, post reactions, comments, and shares), video watches, and overall social media progression. Be sure to set benchmarks for your goals, and don’t forget to track your numbers! A simple Excel sheet will do the trick.
Review your current social platforms to see what is performing positively and negatively. Identify which posts receive high engagement and content that you should continue pushing out. Map out general categories that you can create content around, such as church communications, youth ministry, small group, scripture, music, church staff, Christian community, and spiritual practices. You’ll find very quickly there is a ton of content you can create when you have a go-to cheat sheet.
Let your inner geek out with a content calendar–it does the soul good to organize and color code! A content calendar is a lifesaver for busy church months, weeks you are on vacation, or delegating Facebook management to a volunteer. Time block a few hours to brain dump posts and campaigns for each platform. You don’t need to write out the full post; instead, record the post focus, links, time of post, and creative medium (photo, text, or video) to provide a starting point in the future.
Delegating a social media manager a.k.a volunteer or staff is important to keep your communication on point with your brand, unified, and succinct. Determine who will manage your social media and let him or her run with it.
Without a point person, you will have multiple people posting on your Facebook page, different styles of Tweeting, a hashtag mess on Instagram, and possible different responses to your followers’ questions. If a team, instead of an individual, will run your social media, train them how to communicate online, manage the content calendar, and keep on brand. Depending on your team, you may consider having each member manage a specific platform.
BONUS STEP: Identify your target audience for each platform. In other words, based on market research, your church, and your community which people group will be actively engaging on each platform? For example, if your church is on Pinterest, your target audience will probably include women under 40 who are looking for encouragement, tools for spiritual growth, and parenting tips.
If you already have social media profiles set up, you can identify the age group, gender, house hold income and more in the platform’s Analytics section.
What is a key step for your church social media strategy? Comment below!
Want practical, time-saving social media tips that will help you effortlessly grow your ministry and save you over 20 hours a month? Take the free Church Social Media Assessment for customized video results and must-do action items!