Isn’t it amazing to thing that only a decade ago we lived without Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, iPads, webcams, and most blogs? 20 years ago, the World Wide Web was about to debut—and cell phones enjoyed limited use. I bet you’ve checked your email, Facebook or Twitter page more than once in the last 24 hours.
You aren’t the only one, once these sites became a gathering place for people—celebrities and businesses were quick to recognize them for their great viral marketing potential—befriending fans, posting tour schedules, contests, and coupons.
There is a great potential for the church to find a witness in this network of people, provide pass-along content and start spiritual conversations. Here are five ways to jump in or improve your Internet presence…
(1) Create a Facebook Profile
- What: Create a Facebook profile page for your church and various ministries. Update your pages weekly with status updates, videos, photos and links to content.
- Why: Church members can repost your status updates, messages, videos, links and photos to their own homepages. This equips them with an easy way to start online spiritual conversations using your church’s thought-provoking posts, and can point them back to the source of that content: your church’s profile page.
- How: Go to Facebook.com and follow steps to create a new user account.
(2) Create Facebook Event Pages
- What: Create Facebook event pages for special events, ministry launches, and sermon series.
- Why: And event page provides a central place to communicate with others about your event, and tracks RSVPs. It allows you to (1) invite church members, and (2) empowers church members to invite others.
- How: From your Facebook homepage, click “Events” in the lefthand navigation (or go directly to Facebook.com/?sk=events). Then click the button at the top to “Create an Event.”
(3) Purchase Facebook Ads
- What: Facebook ads allow you space for an image, a brief amount of text, and your Web site.
- Why: Facebook ads can target a specific demographic in your local area, and are flexible to your budget.
- How: From a Facebook profile page, click on “Create an Ad” along the right-hand column, to walk through steps and view further FAQs.
(4) Open a Twitter Account
- What: Start a church Twitter account and begin “following” other people in the area. If they “follow” your church, they will also get to see what you comment about. Post seeker friendly comments and thought provoking questions to garner response. Mention any upcoming events in your feed.
- Why: When you follow unbelievers on Twitter, you show an interest in them as a church. You may be surprised how many non-churchgoers will return the “follow.” As you follow others you will also get a glimpse into what is going on in the hearts, minds and daily lives of your community. As people start “following” your church, your spiritual ponderings can open up dialog with the community, and you can easily invite people to upcoming events.
- How: Go to Twitter.com and follow prompts to create a new user account. Start following friends of friends and local businesses (newspapers, favorite restaurants, local bars, etc.).
(5) Launch a Blog
- What: Start a pastor blog. Let your congregation know that you are posting further info on sermon topics, spiritual questions, or life experience, so they can join the online conversation you’ve started.
- Why: Allow viewers to comment on your content and share your posts with friends via Facebook and Twitter.
- How: Create a blog on your church’s Web site, or use the free hosting services at BlogSpot.com or WordPress.com.
Is your church taking advantage of social media?