7 Steps for a Successful Church Social Media Strategy in 2022 – Part 3

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Being a church social media manager can be overwhelming and if you’re like most, this is not your “full time” job! In this 3-part article, we are walking you through the steps you can take to develop a successful social media strategy for your church. In Part 1, we shared how to put together a volunteer team and identify the audiences you want to reach. In Part 2, we help you  develop an action plan and pick the right social media channels to use to meet your goals. Now in Part 3 we talk about developing and publishing great content and measuring your results.

Step 5: Develop and Publish Your Content

If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You now have a solid understanding of who your church can reach and what steps you want them to do. Now you’re ready to start getting creative and developing your content.

Once per month write out the plan for who, when & where you’ll create your content.

For this I recommend creating a google folder in your Drive account and creating multiple documents, one for each category of people you want to reach. For example, if you’re going to target single moms, young adults and youth, create three google docs, one for each demographic. This will help keep your content organized and make it easier to plan and develop it. I would recommend starting to brain dump ideas for the following month during the last week of your current month. So plan on using the last week of January to plan out the month of February.

Create Great Content

Now that you have the blueprints for what type of content you want to use, it’s time to start creating it. Your content should either take the shape of graphics, photos or short videos, and there’s lots of ways to create and publish it. Here are a few of them:

Use Canva to design graphics

Canva.come is a super user-friendly online editing platform that allows people to quickly create beautiful designs for their church without needing too much graphic design experience. They do offer a free account, but you can choose to upgrade to a premium account for $12/month, which provides you access to more stock photos, artwork, font styles and more.

Use Outreach Social for graphics and scheduling to Facebook and Instagram

To help really shorten prep time in creating graphics and posting them on social media, we recommend the Outreach Social platform. Outreach Social provides you access to thousands of beautifully-designed images and motion graphics. The site allows you to search the different categories offered in the library and set up a Social calendar to auto-post graphics for you. You can also upload your own graphics or photos and quickly schedule them to post as well. 

Ideally it’s best to have three posts go out each day. We recommend using the four following categories throughout the day to avoid your post from appearing repetitive: 

  •  Scriptural – Post Bible verses to use to encourage your followers.
  • Church Culture – Use photos of different ministries to help outsiders get an idea for who your church is.
  • Advertising – Promote different events, ministries or small groups that you want people to join. We recommend only advertising one event per day if possible.
  • Recruit – Using this category to encourage followers to volunteer for specific serving opportunities. You can even use photos of people serving at your church.

Use a smartphone for taking pictures and videos

You can easily use a smartphone to capture the DNA of your church through photos and video. Some churches prefer higher-end camera equipment, but don’t let a lack of professional equipment discourage you from taking photos and video. In fact, having your social media team use their smartphone  allows you to capture more images and frees up your time. Have someone in your sanctuary taking photos, while others are stationed in kids church, the lobby or the parking lot. By using teamwork, you can aquire a month’s worth of photos and graphics in one Sunday!

STEP 6: Publish and Post Your Content

You’ve got photos, graphics and videos of your church, volunteers and activities, now it’s time to “go live”! The great thing about social media is that you can post regularly and freely for everyday use and then boost your reach to new audiences by running “ads”. 

Not every graphic, video or photo is worthy of running an ad, but setting aside some funds to run ads for key events will help your online evangelism efforts. So what should you promote with an ad? Here are a few ideas: 

  • Easter Egg Hunts
  • Harvest Festivals
  • Marriage or Parenting Events
  • Movie Nights
  • Special Speakers

Plan ahead and create a budget for online ads.

If you’re planning on targeting audiences using Facebook ads, make sure you have a pre-planned budget. We strongly recommend starting small, especially if  you’ve never run a Facebook ad before.

Facebook ads can be complicated and while they’re extremely effective in connecting with people in your community, it can be time consuming trying to set up and manage a Facebook ad on your own. That’s where a service like Outreach Facebook Ads can be a huge help. This service provides you with a professional graphic and can help you  reach up to 8,000 people and acquire over 150 website visits to your church for only $300! PLUS you get reports so you can see how your ad performed.

Use Google Drive or another Cloud service to save your content to before publishing it

You can easily create a folder in Google Drive and give permission to your team to upload their videos and photos to. This will make it much easier for you when it comes to accessing all the footage and scheduling it onto social media. It will also make it easy for your team members to upload the content so that they’re not using up storage on their mobile devices.

STEP 7: Run a Periodic Evaluation

We highly recommend running some kind of periodic report in order to measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy. This not only helps your church leadership team understand the positive impact your social strategy is having on your community, but it also helps you identify what’s working and what areas may need improvement. To run a periodic report, here’s a few key indicators to watch out for:

Look for number of impressions

Impressions indicate how many people “saw” your post. It’s a similar concept to when someone is driving and happens to see a billboard, or is listening to the radio and hears an ad. The great thing about social media is that you can measure how many people are seeing your posts or ads. The larger this number is, the more people your church is reaching.

Number of engagements

Engagements are when people interact with your post. This can be through the form of a Like, Share or Comment. You will typically see a lower amount of engagements compared to your impressions. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your social media strategy, getting engagement from people who see your posts is always going to be harder. We recommend using the 10% method to measure the health of your post engagements. If a post received 100 impressions, then a healthy engagement would be 10 Likes, Comments or Shares.

Number of New Followers

Acquiring new social media followers is crucial to measuring how effectively you’re connecting with people online. If your Facebook page has had zero new followers in the last 30 days, you should plan some ways to encourage people to connect. Some steps you might think about taking could include:

  • Sending an email – once every few months you can send an email to your church members with a URL link to your social media pages and encouraging them to like your page. Or, if you do any kind of newsletter, include a segment that invites them to like your pages. 
  • Run an announcement slide – If your church has announcement slides in between services, make sure to include one that invites everyone attending service to follow you on social media. 
  • Facebook Ad – You can run a Facebook ad for the sole purpose of acquiring Facebook followers. These kinds of ads focus more on encouraging people in your community to Like your page vs. attending an event. 

Set some numbers goals to help understand your growth

As you evaluate each month’s number, think about setting some realistic goals for the following month. You can either use solid numbers or percentages to create a list of goals, like the following:

  • Impressions:
    Solid number: 100 new impressions on all posts total
    Percentage: 5% new impressions on all posts
  • Engagement:
    Solid number: 10 new engagements on all posts
    Percentage: 5% new engagements on all posts
  • Followers:
    Solid number: 5 new followers
    Percentage: 3% new followers

Probably the best way to keep track of your social media growth and goals is in a Google Sheet. At Outreach, we’ve created a free reporting tool that allows you input your daily posts impressions, engagement types, new followers and even event signups. You can either update the rows on a daily basis, or, spend a little time once a week updating them. At the end of each month, you can take your report and present these key areas to your church leadership, pastor, and social media team. If numbers aren’t to your liking, you can work with your team to change your strategy to see if it improves them the next month. Some Trial and Error may be necessary to find your effective posts.

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Isaac Cano is the Sites and Social Media Coordinator at Outreach Digital. He’s been involved in church ministry for 12 years and is passionate about helping pastors and church leaders reach more people in their community

Isaac Cano

Isaac Cano