You’re probably using all kinds of great church marketing solutions to help get the word out about your church and invite people to come visit. Is church social media on that list? Social media is a fantastic way of reaching out and creating community in church, especially for special services or events.
Why bother using social media?
The truth is, conversation and community are happening online whether churches participate or not. Did you know the average person spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media? A major goal of the church is to “be where the people are,” so if your church is leaving out digital spaces like social media platforms, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with people.
Now that we’ve covered the “why”, here are the five tips to help you build community through church social media:
1. Go Live, and Go Live Often
There’s a lot of buzz around the use of live video as a way to enage with followers on social media. Facebook is heavily emphasizing the importance of using live video to connect with your audience — the more you do it, the more Facebook rewards you by showing your posts to more people.
But don’t let the live aspect intimidate you! Facebook Live is not meant to be Hollywood-quality production. Authenticity is the goal here, so put your iPhone on selfie mode and start connecting with your followers. Here are a few great ideas for Facebook Live videos:
- Live stream your Sunday service
- Weekly 60 second updates from the Pastor
- Peek behind the scenes of big church event
- Quick looks at different ministries within your church
2. Facebook Goes Community First
Facebook regularly updates their algorithm, and the latest updates emphasize the reward of the community aspect of Facebook. Think less ads and more genuine interaction with friends and family. This is a good thing for churches! After all, our goal is to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere both online and offline. So, what does this mean for your Facebook posts?
Focus on engagement. Posts that encourage responses and comments will do best with the new algorithm. Ask questions, share interesting content, use GIFs, but make sure you don’t comment bait.
You can have fun with this! Get a team together and brainstorm ways to keep your Facebook content engaging and fresh. Here’s a handy breakdown of how much you should be posting:
- 20% – announcements or church events
- 20% – Facebook Live and original content
- 10% – curated news (relevant articles and videos from other sources)
- 50% – engagement posts
3. Share Your Story
Every church has a story. How are you telling yours? People are drawn to authenticity, so sharing your unique story with your congregation and community is a great way to increase meaningful engagement on church social media.
Instagram Stories is one of the most popular ways to do this with social media. Stories show up at the top of user’s feeds, so they’re often the first thing that gets clicked on.
It’s kind of like Facebook Live, but for Instagram. Your Instagram Stories don’t have to be polished and professionally produced — think real-time updates about events, peeks behind the scenes at events, or shoutouts tagging people from your church.
Plus, Instagram is a GREAT way to engage with a younger demographic.
4. Make it an Event
Creating an actual Facebook event for a special service, church event, or program is a great way to directly engage your congregation and larger community. Here’s what you need to do:
- Have a great cover photo that is sized correctly (1920×1080 pixels)
- Write a dynamic description — this is serving as your invitation, so write it in a way that makes people want to come! Use keywords like “Easter”, “community”, or “kid-friendly”.
- Encourage your members to be engaged — the more people click the “going” button, the more Facebook will show your event across the platform. The easiest way to do this? Announce the event in church and immediately have your congregation pull out their phones, click the “going” button, and share it with their Facebook friends.
5. A Digital Experience
Church social media is a great way to create an intentional digital experience by engaging your community before, during and after your event.
- Create a unique hashtag for your event, like #easteratnewlife or #newlifebbq. Use the hashtag in posts leading up to the event, and encourage your church to use it, too! During the event, remind them to use the hashtag when they post pictures and video to their social media accounts.
- Have a photo booth – these are a fun way to get people engaged and having fun at your event, and you can encourage them to share the photos on their social media profiles with the event’s hashtag.
- Window clings or modular art provide great backdrops for photos, plus you can keep using them as decor year round.
- Make a Snapchat geofilter or lens. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to have a filter for a small area for a few hours. By using a geofilter, guests at your event can promote your event while they are there and build excitement and awareness about your church. Plus, when friends of your guests see what a great time they are having at your event, they’ll want to come to the next one!
There you have it — five great tips for building community on church social media, no matter the occasion. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! Start with trying out just one or two of these tips. Building a social media strategy takes a little bit of trial and error, but with the right information and a go get’em attitude, you’re bound to find success.
Energize your Social Media
Churches are seeing an average 3x increase in
their likes, comments, and shares on Facebook.