Originally, it was a guest post for my brother-in-law, Pastor Peter Englert of Browncroft Community Church in Rochester, NY and since that time, there has been a number of changes with regards to social media and thus, some of the info in this post is updated to reflect those changes.
The one thing that hasn't changed, however, is the need to have a Church Social Media Plan
If you’re a Pastor, Priest, Elder, Deacon, Sunday School Teacher or Leader in your church, you already know that Social Media has become a great tool to use for connecting and outreach, however - there needs to a strategy behind how it’s implemented.
Social media is something that takes time. For the clients I work with, it can take as much as 1 hour to carefully craft just 1 Facebook & Instagram post. I strongly urge dedicating a minimum of 3-5 hours per week to actively manage your various social media channels. It needs to be intentional and it needs to be engaging.
I came up with this list of helpful tips that you can use to improve your Church Social Media Plan.
It's important to understand that as of now, this can only be done via your laptop or desktop computer. For a page you want to like as your Church Page, right click over the “three dot photo” on the far right of the pages cover photo and select the option to “Like as your page”
If you’re going to like a photo, status, link or event - you’ll need to select who you’re liking as by clicking on the small image on the right side of the item you wish to like and change who you’re liking as from there - specifically for that event.
Helpful Tip: You can do this from mobile devices now, however, it's a bit tedious.
Easiest way is from your laptop or desktop computer **
Blessed are those who respond to comments and messages on Facebook,
for they shall be considered... responsive.
Thoughtful appropriate comments are always great and it certainly helps build your organic credibility.
Jokes that need an explanation just don’t work… so don’t waste your time.
Blessed are those who regularly post, for they shall inherit engagement from the flock.
But remember - it’s got to be part of the plan. Too much and you’ll get blocked! Always take time each month evaluate your organic reach, reactions, taking note of what posts generated the most engagement.
Blessed are those who take photos for Facebook and Instagram, for they get the picture.
First you have to be sure parishioners in the photo are ok with having their image posted in social media.
Also, recognize that while it's easy to connect the 2, You really shouldn't - the descriptions don't cross-translate well and the tags are not the same.
Take the extra 5 minutes to format the post for the respective platform.
Blessed are those who Tweet relevant content, for they shall be retweeted.
I know they’re important, but 10 individual tweets of each of the 10 Commandments has been done, many times before… just saying.
*** I'm only leaving this here because it was on the original post, but I am telling you right now; unless you have a social media team that's so large you're running out of tasks to assign to them, stop posting on twitter. Have the account for emergency & informational purposes, but your time will be better served focusing on Facebook & Instagram.
Blessed are those who utilize Facebook Live during a Sunday morning service - for they shall be considered not-dead. THIS ONE HAS THE MOST CHANGES!!!
- Be clear in understanding the end-goal, the "WHY" for doing this and be sure your staff & congregation understand the same!
- Enlist the help of a company or professional who knows how to set this up, and be sure that person or company understands the end-goal for Facebook Live.
- If you have a video team already in place, utilize an API to stream that feed directly to Facebook
- Utilize the publishing tools to schedule the Facebook Live.
- Have an editor or admin actively monitoring the feed, both audibly & responding to comments accordingly.
Blessed are those who create events on the church Facebook page,
for those events will be remembered and attended.
This doesn't mean posting every Sunday 8am, 10am, & 6pm service as a separate event, but for those special services like baptisms, guest speakers, or Holiday Sundays that may have an adjusted timing or change in the regular schedule are a great use of events.
For Trunk-Or-Treats, Harvest Parties, Car-Washes, and Outreach Events, even if you’re not getting a ton of RSVP’s, realize that the event will show up in the notifications of those who follow your page as well as in the events tabs when you include the correct address (Geo-Targeting) It’s like the weekly bulletin you can’t throw away!
Blessed are those who boost posts thoughtfully and responsibly, for they shall see growth in a multitude of ways.
Be a good steward of the financial gifts that God has entrusted to you and strategically plan if your going to boost, and before you do - be sure you take the time to review all the details before you place the order- this will help you maximize the potential for the budget you allocate as well as the audience you reach!
Realize that this is something that can be done by an Admin of the account. There are advertising agencies who will do this, charging anywhere from 15% up to 40% of the total ad-campaign budget.
My advice is to seek out training & guidance with this from a person who does it on a regular basis, perhaps from your congregation.
Blessed is the Rev who encourages check-in's on a Sunday Morning, for he challenges parishioners to virtually open the doors to their own network in a very real way.
Not everyone will do this, but some will - and that helps boost the organic reach your page has!
Be careful not to over do it when it comes to asking or encouraging. Once a month is plenty!
Blessed is the multi-media team who actively recruits those of the congregation to share a testimony on video with permission to share it on the various platforms - for they shall be seen as approachable and not considered "Apple Geeks"
Do I really need to go into detail on this one?
Well, there ya have it. The March 2017 Update!
If you're reading this in May 2017 - chances are elements of Social Media have changed once again, but the methods & suggestions listed above are very solid and will certainly take your church's social media presence to the next level, deepening the connection with your present congregation and reaching out to those who may be looking to connect for the first time!