You may have recently seen research indicating that TikTok has surpassed YouTube in viewing time per user. If you’re like most pastors I know, you may have rolled your eyes and thought to yourself, “I just can’t keep up with it all.” Between doing the day to day ministry of the church and balancing other life priorities, you don’t want to add one more thing to your plate.
However, I think there’s a way to reduce the stress when thinking through social media for your church and when or if you should create a social media account. In this post, I’m going to give you a three step framework to determine when you should start a social media account for your church.
Identify where your audience is
Churches put a lot of effort in determining what the future looks like. Most of this effort is used to determine where their people are going to be. What do the trends look like? How do we reach the next generation for Christ? How do we preach the Gospel to a generation of digital natives?
Those questions are valid. The problem is that when it comes to social media if you spend the majority of time figuring out where your audience will be, you can miss out on where your audience already is.
For example, if you believe that the next generation of people who will attend your church will be on TikTok, there could be a temptation to create an account and spend your time there with the hopes of attracting the next generation. However, if the majority of your congregation is currently on Facebook, you would be better off spending the majority of your time creating content for Facebook.
Why? Because if you’re just starting out on social media, you’ll need some early wins and feedback in order to get the momentum going in the right direction. If you’re totally focused on the future, you’ll get easily frustrated and start to feel defeated. Just like any other new endeavor, social media will require momentum to keep you going.
Identify key volunteers to run the day to day
Don’t be afraid to delegate your church’s social media. Yes, you will need to keep an eye on it, but in order to keep up with creating content and interacting with your audience you’re going to need to bring in volunteers.
This is where I see most church’s run astray. They’ll find the right volunteers to run social media, but then soon the volunteer gets overwhelmed, they quit, and the church’s social media channels go silent.
This can be avoided by bringing in a team of volunteers. The team aspect of this is important. Just like you wouldn’t have a single greeter manning the church doors on Sunday morning, you need a team of volunteers to monitor and create social media content.
The reason for the team aspect of social media is that social media is a 24/7 operation. You can’t ask a volunteer to be on call 24/7, so you’ll need to spread the work out across multiple volunteers.
Identify what you can budget for social media
For the first ten years of social media you didn’t need to pay to use social media. However, in the last five years the rules of social media have changed. Gone are the days where you could post your ministry event on social media and then assume that people would see it. Instead, we’re in an era where you are required to spend money in order for your content to be seen.
Most churches look at social media spending as something that they cannot afford to do. Yet, I would argue that this is something that churches cannot afford NOT to do. As more and more people spend time on mobile devices with the majority of that time being on social media, your church will continue to need to find ways to keep your content in front of people.
Also, keep in mind that if you spend your money on social media wisely, you can target an audience in a way that no other media channel will allow. I’m not going to get in the particulars of how to create social media ads, but know that when they’re done right, the benefits far exceed the costs.
To recap, identify where your audience is at, what volunteers can help you, and what budget you can spend. Doing those three things will help you prevent major headaches with social media in the future.
Posted on October 15, 2021
Darrel Girardier serves as the Communications Director at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee where he oversees the digital, design and video production teams. Previously, he was a Creative Director at LifeWay Christian Resources.
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