What is Social Media?
“Social media is a marathon, a gradual process in which you build a reputation. The best time to start was a while ago, and the second best time to start is today.” -Seth Godin
Many people don’t see social media as a marathon; they fail to realize its potential in building the reputation of a church. Social media gives the ability to reach a mass audience with a simple message; it can be very effective, especially as more and more people use social media as they engage in activities and as a tool for socialization.
Social media is a great marketing tool, and it is important for churches to use it for promotion. As a church, you have been entrusted with the most valuable message in the world, and social media provides one platform for spreading that message.
Seven Deadly Sins in Social Media
You cannot launch a social media strategy that is the same across all sites; your strategy needs to be methodical.
Have a reason for each post you make. Know your boundaries and understand that you’ll need to tailor your approach for the structure and culture of each social media outlet. Have a strategic plan, and start slow. Have a team to manage your strategy, and make sure your plan is scalable.
Don’t leave messages unanswered. Nobody likes to be ignored, and this is no different in the social media sphere than in real life. Ignoring messages shows that you don’t care.
Have a person or a team responsible for monitoring social media. Utilize available tools and respond in a timely manner. Having a plan in place will help you greatly.
Don’t run after numbers. Social media is all about conversations and community; your goal is not to increase your number of followers, but to reach your audience with meaningful content.
The Antidote: Work on building relationships and treat your social media outreach as a separate community. Engage people with creative content; try to get responses instead of just follows, likes, or comments. Remember that there are people behind every follow and like.
Never respond harshly to comments. Thee are many people who love to post negative and hateful comments on social media; these people try to create controversy. You may have to deal with a lot of these people.
Don’t respond to harsh comments in anger. Be patient, and protect your church’s image. Avoid getting involved in pointless controversies, and respond kindly instead of being aggressive. It is important to have an advance plan to deal with such comments and the people posting them.
Don’t look for quick fixes. Don’t rush into finding success on social media. Don’t feed on the growth of your social media page.
Build your social media strategy slowly and with a long-term plan. Develop strategies and build a team that can maintain the quality of your content; be able to manage and engage people.
Don’t compare your church to other churches; you’ll lose sight of your goals. Don’t get jealous of another’s success.
Every social media site is different from the rest. Evaluate the best social media strategy for your church, and measure the impact of your strategy for a particular channel. Plan how and when you will use a particular medium.
Don’t make it about yourself. Social media is all about conversations.
Keep it about others. Set your strategy to help people. Don’t just seek after gaining followers; reach out to people and build relationships.
This article is adapted from a WFX session given by Scott Allen, Senior Associate Pastor of Arts/Media at Eagle Mountain Church.