Social media is an odd thing. It can be a distraction, an avenue of deception, a hateful and ungodly landing zone for opinions and arguments.
The social media landscape is one that is constantly changing, and it becomes exhausting to try and keep up. With all the negative that surrounds social media, the fact remains, if done correctly, it can be an invaluable avenue of information, encouragement, and help for your church.
With that landscape and avenue of communicating in the social media world, is a constant vacuum of change, it is important to keep up with the change to maintain your relevance. It’s also incredibly important to understand the philosophy and direction that your church is going at that moment, so to achieve both.
At Cross Church, we are actually going through a realignment of philosophy and direction relating to our use of social media platforms. Since the leadership of the church has changed, we are going through a very healthy time of questioning why, how, and when we use the tool of social media.
For this article, I am going to place before you the direction and decisions that we use at Cross Church, in the hopes that your church can benefit from learning about what our transition has been comprised of.
Below is the foundational philosophy that we have always held to, and will help anyone, as they set the path for their social media strategy.
- Understand the demographic of the platforms you are using and place them in order of importance. For our situation, it goes as follows:
- Understand the value of each platform and play to that platform’s strengths.
- Instagram – Storytelling, advertisement of events
- Facebook – event advertising, storytelling, service streaming
- Twitter – Quick information, encouragement, posting verses, pictures
- Commit to quality content in every post.
- Regardless of the platform, regardless of the content that is posted, i.e., pictures or text, keep the quality of the content high. Misspelled words or low-quality pictures show to be a reflection of your church and can paint a poor representation of who you are.
Next, I want to look at some pitfalls of social media, as well as the direction we are taking our social media strategy to best communicate to our people, in a relevant and useful manner.
Before I begin, don’t ignore the potential dangers of social media, and that it can serve as a tool of deception.
People use social media platforms to paint a false narrative of what life is really like.
Pictures tell a story, but the picture that is presented, can be deceiving. You don’t want to misalign the reality of who your church is, with what you are portraying through the social media lens.
Make a strong commitment to ensure the two are in lock step. Don’t paint a picture of your church that doesn’t walk hand in hand with reality. If you can take the three points above, and then paint a picture of reality through your words and lens, then you are well on your way to an effective social media presence, as it relates to your church.
Below are seven thoughts we are now following at Cross Church, in hopes that we grow our followership, as well as provide a place people enjoy sharing about our church.
Let me preface this with our understanding that we are not experts in the field of social media. I honestly believe very few are.
However, I think if your product is good, and you elevate the product with the tools of social media, you will achieve the goal of effectively using the platforms.
- Make sure the messaging is cooperating with the leader. This includes look, feel, etc. If you aren’t portraying your church in an approved manner, according to the leader, you aren’t winning.
- Be consistent, be reliable, be creative. Back to the conversation that social media is always changing, always be on top of what is the latest, and the best ways to use it.
- Set measurable goals, to see if you are effective. Whether you set goals for growing your number of followers, the extent of interaction with posts or shares, you need to find a tangible way to know if your communication is effective.
- Be true to who you are. But tell the story the most effective way possible.
- The culture of your church is unique so communicates the culture.
- Be as intentional to communicate with those who don’t yet know you as you are with those who know you well.
- Be intentional to be excellent in what you post. Keep the standards and quality high.
There is a lot of noise and a lot of competing messages throughout social media. The reality is you have to start somewhere. Make sure when people find your church by way of a social media channel, that they remember you, and for the right reasons.