Health and Growth

3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches

Aimee Cottle of Fishhook shares three strategies small churches can use to harness the power of social media as a ministry tool.

3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches
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As a small church, the best thing you can do for your social media presence is to stop posting.

That wasn’t a typo.

You heard me right.

Social media is less about how often you post and more about what you say. It’s about quality over quantity.

So don’t worry about posting at the same time every day. Stop thinking about all the posts you’ve made that no one has commented on or shared. Forget about that one person in your congregation who always points out the typo in your Monday morning post. Rather, take a minute to think about why your church needs social media in the first place.

In this blog post, I’m going to outline three strategies small churches can do to harness the power of social media as a ministry tool.

#1. Pick one platform

Often, we find churches struggling to keep up with posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While they want to create a successful and consistent social media schedule, they tend to quickly find themselves overwhelmed, stressed out, and feeling like nothing is working. 

Does this sound like you?

Stretched in too many directions?

Trying to do so many things that it feels like you're failing to do any of them well?

Using social media, but getting frustrated that it doesn't seem to be doing anything? 

Our advice is to focus your attention.

Pick one social media platform and pour your time, energy and resources into developing it as a ministry tool. Our top recommendation for small churches is Facebook.

Related: How to Use Facebook for Your Church: 9 Proven Tips to Grow Your Reach and Increase Engagement

There are over two billion people on Facebook!  And, based on recent research, those people are spending between 25-40 minutes there every day. Choosing Facebook as your platform will give you access to the most people and the most options for connecting with them. But, even within Facebook, there are multiple options. So, here’s a quick rundown of each social media tool and how we believe the church can best use it:  

  • Facebook Pages: This is your welcome mat. It’s the place where people will stumble upon you. Focus on creating simple, inspirational content that will help people find the love and hope of Jesus.

  • Facebook Groups: This is your living room. Facebook Groups are  where the people already connected to your church can connect with each other, meet new people and dive deeper into their faith.

  • Facebook Messenger: This is a great place to start conversations and grow relationships. It’s powerful when you give the people of your church the opportunity to connect with your leaders and staff members. Use it for prayer requests, check-ins and volunteer recruitment and development.

  • Instagram: The Instagram platform is where you can really rally your congregation while also reaching out  to your community. Use stories to show people what it’s like behind the scenes and paint a more authentic picture of what it’s like to be involved at your church. Then, use hashtags to reach out  to your community.  

  • Twitter: Twitter is good for pastors to establish a leadership presence online. It will be difficult for your church to use this platform as a way to build relationships because that’s not really what it’s created for.

#2. Decide why you’re there

What kind of tool do you want social media to be for your church? How do you want your congregation, people in your community and even people throughout the country or world to engage with it? 

If you really want to use Facebook (or any social media platform) as a ministry tool, you’ll need a strong social media strategy. A great place to start is to ask yourself, “ How do  we measure  success?”  Here are three  metrics you should measure:

  • How many times did we show people the hope and love of Jesus?
  • How many conversations did we have or initiate this week?
  • How did we paint a better picture of what it’s like to be part of this church?

#3. Know your audience

Think about your audience as individual people—not as a massive group

  • Who are they?
  • What struggles do they have?
  • What does your church have to offer them  to help them through their  challenges?
  • How are you going to share that with them?

Thinking about who you’re trying to reach on social media will help you to serve them in a real and tangible way.

Over to you

Knowing what platforms you’re focusing on, how you define success and who you’re trying to reach will help you get off the hamster wheel that social media can become and tap into all the power it can bring to your ministry.

If all this still feels daunting, here’s our advice: Give it a go.

Know that your community and your audience will need something unique from you and it might take some trial and error to figure out what that is. Find a few people from your congregation who understand social media and ask them to help you pilot a few things.

And, here’s my favorite tip for churches: Everything can be deleted. So, don’t be afraid!

Happy social media-ing!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Aimee Cottle. Aimee is the director of marketing at Fishhook, a communications agency that collaborates with churches.

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3 Social Media Tips for Small Churches