Church is about fellowship (which by definition is social). And social media is simply a (mostly free) communication channel that has millions of potential followers on it. Because of this, it’s an excellent way to extend your ministry reach while being involved in the daily lives of your members.
So why do many churches struggle with social media? Check out these five requirements that make social media management incredibly complex:
1. It requires followers.
Bonus if they’re engaged! I’m amazed that churches go to the effort of posting when they have very few followers. It’s like a pastor deciding to preach to an empty room.
A church must warrant followers in order to make it worthwhile. Do you struggle with this? Either your content isn’t right or your channel isn’t. Fix this before continuing with the other four requirements!
2. It requires constant content development.
Every social channel has an algorithm that pushes content to SOME of your followers. And they are expecting engaging content when they’re scrolling several times a day, although many are considering doing it less because the content doesn’t feel relevant to them.
In order to engage and have more people see your posts, you either have to pay to boost them… OR create really engaging posts. Once those posts (which could take many minutes to produce) are seen, they’re looking for more from you, and the treadmill continues every hour of everyday!
Relax, though. You don’t have to be posting a ton of content. Instead, it just needs to be consistent. Consistently good, engaging, and timely.
3. It requires 24/7 monitoring.
The most valuable posts have content that your followers want to share, like, or comment on. The more this engagement happens, the more the channel will push your content for free. If no engagement occurs, the post fades and your content stops being pushed.
When true engagement happens on a post, you MUST engage back if possible. If someone takes the time to comment, your church needs to be social and timely with a response. This “refreshes” the post and pushes it again as part of the channel’s algorithm. You don’t have to monitor it continuously, but most channels bonus you if you’re responding quickly.
4. It requires leadership (and not support staff).
Because of the amount of quality content that needs to be created and responded to, it’s almost impossible for leadership to approve everything (and it’s why most senior leadership don’t want the social media job). So, usually, a support person does it.
But support staff need continuous content (see Nos. 2 and 3). For success, this ultimately requires the support person to be elevated to a leadership position — to keep this constant mechanism working properly, and so they can make decisions without constant oversight.
5. It requires a communication strategy.
Every church needs to have a strategy for reaching their congregation and community with ministry information. You also need to quiet some voices and amplify others in this strategy. If not? You’re just creating noise on social media that will be ignored.
These are all difficult to resolve! But they must be overcome in order to engage an audience on social media properly. Social media certainly needs a church voice on every one of its channels!