Creating the ultimate social media strategy for your church does take time, but it’s well worth the effort.
When you enter into social media haphazardly, you’ll get limited results. As with anything, a little careful planning goes a long way.
Take the time to sit down and create a strategy that works well for your church. While it’s fine to learn from others, always adjust tactics to best meet your church’s needs.
Know Where Your Audience Is
Before you do anything, you have to choose which platform(s) you’ll use. If you have a limited budget, you might want to stick with one or two at first. For larger budgets, consider using three or more.
Polling your members is a great strategy to see where your church’s preferences stand. According to LifeWay Research, 84% of churches have a Facebook page, while only 16% use Twitter. Don’t numbers like that keep you from choosing one over the other. While Facebook is still the king of social, hundreds of millions of people use other social platforms regularly.
Pew Research Center took in-depth look on social media usage statistics and demographics. While it’s a long report, it’s worth reading to better align your platforms with your church goals.
Write Out Your Church Goals
Now, you need to identify your church goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase Twitter or Facebook followers by 25% or increase social engagement by 50%? Maybe you want to see more sharing going on or an increase in members at your church? Knowing your goals allows you to know what type of content to share, where to share it and how best to interact.
Create A Clear Schedule
Imagine if you held church whenever you wanted at random. You’d have a hard time getting people to attend. The same goes with your social media strategy. If it’s completely random, you’ll have less engagement. If people know to expect X number of posts a day around four hours a part, they’ll be more likely to log in and interact.
This is especially true if you plan to host Q&A sessions, online streaming events and other interactive events.
List What Types Of Content To Create
This is one of the trickiest parts of any social media strategy. Every platform means different types of content. For instance, Instagram and Snapchat are mainly image only platforms, while a catchy phrase on Twitter works just as well.
It’s important to know what types of content your church wants to create and work with. Images are important for engagement, though. DrumUp lists the seven types of content for better engagement along with examples. Post Planner lists even more types to spice up your strategy.
Know Who To Source Content From
Your social media strategy shouldn’t be just about your own content. Always share from other sources too. This can include other churches, thought leaders, members and more. As long as it’s relevant to your audience, it’s fair game. Make a list of users/blogs/sites to follow to find great content to share.
Gather A Social Media Team
Social media takes a team to manage. Gather volunteers willing to help manage accounts. Train them on what is and isn’t acceptable. The last thing you want is someone posting something highly offensive and driving traffic away from your social pages.
Know When And How Often To Post
These are two questions that have driven people crazy since social media marketing became a thing. With users worldwide, when and how often should you post?
The answers vary greatly based on platform, target audience and goals. One of the most in-depth guides is from Sprout Social. Their guide covers the best times to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. They even have data specifically for non-profits. HubSpot’s infographic is a quicker reference guide for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+.
While those cover times, they don’t cover how often. As Inc. explains, it’s more about consistency and quality over posting numerous times a day. SocialReport also makes a good point about just paying close attention to what works for your church. Optimal post amounts will vary greatly based on your audience and needs. When you’re getting started, try for 1-3 posts daily per platform.
Monitor Activity And Make Changes As Needed
The single most important element of the ultimate social media strategy for any church is to constantly monitor activity. For instance, do videos tend to get more engagement than links to blog posts? Do you get more engagement in the mornings than evenings?
Gather data on how your strategy is working and make changes as needed. The great thing about your strategy is it’s flexible and always changing to best help your church grow.
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