HOW TO: Make Your Church Pro at Social Media

in Social Media / 29 Aug 2016

Contrary to popular belief, social media is not a fad that has the young generation hooked. It is, in fact, a powerful channel of communication that can help churches reach thousands of people – if not more.

The power of social media, however, can only be harnessed with the help of a well-thought-out strategy. What does that mean, and how can your church come up with an effective social media strategy? Let’s find out!

church-social-media-strategy1. CREATE CLEAR-CUT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

What is the purpose of your social media marketing efforts? Perhaps you are looking to reach the unreached. Or, you may be hoping to engage with your flock better. Remember to always plan the big picture first, instead of taking it day by day. This will help you move forward in an efficient manner.

Remember to create specific and smart goals, instead of generic ones. For example, get 1,000 likes in the first 30 days and 5,000 likes in 6 months is a much clearer goal than just get more likes on Facebook. However, be mindful of creating objectives that are based on the resources available at hand. Be pragmatic!

In addition, make sure that your social media objectives are synced with your church’s goals. Your church’s social media is a mouthpiece for your church – it must not seem like a different entity!

2. MEASURE YOUR CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

You can’t go to war unless you know your army’s strengths! Therefore, it’s key that you take out time to study your existing social media channels. You need to ask the following questions:

  • Which channels do we have active social accounts on?
  • How many followers or likes do we have on each account?
  • Which social account is doing the best?
  • What is the average engagement that we get on these platforms?
  • What content gets the most traction?
  • What is the demographic break-up of the followers?

Insights on Facebook and Twitter will tell you what your existing audience is like, along with their age, interests and locations.

Answering these questions will help you decide how your current social media accounts can be improved. And, whether you need to set up any new social media account(s) or not.

3. CREATE MEMBER PERSONAS

How can you better communicate with your audience unless you know who it is? Therefore, it’s essential that you get to know your target audience. How can you do that? You can start by creating audience personas to identify the behaviours and preferences of your target audience. For example:

Persona 1

Target audience: 15- to 17-year-old teenagers who live with their parents.
Behaviour: Typically consume short, viral or humorous content – particularly videos
Preferred social media channels: Instagram and Snapchat

Persona 2

Target audience: 30- to 40-year-old mothers who either work or stay at home.
Behaviour: Usually engage with church-related and gospel-centric content
Preferred social media channel: Facebook

Once you have a broad idea of who your audience is, planning your strategy becomes a lot more productive. You will know better than to target the seniors in your church on Instagram or to reach out to the teens with a long sermon video.

4. STRATEGISE YOUR CONTENT

The next step is to decide exactly what content to push through your social channels. Most churches make the mistake of posting content on the go, based on whatever is available. You need to be intentional about your content.

The key question you need to ask is: what content would be the most effective for meeting my church’s goals? Write down all the available content at hand and what can be created with it. For example, you can make a list like this:

  • Blogs
  • Sermon videos
  • Inspirational videos
  • Facebook Live videos
  • Weekly recap

Once you’ve decided what content works best for you, start creating it! Make sure that you have enough content for a few weeks, or even months, before you even start posting. In fact, you can use these online tools to create good-looking content for your social media channels.

5. CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR

A social media calendar can really boost your church’s productivity. Instead of scrambling for content to post at the eleventh hour, plan your calendar well in advance with details about what will be posted on which days.

A social media calendar will ensure that your page(s) is never inactive. Plus, it will help you avoid repetitive content. Try this calendar template from HubSpot and get started right away.

6. MEASURE EVERYTHING

Measuring each segment of your social media plan is key for your strategy to succeed. Asking yourself these questions is a good start to identifying
key measurables:

  • Are our church’s desired social media goals met?
  • Which content works well and which doesn’t?
  • Which target audience groups receive the content well and which don’t?
  • What time of the day should we post to get most engagement?
  • Which social media account is seeing the most results?

In fact, you could think about starting this exercise on a simple excel sheet.

Your church’s social media endeavours can show some great results, provided they are backed by a solid strategy. Did you find this step-by-step guide to building a strong social media strategy helpful? What other steps can churches take to improve their presence and engagement on social media?

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