Ok, now let’s get to the meat of things and talk about specific strategies when posting. It’s important to have a social media STRATEGY and not just say lets join Facebook and Twitter and hope for the best. It seems that when it comes to technology, quite a few churches just jump in and “hope for the best”. They hope “social media” works, they “hope” the website made by the volunteer will look good and they “hope” that technology won’t change since they just finally caught up to what was current “6 months ago”.
Thus, the time has come for churches to embrace technology and utilize it to the fullest. There are many people like myself who can help bridge the gap between “adoption of technology” and the “common church experience”.
The majority of churches that I work with have an idea of what will move their audiences and get them to respond and thus we want to make sure that the flow of content from the ministry to the audience is consistent and follows the criteria below.
Inspiration – Make sure you start your social media day and end it with inspirational posts. This is the foundation of a good strategy because no matter what, encouraging inspirational content pulls people in. A good example to use are daily devotionals or great quotes from the pastor.
Information – What are you putting out there, what type of content are you pushing out via your social media channels, how often do you post? As I stated above, the majority of churches that I work with have an idea of what will move their audiences and get them to respond and thus we want to make sure that the flow of content from the ministry to the audience is consistent. Stick with photos, text updates, videos, flyers, questions and links to information that will keep your audience engaged. Try to post at least 2 – 3 times a day per social media network, if not more.
Communication – Interact and respond with your audience! It’s called SOCIAL MEDIA people, let’s be social and not only broadcast our messages. Do not come off as a ministry that is so arrogant that you only talk AT your audience and won’t respond. I understand that there are ministries that don’t have the staff to respond to everybody, but at least respond to SOMEBODY.
Call to Action – Give your audience something to do when you post, ask them to like this status or leave a comment on Facebook. Ask them to click the link or retweet it on Twitter, ask them to +1 or share it on Google+. You don’t have to ask them every time to do something because they will then tune it out, but more often than not, ask them to respond and interact.
Images or Videos – Posting images and videos are a great way to increase interaction. Multimedia is easy to share and easy to consume via social networks. As we see the rise of visual social media with examples of Facebook Timeline, Instagram, Pinterest, Viddy, Youtube and other visual features, we should take notice of how visual social networking is becoming and adjust our strategies accordingly.
Innovate – Innovation is key in social networking, make sure you are adjusting, analyzing and re-adjusting your social media strategy. When you put out information make sure you consider that 70% of your users read their social media via mobile devices. Make sure that you are on a variety of networks (if you have the manpower) because while there are millions of people on Facebook and Twitter (and you should definitely start there), there are millions of people on Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.
Networks to use per content – now that we talked about using multiple social networks, here are the best networks for the types of content you may put out:
Video – Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Viddy, Socialcam, Pinterest
Text – Facebook, Twitter, Google+
Photos – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest
Links/Products – Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter
Jason Caston is the author of The iChurch Method Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and CEO of Caston Digital. Having worked with major ministries and built ministry websites and social media properties that reach millions daily, Caston has proven that his cutting edge technological savvy and business acumen have made him a sought after Internet Church expert. You can find Jason Caston on Facebook, Twitter and Google+