Social media tips for the new year and beyond

Social media tips for the new year and beyond

December 13, 2016

The year is coming to a close and people around the world are thinking about their 2017 resolutions. Churches can also make a new year’s resolutions, whether it’s new community outreach opportunities, growing a congregation or meeting apportionments. Whatever your church’s decision, social media can help enhance these activities.
 
Social media helps connect people, businesses, and organizations quickly and informally. News can immediately be released, groups with similar interests can reach out to each other and event announcements can be pushed out to communities. Social media can be whatever you need it to be for your individual church. Listed here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started on social media and some guidelines to follow when posting.

What platform to use?

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, YouTube. There is a dizzying array of social media platforms one can utilize to reach out to church members and the larger community. The easiest and most popular social media sites are still Facebook and Twitter. According to Small Business Trends, Facebook more than 1.59 billion monthly active uses and Twitter sees 320 million active monthly users! That’s a lot of people you can talk to outside of your church family!

What to post?

Christmas and New Year’s are the perfect time to start posting on social media. Many churches host Christmas pageants, living Nativities or host special services. Utilize these fun events to publicize your church.

  • Post event reminders and share it with family, friends and other organizations in the community.
  • Live stream or record short videos to post to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post photos during and after the event.
  • Live tweet the event by giving real-time updates on what’s happening.
  • Tag other groups or organizations that are involved so their followers can see what's going on as well.

 Remember this piece of advice, though: check with participants if it is ok that you post photos and video that they may be in online.
 
Social media isn’t just for big events and holidays. Continue to post weekly, if not daily.

  • When a monthly newsletter is sent out, make sure to post some fun or interesting information it contains.
  • Highlight a hardworking volunteer’s effort.
  • Create a “Week in the Life” showcasing your pastor’s daily activities.
  • Share or retweet interesting stories that might be of interest to your followers.
  • Engage with other organizations by tagging their social media pages or sharing on their pages.
  • Post Bible verses in advance related to the upcoming Sunday sermon.

Think before you post

Once something is on the Internet, it lives on forever. The United Methodist Communications team suggests you ask yourself these questions before ever post:
  • Does your message align with a loving and welcoming church?
  • Can your post be seen as offensive?
  • If you are unsure about these guidelines, it is better not to post and be overly cautious.

 Also remember, what you “Like” can be seen by your followers. So the same posting guidelines apply to liking, sharing and retweeting.

Monitoring social media channels

Designate at least one person to keep social media posts updated. This person(s) should monitor social media platforms daily and engage with followers when appropriate. People use social media to ask questions and expect timely answers.

Also be on the lookout for Internet trolls, those who post to be contradictory or inflammatory. The best answer in most cases is not to respond at all. Above all, social media is an extension of who you are as a church. So always be welcoming, friendly and professional.

Happy tweeting and happy holidays!