Every now and then a new tool comes along and a few people use it with great success, then others try to copy their success and fail to obtain the same great results. People fail to take a critical look at what really made it work and what exactly they need to replicate to obtain that same level of success. That’s how it is with social media, there’s a few very public successes but no one ever really talks about what makes the successes great and what makes other attempts fail. What exactly makes Jimmy Fallon, ALS Awareness, and Share a Coke such great social media campaigns? While we don’t have all the answers we do have a few ideas that you may want to try. These are areas where we’ve seen churches and organizations falter.
With 500 million people using Facebook, 232 million on Twitter, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100-150 million on Instagram, it’s safe to say social media is already a popular means of communication. Churches don’t seem to have caught on to this yet, with most being reluctant to have a page on Facebook or a Twitter account after all you’ve already got a website right? Why worry about another place to update? The reason is simple, social media is a much more active medium that allows you to interact with people instead of advertising to them.
What most people fail to realize is that social media is a very active form of communication, it’s not like a flyer or website which are fairly passive. It’s active, meaning there is a give and take between the consumer and the producer. It can be boring, and even off-putting, to see a passive message shared on an active medium. If you look hard a most successful social media campaigns they attempt to engage people and create a conversation. So instead of just advertising an event or your church create a conversation about them get people involved. Some of the things you can do are ask people to share a hashtag and talk about why they’re excited about an upcoming event, ask people to share their testimonies, or even just comment on something; anything to start a dialogue.
You should be posting something once or twice a week at least. Social media revolves around posting content and allowing others to discover it and build a conversation around it. Because of this, you must constantly be providing new content to discover. Anything will work really, verse of the day, celebrate the accomplishments of your congregation, show pictures of a service, or announce future events, anything to show that you’re active. Remember, you’re doing to this to reach out and to give people more opportunities to interact with your organization.
This is something that may need to be considered on a case by case basis. Before you sit down to post something, try and determine who it’s trying to reach. Are you trying to get some of the congregation together to work on cleaning up around the church? Then make sure the language you use reflects that. Are you trying to get youth to come to a revival you’re having? Again make sure the language you use reflects that.
This may seem like a no brainer, but I have been amazed at how many times this is relevant without my realization. Be as clear as possible about what you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the past Sunday service, make sure you state that somewhere. If you’re talking about having a rally at your church, state that. Make sure you include the name and maybe even the address of the church in your post. Also, in the same vein of thought, if you’re going to start service at 7.30, don’t tell people to be there at 7.00 to get a good seat. Instead, say something along the lines of “Service starts at 7.30 be sure to be there early to get a good seat”. Even the smallest thing can confuse people, so always be mindful of staying consistent.
This isn’t really as important as the other points, but it does bear mentioning as it may help you reach more people. With so much text in social media the lines can run together. So instead of posting some text about when your next rally or service is, why not post a flyer or even just an image with the rally details below it. This will grab people’s attention much more effectively than if you were to try to write out just the details of the service.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and try different ways of doing things. The social media world runs fast and if you fail it’ll soon be forgotten and you can try a different approach. Try making a hashtag, try to engage someone new, try what someone else did and see how it works. The important thing is to learn from these experiments whether they’re failures or creative sucesses.