Knowing what to share on social media can feel overwhelming.
Every time you open your social media accounts, you’re encouraged to share something:
- Facebook asks: What’s on your mind?
- Twitter’s wondering: What’s happening?
- LinkedIn’s requesting: Share an article, photo, video or idea
It doesn’t matter what social media platform your church uses.
All of them are on 24–7–365, and they are always asking for you to share something.
(This makes me feel a bit anxious just thinking about it.)
Before moving on, take a deep breath.
Even though social media platforms are vying for your attention, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by their constant demands. There’s a way your church—even if it's “small”—can effectively engage your congregation and reach new people without breaking down in the process.
Below I’m going to share with you three social media principles your church should live by. Before we dive in, let’s take a moment for a public service announcement.
Social media platforms and principles
Here’s what you need to know about social media:
The platforms are different, but the principles remain the same.
Every social media platform differs in some way.
From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat, the social media platforms influence what you share and how you interact with other people.
For example, on Twitter, your tweets are limited to 280 characters—news breaks faster, and engagement is near instantaneous. Whereas Facebook’s user base makes it ideal to engage with your church and connect with people in your community. When it comes to posting on Facebook, unlike Twitter and Instagram, it’s best not to use a ton of hashtags.
Here’s the deal:
The social media platform you use will determine how your church should use it.
In other words, what posts work well on Twitter or Instagram may not work as well on Facebook or Snapchat.
So you’re probably wondering:
What works well on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.?
Technically, there are ways you can optimize what you share on every social media platform. But I’m not going to walk you through the weeds of details today.
Instead, I want to share three social media principles that will influence how your church engages in social media. By building your social media strategy on these principles, in time, you’ll increase your engagement and reach more people in your community.
#1 – Share life in your church
Life in your church doesn’t start on Sunday, and it doesn’t end by lunch.
Assuming your worship service lasts for 1 hour, every member of your church still has another 167 hours of life to live throughout the week.
Know where they're spending their time?
If you guessed social media, you’re right.
According to Social Media Today, the average person in the United States spends 2 hours per day on social media. Here’s a breakdown of these eye-opening statistics:
- Facebook: 35 minutes
- YouTube: 40 minutes
- Snapchat: 25 minutes
- Instagram: 15 minutes
- Twitter: 1 minute
Don’t lose sight of the importance of leading people to have face-to-face conversations. As a church leader, you want to ensure that people in your church are building relationships with other people in your church. This is what being the church is all about.
Here’s one thing you also don’t want to overlook:
People spend a lot of time on social media.
This isn’t a judgment, just an observation.
So, if you want to engage with your church and reach people in your community, you need to go where they’re spending time—and that’s on social media.
One of the best ways to do this is to share what life in your church looks like. From church activities to the everyday life of your pastor, staff, and volunteers, be purposeful to share what’s going on.
Remember, social media is about being social. Sharing the life of your church isn’t about promoting your church per se. It’s more about sharing material that will engage your church and be seen by people in your community, which will lead them to check out who you are and see what you’re all about.
#2 – Celebrate life in your church
Jesus is alive!
He is building his Church (Matt. 16:18), and he is at work in your church and community.
Think practically about this for a moment.
In your church, God is doing a lot of work:
- He is giving people new life in Christ
- He is restoring broken marriages
- He is delivering people from crippling anxiety and depression
- He is building a loving Christian community
- He is giving people purpose
- He is growing people in their faith
- He is leading people to be generous with their time and money
What’s the bottom line?
There’s a lot for your church to celebrate.
Be prepared to capture these celebratory moments. Make a plan to share what’s going on.
Sidenote: If the nature of the story is personal, make sure you also obtain permission to share.
Here are celebratory examples for many churches:
- Baby Dedications
- Commitments to Jesus
- Service in your community
To share the everyday life of your church, be prepared ahead of time by having a staff member or volunteer take pictures or shoot videos of an upcoming event.
During the event itself, get someone else (staff or volunteer) ready to share photos and videos on social media. It's ideal to share on social media what’s going on as it’s going on—this is all about being social.
#3 – Share your church’s worship service
In your church, you have an endless amount of material you can share—especially content from your weekly worship service.
There are a variety of benefits to sharing your worship services on social media, such as:
- Boosting engagement
- Increasing awareness
- Inviting people to participate
- Giving people a taste of life in your church
- Reaching new people
- Connecting with absentees
Speaking of reaching new people, sharing your worship services on social media or online for others to see will help first-time guests feel more comfortable.
Think about it.
It’s intimidating for first-time guests to visit your church’s worship service—even if a close friend personally invited them.
They’re entering foreign territory.
They don’t know what to expect.
They’re not sure how they’ll fit in.
The burden of “what if’s” can be crushing for potential visitors. But you can answer many objections, and help first-time guests feel more comfortable by sharing your weekend worship services on social media.
There are many ways you can share your worship service. Consider posting:
- Service times and information
- Sermon audio or videos
- Worship music
- Behind the scenes
- Church life updates or upcoming events
Again, it’s best to share life in your church as it’s taking place.
During your worship service, prepare your staff or volunteers to capture photos or videos of your worship service and have another person ready to share the goods on social media.
Over to you
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be this:
Social media is all about social.
Everything you share doesn’t have to be professionally produced. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea to share high-quality material. But it’s essential to capture the daily moments of life in your church as they’re taking place.
Don’t overly stress about the quality of what you share. Instead, focus on being social and connecting your church—building relationships and reaching your community.