Planting a Church takes a lot of work. There are people to meet, a team to recruit and train, and other really important decisions to make as you prepare for launch. While you are working through all the details on how to get the word out to your community about your Church, social media is the perfect tool to help you achieve those goals.
But social media is so massive. Where do you start and how can it help you reach your community? Here are the basics that will help you get started.
What Social Media Networks should you be on?
In social media there are a few primary channels. They are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. If you want to count YouTube, there are 5, but YouTube is more of a search engine than social media platform.
In determining what social media network(s) you should be one, the key is to find out what most of the people you are trying to reach on. Once you determine that, you can start there. Even though people like to complain about Facebook, it is most likely the place to begin as most people have a Facebook account. As you get comfortable on Facebook sharing and interacting with others, you can move on from there with the others. Each Platform has a different user group that likes it more than others. For instance, Millennials prefer Instagram. Gen Z and Alpha prefer TikTok and YouTube. While YouTube isn't necessarily a "social media platform", it is a very powerful tool and it can help you reach a younger generation.
There are plenty of Social Media tools out there that can help you save time. A popular and powerful scheduling dashboard available is Hootsuite. There are a variety of plans available and it also allows you to keep your primary social media accounts all in this one central location so you know what you are posting and when throughout the day. There is a mobile version and a desktop version of this. If you prefer not to use Hootsuite, there are also other dashboards out there as well. Here is a list of them.
There are also some great image creation apps that are great tools to have. My personal favorites are Canva, Word Swag and Adobe Express. The great news with these apps is that you don’t have to be a Photoshop expert anymore to make quality images for FREE. Just download one or more of these apps and start playing around and see how creative you can be at communicating your story.
Organic and Paid Reach
"Reach" is the amount of people you reach with your social media posts. There are two types of reach: organic and paid. Organic reach is the reach you have when you post something on your page or account and people naturally see it. When social media channels like Facebook and Twitter first came out it was all organic reach and anything you posted could be discovered by anyone, especially on Twitter and Instagram when you use hashtags.
These days, organic reach is harder to achieve, especially on Facebook. In fact, it is likely that only 10% of the people who “like” your page will actually see it on their newsfeed. This is true of Instagram as well, especially since Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram. So, while organic reach on Facebook is relatively low, there is still great possibilities of organic reach on Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. However, paid reach with Facebook and Instagram is a very effective tool to reach the masses. A simple $5 can help reach a thousand or more people. That is great reach and the more money you can put to it, the greater targeted reach you can have on Facebook. Using Facebook and Instagram Ads during special events and services are very helpful.
To learn how create very strategic and targeted ads, click here.
Pages and Groups
On Facebook there are Pages and Groups. Every Church should have a Facebook page. Your page used the be the main area where people would come on social media and interact with you. While it is not as popular today, it is still a main point of contact for people so make sure all your information is set up correctly (i.e. address, phone number, website, etc). Unfortunately, Facebook Pages are not as effective as they used to be in reaching the masses. Unless you pay for ads. That is where Facebook Groups come into play.
While interaction on Facebook Pages has decreased, they have increased on Facebook Groups. Groups have become very effective ways to engage and interact with people. A key difference is that you can actually use Facebook Groups in a lot of different ways. You can use Groups for the Children’s ministry (share content to parents), Life Groups, Bible Studies and Ministry Volunteers. The key with Facebook Groups is providing consistent interaction with others in your group. The more you interact with everyone, the better the engagement will be.
To discover more of the difference between Facebook Pages and Groups, click here.
Have a Point Person
Church Planters are very busy. Even though a Church Planter could run the social media in about 1 hour a day, finding someone else to run it would be the most effective. It is a great way to get more people involved in your Church plant.
The person you want helping is someone who is active on social media, overall friendly, who gets the vision of your Church and offers hope. There is so many negative people out there on social media that you need to have someone you trust who will share the encouragement and hope of Christ to your online community.
As a caution, before you sign someone on to run your social media, just make sure you check their social media accounts and make sure what they say on their personal posts lines up with what you all believe as a Church.
When it comes to posting on social media, consistency matters. Whether you post once a day or multiple days, just keep it consistent. You don’t have to post every hour on the hour or 4-5 times a day. Start small and try to post at least once a day on Facebook and really get comfortable posting consistently there before you get starting sharing on other social media networks. Once you are consistent and comfortable on Facebook, start posting on another channel and develop a consistent posting schedule there as well.
In addition to consistency, make your posting valuable. While sharing about what is happening at your Church is important, don’t just post information about what your Church is doing. Include inspiration and engagement opportunities. These could be Bible verses, questions, polls, video devotionals, encouraging quotes or sermon points, and stories of life transformation. You want to offer value to the people coming to your Page or Group. If all you post is information about this event or that event, they are not as likely to come back to your accounts. But, if they get encouragement and inspiration from them, they will definitely come back more often and stay engaged.
Starting a new Church takes a lot of work. The great news is that social media can help you increase your reach and get the word about your Church plant. Prayerfully consider how you might get started on social media for your plant and start experimenting with pages, groups and ads. The more you engage and interact on social media, the more likely people in the community will know more about you and your Church plant and want to try it out when you officially launch.
What do you think? What are other ways to get started on social media as a Church Planter? Share your ideas below or on social media.
Through the Digital Church Network we are helping physical and digital churches better understand the discipleship process, and helping churches and church planters understand this and other decentralized mindset shifts. Joining the DCN is free and be encouraged!
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