The first question is easy enough. Social media is the wild west of the internet. There are no real rules in the realm of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn or Pinterest, to name a few of the more popular sites. People post what they want, when they want, with very little direction and quite often no moral compass. People are belittled, insulted, given bad information and terrible guidance on problems they face; yet it thrives.
And the purpose, as we see it at Speiro Communications, is to use this unwieldy force as a tool to simply let your community know about your church and God. Think about it this way. With all of the darkness you find in social media it should be pretty easy to strike a match and light that world at least a little bit. As a result the church needs to use this form of communication to show the world a different and better perspective.
And we do have a better perspective. We are a purchased possession of God and as a result we turn the other cheek, give to those that ask, pray for those that persecute us and love our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). If that does not light up a social media site then I have no idea what would. We can use social media tools to demonstrate the difference that God makes in our lives and a better way for all mankind.
The "How" of social media takes a bit more understanding but can be helped with the inclusion of these five points:
- Don't just start signing up for all sorts of social media! If you are not ready with a plan it will look like you are fumbling your way through. If not done right you can find yourselves embarrassing the church. Remember the world is watching.
- Determine your target demographic and how you can speak to them best. There is a difference in Google+ users and Facebook users. Figure out who you want to reach and the best vehicle for you to reach them. We can help let you know who goes where, but most social sites are pretty easy to figure out. Let me give you a small hint, if you are starting a Men's Ministry, Pinterest is the wrong place to promote it.
- Get your congregation on board. One church started with 100 Facebook "Likes" and with a Sunday geared toward outreach they were able to triple that number in just a couple of months. Their numbers are still great and the members are using Facebook to reach beyond the church walls!
- Have content in mind weeks in advance. This does not mean that spontaneous posts cannot happen. But never get in the position of the well running dry. And never, and I mean never, resort to, "Like this post if you love Jesus." Instead be fun, be inspired, be giving and be loving.
- You must commit and be consistent. Sporadic posts will halt your efforts faster than anything else. This is especially true if the congregation is on board and things are going great for a few weeks and then no one posts or comments on posts. People will stop checking in. Build a team to help you post, comment, favorite and generate interest.
For other how's or to talk about the church and social media email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our site at www.speirocom.net.