Social Media Tips For Your Ministry
Thought Leader: Shelly Zaldivar, MBA, ABD
You see them everywhere. People with their heads down looking at their phone, sitting at coffee shops with their laptops, and scrolling through tablets to catch up on the latest news. So how do you become relevant in a noisy world? How do you speak to your community? How can you be heard amidst the many videos, memes, and personality quizzes? The key to promoting your church or ministry through social media is developing a strategy and consistently following the plan.
People want to know who you are and what to expect. Begin by ensuring that your social media sites have avatars (profile pictures) that represent who you are. Pictures of you are an excellent way of reminding the audience of the personal nature of your ministry. Be sure your pictures are clear and well lit. Including family in the pictures is also a great way of showing that your ministry is founded on family if that is your target audience. Adding additional pictures of your ministry in action and quick videos allow your audience to envision themselves attending your events. You may even want to consider live videos of appropriate activities within your church or ministry.
The internet is full of perfect images resulting from dozens of attempts until just the right picture is taken. Filters, portrait mode, and editing create a false impression of life. Your target audience is not fooled by these images and many long for something different. Candid photos go further to connect than posted photos.
The key to promoting your church or ministry through social media is developing a strategy and consistently following the plan
Do not be afraid to share needs your ministry may have. For example, if volunteers are needed or the food pantry is empty, sharing that may allow people to see a place they can contribute. Giving glimpses into the day to day is also an opportunity for them to begin to develop a relationship with you outside of the church or ministry. An example here would be photos of places you visit, highlights from your studies, or even a photo from the coffee shop during your devotional time offers a bridge to connect.
One critical point – do not preach at them through social media. Instead, share what you are learning and allow them to make the connection to their lives. Posts should be an even distribution of encouragement, relatable posts as mentioned above with a sprinkle of requests (attend church, join a ministry, etc.).
The digital world is changing daily. New social media platforms emerge and algorithms (the logic behind what is shown and to who in social media) are continually updated. In this quickly changing realm it is critical that you invest time in understanding how the social media platforms work. There are many options from online articles and videos (be sure to review a reputable source) to classes at colleges and universities. Whichever you select, make it part of your monthly plan to learn something new and apply it.
Be ready to delegate
Sometimes the best choice is to delegate the management of your social media sites to another. Examples can be someone within your target population (age, gender, family or single) who is active in their own social media. Give them opportunities to post either as a guest or, if they have proven responsible in other areas, allow them to assist with the planning of your posts.
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