By Mark MacDonald
Church branding strategist and consultant
Most Baptist churches can use social media tips to better engage with their audience. For years, smaller ministries were frustrated trying to advertise with small budgets, but social media arrived and provided the opportunity to engage with a lot of people regularly. And promote. Plus, it’s free!
But social media can be a struggle to make work properly. As you’ll see from these tips, “free” still requires a lot of work.
So, with limited staff (or volunteers) in mind, let’s tackle social media so anyone can master it for a small church. Who knows, you may accomplish more than larger churches in your area.
- You can’t do it all. The more you try to do everything, the less likely you’ll be successful at any of it. So start small. It’s almost impossible to do every social media channel well at the same time. Perhaps start with Facebook (or Instagram) and get really good at it before expanding. A word of advice: Capture your church name on all possible channels now as placeholders for the future.
- Do whatever it takes to get followers. Get your congregation and leadership to follow your page. Build more followers so it’s worth all the work. If you struggle with the congregation following, you’re probably offering the wrong content. Adjust. Talk to members with a larger social media presence and ask for content advice. Perhaps they’ll join your volunteer team. The best social media tip? Provide regular content that engages your audience’s needs, concerns and goals. Only occasionally mention an event as an opportunity to meet needs or help achieve a goal.
- Create a calendar and a rhythm. Now build content (the biggest challenge). Start small by creating a sustainable rhythm — 3 times per week is a good start. Create a not-yet-published library of “evergreen” content (entertaining or motivational graphics/posts that can be used almost any time) in a shared Google or iCloud folder so others can contribute. A shared calendar will help keep up with everything that needs posting. Keep posts simple, brief and consistent in style. Follow other professional organizations for design tips. Need an inexpensive, easy-to-use, design program? Try Canva.
- Get a social media scheduler app. Hootsuite, SocialPilot, Later and similar apps allow setup and scheduling so you don’t have to be connected and posting all the time. Some let you build an entire week of posts all at once as a timesaver. Choose posting times when your audience is probably bored (for example, 9 p.m. after the kids are in bed). Some apps suggest times based on your followers. A word of caution: Watch major world events that may make a scheduled post feel insensitive and postpone it.
- Be consistent with engaging content. The final social media tip? Continue. Watch what engages and build on successes. Be consistent with posting and, most importantly, engage when people comment.