Whether you love it or hate it, social media isn’t going anywhere, but when church leaders embrace it, it’s a powerful tool for reaching members and non-members. As you post, you build influence on social media that helps others see you as a respected authority and someone they can trust.
All it takes is one wrong post to suddenly blow that influence. You could ruin how your entire church family sees you and even hurt the church’s chance for new members. Luckily, it’s easier than you might think to avoid these costly mistakes.
1. Posting When Angry
With 71% of adults using Facebook and 87% of 18-29 year-olds using the platform, it’s a great place to reach the majority of your members and even reach out to potential new members. Obviously, you’ll need a public page or profile to do this. The only problem is everyone will see your posts, even those that you posted in a moment of anger or frustration.
Pitching fits on social media isn’t going to win you or your church any points. Instead, followers of your social media account may see you as too rash and move on to someone else.
2. Criticizing Others
Every person is critical of others, at least a little. But when it comes to social media, it’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and criticize everyone from church members to complete strangers. One of the quickest ways to ruin your influence on social media is to blatantly criticize or talk negatively about others. A judgmental church leader could push away members and show potential members that they may not be accepted. Remember, keep judgments to yourself to avoid hurting others.
3. Venting About Your Own Problems
It’s okay to vent about having a bad day now and then, but when it becomes a habit, it gets annoying. It might make those following your profile believe that you only care about yourself and your own problems. After all, they’re following you to learn more about you and the church and to get inspired now and then. Talk about yourself to remind everyone that you’re human too, but stay focused more on the church.
4. Airing Dirty Laundry
The millions of people on social media don’t need to know about a fight you just had with your spouse or that questionable thing one your church members did over the weekend. Part of creating a solid influence on social media is building trust. If followers see that you air everyone’s dirty laundry, they won’t trust you or the church.
5. Diving Into Politics
No matter what your political views might be, social media is not the place for them. It’s rare for everyone to agree and it just leads to unnecessary arguments and tension. The day of and after the 2016 election was a day of unfriending and blocking on Facebook. If church leaders are using social media to try to influence political views, it’ll just drive people away who don’t agree.
6. Attempting To Be Perfect
No one is perfect, but it’s tempting to try to create that belief, especially as a church leader. You know others depend upon your leadership and you don’t want to let them down. This is why it’s okay to post something personal about yourself, such as having a bad day or acknowledging a mistake you made. When you seem perfect, it may make people believe the church only wants perfection and that’s the last thing you want people to believe.
7. Having Private Conversations Publicly
At some point, a member or non-member will post something rather personal or derogatory on your page or profile. They’ll do it publicly and your first instinct might be to handle the situation publicly. To create a better influence on social media, handle some topics privately. If someone posts about a failing marriage, tell them you’re going to message them privately. This shows you’re respectful and in turn, makes people respect your church more too.
Create The Right Influence On Social Media
Your influence on social media could bring in new members, but you have to create the right influence. Think carefully before you post anything. If you’re angry, wait a while to post to avoid the all too common social media post regret.
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