5 Social Media Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Church

Social media is one of the best ways to reach new members and engage current members, especially younger ones.

However, social media mistakes could turn this highly effective tool against your church. The last thing you want is to drive people away.

Luckily, these common mistakes are easy to avoid. With a little planning, Facebook, Twitter and all the others could become your church’s online community.

1. Posting And Forgetting

The top reason people use social media is to stay in contact with friends. When members and potential members find your church on social media, they expect to experience some type of engagement. One of the worst social media mistakes you can make is to just post something and forget it.

Encourage members to interact with your social media channels. Set aside specific times to respond to comments and questions. In fact, 24.7% of people unfollow brands on social media because no one responds to their comments or questions.

2. Talking About Volatile Topics

Volatile topics, such as politics and personal opinions, aren’t exactly the right type of content for a church’s social media account. Your church should feel like a welcoming presence in a chaotic world and this includes your online presence. When something’s going on in the world that you don’t like, post relevant scripture or an encouraging word.

Despite the temptation to be vocal about sensitive subjects, hold back. It’s also a good idea to ensure anyone who manages your social media channels know your church’s stance on what’s appropriate and what’s not.

3. Doing Nothing But Preaching

Simply preaching at social media followers is one of the worst social media mistakes your church can make. Think of the types of pages you follow on Facebook. They post engaging content that makes you think, laugh or feel better. Getting too preachy may actually turn people away.

People don’t want to interact with social media channels that only tell them what they’re doing wrong in life. With so much bullying and judgement going on, they need an uplifting place that helps guide them in their faith. It’s sometimes a hard line to walk, but it makes all the difference between an effective social media strategy and one that hurts your church.

4. Skipping Any Type Of Strategy

Not having a strategy is probably the most common of all social media mistakes. This doesn’t just apply to churches either. Smart Insights provides a list of reasons why you need a strategy and why it applies to businesses, the advice still holds true for churches. Without a clear strategy, it’s difficult to truly engage anyone on social media.

Just think if a church pastor didn’t prepare for Sunday services at all. They didn’t have a sermon or purpose for that week. It would difficult for the pastor to guide members and odds are, members would likely start leaving for another more organized church.

Your church’s social media strategy should include things, such as:

  • Goals – engaging current members, reaching out to the unchurched, etc.
  • How often you’ll post and on which networks
  • What type of posts are appropriate
  • How to deal with negative feedback
  • What social media management tools to use
  • Who’ll manage the accounts and who has access to post
  • Social media etiquette for your church

A comprehensive strategy is vital to making social media work for your church.

5. Being Everywhere Or Nowhere

While you might want to reach everyone possible, it’s just not realistic to try to be on every social media network at once. At the same time, picking just one or none at all isn’t going to help your church either. Large churches are likely on numerous social media networks, but remember, they have dedicated social media teams to handle posting and responding.

For smaller churches, limit how many social networks you’re on, but strive for at least two. Take a poll at your church to see which networks are the most popular. At the time of writing, Facebook and YouTube are the top two social networks, with Instagram and Twitter coming in third and fourth.

Pick a couple to start with and adjust your strategy to meet that network’s audience. For instance, you might post three or four times a day on Facebook, but if you choose to use YouTube, you might only post once a week.

Want to avoid even more social media mistakes? Make sure you’ve got a church website to complement your social media strategy.

6 Ways You Can Grow Your Church This Year

Would you like to see more members in your church each week? Maybe you want to have a bigger variety of ages. If growth has plateaued or decreased, don’t give up hope. You can grow your church this year by employing a few simple strategies. Let your church family help you and together you’ll be able to increase growth and reach far more people in your community.

1. Focus On Your Website Content

First off, if you don’t have a website, you need one. Many people research churches online before ever walking through the doors. If you’re not online, your church might not even be an option for those looking for a new place to worship. Now that you have a site, focus on adding new content regularly. Creating and maintaining a church blog helps to boost your visibility online. Focus on things going on with the church, issues affecting people right now and inspiring stories. You’ll be amazed at how many more people you’ll reach this way.custom church website button

2. Boost Engagement Within The Church

Your members are the spokespeople for your church. If they’re not happy, they probably won’t recommend the church to others. Work on getting your members excited about attending. Talk with them to see if there are things you don’t like about current services or programs. Ask them about things they’d love to see the church involved with. The better your understand what your church family wants and needs, the easier it is to boost engagement and of course, recommendations.

3. Get More Social Online

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is a valuable tool to help you grow your church this year. Many of your members likely already have an account on Facebook or Twitter. By sharing blog posts (your own and others), interacting with members and non-members and sharing motivational scripture, you’re able to reach a wider audience than you could offline. Plus, people who like what you post can share it with all of their friends and family too. Even if your page only has 100 followers, that’s 100 people who could be sharing your posts with hundreds of more people.

4. Host Community Events

While over half of all American churches have less than 100 people in church each week, this doesn’t mean there’s a problem. It just means that it’s time to get more involved in the local community. A problem many churches face is a lack of any real presence outside the church itself. Host community dinners, have open house nights (less pressure for those looking for a new church) and volunteer at non-church events such as local fairs and festivals. The idea is to get non-members to start interacting with the church. Plus, this shows your community that your church does more than just preach the gospel, they also practice it.

grow your church button5. Offer Various Small Groups

Different groups, such as seniors and millennials, may prefer different types of worship experiences. For instance, seniors might like more traditional hymns while millennials might love modern Christian music. Offer smaller worship groups to make everyone feel more comfortable at church. This is also a great way to grow your church. During an open house night for the community, have the leaders from each group available to talk to potential members about what their groups do. This shows that it’s not a one way or the highway type of deal.

6. Use Motivation Instead Of Guilt

It’s a common myth that small churches either have to drastically increase their numbers or close their doors. If you want to grow your church, don’t use this gloom and doom approach. You don’t need a massive church to effectively reach your church family. Instead of trying to guilt members into attending regularly (which turns them off from church completely), try motivating them instead. Ask what church leaders could do to make church more interesting and engaging. Remember, the happier your church family is, the more they’ll talk about the church to friends and family. This helps to grow your church far better than guilt.

Looking for ways to grow your church this year? See how a church website will help boost your efforts in 2017.

How To Get The Unchurched To Walk Through Your Doors

Get The Unchurched Through Your Doors

We know that most churches are looking for ways to improve attendance and increase their members. Sadly, it’s not always as easy as just posting a “welcome” sign outside the church.

If you want to increase both members and attendance, you need to find ways to get the unchurched to walk through your doors. Don’t discount the unchurched. Many still have faith, but they’re just not sure where to go for guidance or which church might be the right fit for them.

Understanding The Unchurched

The most important to thing to understand about the unchurched is that many still believe, but they don’t associate with any one denomination. They consider themselves unaffiliated. This means you can still reach them, but you have to do it in a way that makes them feel welcomed.

According to Barna’s studies, approximately 40% of Americans identify as unchurched. They might attend an occasional special service, such as a Christmas play, but nothing else. Different cities may have higher or lower percentages, such as the San Francisco Bay Area which is considered 61% unchurched.

Even if they’re not regularly attending a church, they’re not opposed to attending one day if they find the right fit. Of course, some may not be able to attend due to work, which is something your church could appeal to by offering services on a different day or time.

Create A Welcoming Atmosphere

custom church website buttonIf you want to get the unchurched to walk in, you have to create a welcoming atmosphere. Think about what visitors see when they first come in. Is there someone to welcome them? If it’s a larger church, are there signs posted about where to go? Is there plenty of room to sit? Are there hours posted on a sign outside? Is there ample parking?

Believe it or not, simple things like this can make the unchurched believe your church is already full or doesn’t accept new members. If an unchurched visitor comes to a special service, ensure they feel welcomed instead of pushed to the background. When they feel like part of the community, they’re more likely to come back.

Encourage Members To Talk

Get the unchurched interested in visiting by encouraging your members to talk about their faith and invite new members. In fact, 70% of church guests come because a friend or relative invited them. In one survey, 79% of unchurched Americans didn’t mind their churched friends talking about their faith. Nearly half (47%) engage in the conversation.

It’s important to remind your members to talk about their faith but avoid giving a sales pitch. No one enjoys that. Instead, the passion your members have should serve as an example of what it’s like to be a part of your church. Think of it as a gentle way to reach the unchurched without being pushy.

Provide Community Events

grow your church buttonMany of the unchurched are looking for churches that make a positive impact on the community. They’re not interested in churches that rarely interact with the local community or always seem to be exclusive. An easy way to show the unchurched what you’re involved in is to invite them to special activities, such as community service projects.

It’s also a great idea to offer community programs that aren’t just for members. For instance, hosting fitness programs for varying age groups or having a community dinner encourages the unchurched to participate and creates that important welcoming aspect. In fact, 46% of the unchurched are likely to attend a sports program, while 51% would help with a community service project.

Show That You’re Modern

If you want to get the unchurched to visit, you have to step into the modern era. The younger unchurched often feel that churches are out of touch. Singing nothing but traditional sermons and being talked at for a few hours doesn’t appeal to them.

Instead, they want a church that reaches them on their level. Integrating technology, having a website to interact with the church before visiting and focusing on some of their specific needs are just a few ways to become a more modern church that appeals to the currently unchurched.

The unchurched aren’t out of reach. You just have to open your doors, welcome them in and show them that your church meets their needs.

Need some help with modernizing your church? Start with our web design services to attract the unchurched to you.