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.

The Ultimate Online Technology Strategy For Smaller Churches

Smaller churches are sometimes reluctant to embrace technology and take their churches online. However, having an online technology strategy helps boost member engagement and new church visitors.

Odds are, at least part of your church family uses social media and mobile devices often. This means that part of your potential visitors are online too.

Connect on a wider scale by getting your church online. It’s easier than you might think and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Keep Consistent Branding

One thing to always remember throughout your online technology strategy is to keep consistent branding. From having the same logo to maintaining the same personality, a church’s brand is what people connect with. If you’re always serious on Facebook but humorous on Twitter, people might not be able to get a good sense about your church.

Start With A Websitecustom church website button

Your church’s online strategy has to begin with one key ingredient – a website. Think of it as your virtual home online that happens to have its doors open 24/7. A few elements to include on your site are:

  • Images/videos of your church
  • Short description and mission statement
  • Service hours
  • Contact information
  • Blog
  • Calendar of events
  • Forum for members to interact
  • Social media channels

Obviously, your site can as big or small as you want. Some churches upload their services online, while others only upload a video now and then. The key is to have a place for visitors to learn more about your church.

Plan A Website Content Strategy

With a website comes the need for a content strategy. A church website helps people find your church through search engines, but to rank higher online, you need to keep your site current. This is where a blog comes in handy. To keep visitors coming back, create a content schedule to ensure you’re posting regularly. Even if it’s only one blog per week, it’s enough to stay current in search engines.

Also, plan what types of content you’ll upload. Will you use text, video, images or a mix (which works best)? Will you talk more about church activities, tackle current issues or answer questions from members and site visitors? Having a content strategy in place will make maintaining your blog much easier.

Choose At Least Two Social Networks

It might seem like there is a new social network every week, but your church doesn’t have to maintain a presence on every network. However, your online technology strategy should include at least two social networks. Facebook and Twitter are often the most popular choices because of their large user bases, but you could also choose from sites like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. You could even get creative and use Medium since it’s part blogging platform and part social network. No matter which two you use, stay active to help build your church.

Get Members Involved Online

grow your church buttonIf you want your online technology strategy to actually be successful, you’re going to need some help. Get your members as involved as possible. For instance, ask them to connect with the church on social media and share their favorite posts. At one small church, the pastor encourages members to use tag the church on Twitter when mentioning events to drive more people to the church’s social media profile. This same church even encourages members to use Bible apps on their phones if they want.

The lesson is to embrace technology, even in a small church. It’s an easy way to better engage members and bring in new members.

Offer E-Giving On Your Site

If tithing is down at your church, make e-giving a part of your online strategy. Online giving providers serve as a modern way for members and even non-members to tithe. Incorporate a giving form on your site or as a mobile app. In an age where many people only have credit cards on them, it’s easier to set up payments online versus remembering to get cash before church.

Utilize Volunteers

While getting a professional service to design your website is a good idea, you’re still left with maintaining it, uploading content and managing social media. Ask for volunteers to help manage it all. Meet with them weekly to discuss strategy and review what they’ve been doing. After all, it’s overwhelming for just one person to do everything.

Follow The Lead Of Other Churches

Not sure where to start? Search for other churches online and see what they’re currently doing. You can even learn from large churches. Don’t be afraid to send a message to any church you admire to ask questions or see how well their strategy is working for them.

Are you ready to get started on your own online technology strategy? See how our church web design services get you off to the right start.

8 Tips To Using Social Media To Build Your Church Online

A website isn’t the only way to build your church online. There’s also the ever important social media.

Whether you love it or hate, you can’t deny how popular it is, especially with millennials. If you want to reach existing church members and gain new members, social media is a powerful tool.

To make the most of it, you have to be active. Think of social media as a way to have conversations with anyone and everyone all at one time.

custom church website button1. Interact During Peak Times

One of the benefits of using social media to build your church online is you can often interact in real-time. For best results, try posting during peak times to get the best interaction. Hubspot breaks down some optimal times, but includes an important remind – there isn’t always one set time, so see what times work best for your church. Posting during these times means you’ll also get more people sharing your content, which helps build followers.

2. Have A Solid Strategy

This is probably the most important tips of all. You need a strategy and you have to stick to it. Even if you just post once a day to Facebook, at least stick to that schedule and post around the same time each day. A few things to include in your strategy are:

  • Have at least two people working together
  • Create a posting schedule
  • Determine which networks to use
  • Include rules for things not to post

3. Use More Than One Channel

Using one social network might seem overwhelming, but even though 68% of adults use Facebook and 21% use Twitter, you widen your reach by using at least two different social channels. Plus, different content performs better on different networks, such as short verses on Twitter and community photos on Facebook. Talk to members of your church and community to see what their favorite networks are.

4. Use Social Media Management Tools

The biggest reason you might not want to build your church online using social media is because it is time-consuming. You’re not always going to be around during optimal posting times or thank someone for following you. The solution is to use social media management tools that allow you to schedule posts in advance, see all activity from multiple networks at a glance and interact on multiple networks from a single dashboard. Some are free, but others do have premium plans for additional features.

5. Implement Photos

Want to have more engagement on social media? Increase share rates and make sure your posts get noticed by adding in photos. Every post doesn’t need one but think about the type of content you notice first on social media – the content with images. Not only does it look more appealing to potential members, but it’s easier to remember. In fact, most people only remember 10% of what they hear after three days but remember 65% of what they see in an image.

grow your church button6. Lighten Up

It’s tempting to only post serious things, but that gets old and it doesn’t show any personality. After all, the idea is to build your church online, not drive everyone away by showing that your church is stuffy and boring. It’s okay to mix in some lighter content, such as jokes, something funny that happened to church leaders or just a light-hearted inspiring message. Just check out Ken Davis does it to get inspired yourself.

7. Learn From “The Competition”

While you should never just copy “the competition”, look at what other churches are doing on social media. This is a great way to see what does and doesn’t work. You can also get ideas on what type of content works best on different networks just by seeing other churches’ posts.

8. Mix In Video

Video content is expected to make up 74% of Internet traffic in 2017. If your want to build your church online, add some video to your social media strategy. Short videos showing community events or excerpts from a recent sermon all work well. You can also mix in some family friendly funny videos just to give everyone a reason to laugh for the day.

Social media can be a highly effective way to build your church online and interact with your current members. While there is a time investment, it’s well worth the results.

Adding social media to your church marketing strategy? Contact us today to see how we can incorporate social media on your website.

Infographic: 25 Stats You Need To Know About Instagram For Churches

instagram for churches header

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform in the world. It is growing five times faster than any other social network. Is your church using it?

You should be.

By now you know that your church needs to be using social media. You have an hour with your church family on Sunday mornings. Social media gives you access to your church for the other 167 hours each week.

Most churches today are using Facebook, the world’s largest social network. Most of your church family is on there, and your church should be using it to grow. 

If I was only going to use one social network for my church, I would use Facebook. 

The second social network your church should be using is Instagram.custom church website button

3 Reasons You Need To Use Instagram For Churches

Instagram reaches a younger audience.

Instagram reaches a younger audience than Facebook.

With 55% of young adults using Instagram, this is the network we need to be on if we want to reach millennials.

Recently I had a conversation with a 19-year-old who explained to me that Facebook was something for older people. She and her friends rarely use anything but Instagram.

If we want to reach young people with the Gospel, we need to be where they are.

grow your church buttonInstagram reaches people visually.

When other large social networks were built, they primarily offered text updates. Instagram focuses on visual updates.

If you are like me, you have become tired of the constant political conversations on other social networks.

With Instagram, each post requires a photo or video. This has made the content much more personal and less political.

This keeps Instagram fun.  Your church needs to be where the fun is.

Instagram reaches the nations.

Instagram has an international user base.  As young people come to the United States, chances are they are on Instagram.

We aim to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Instagram is bringing the nations to us.

25 Stats You Need To Know About Instagram For Churches

instagram for churches

7 Ways Leaders Can Blow Their Influence On Social Media

7 Ways Leaders Can Blow Their Influence On Social Media

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

custom church website buttonWith 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

grow your church buttonNo 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.

Want a website that helps build a positive influence? Find out more about our church web design services today.

INFOGRAPHIC: How To Improve Your Church’s Facebook Reach

Church Facebook Reach

Have you noticed a change in the number of people you are reaching when your church posts on Facebook?  Facebook has made it clear that organizations, including churches should expect that at some point their organic reach will hit zero.

Facebook is becoming a pay to play environment for churches, but that’s not to say you can’t still reach people organically.

Here are some strategies your church can use to make sure your posts are seen by a high percentage of those who like your page.

How-to-Improve-Your-Facebook’s-Organic-Reach

Infographic Courtesy of QuickSprout