If you’re the communication director or the media ministry leader at your church, you may rack your brain each week wondering what to post on your church’s social media accounts.
Or you may be the church pastor wondering how to encourage your communication ministry leaders.
You know you want to get more engagement and you want your ministry to be more than just a bulletin, but how do you know what to post?
AND the bigger question is whyshould you be posting it.
Here are a few ideas to get your started…but first, I want you to do a little exercise. (There’s always a catch, right?) This is pretty painless, and it will make knowing what to post so much easier.
Answer this question: why does your organisation exist?
What’s your mission statement —
your raison d’être?
If you’re not sure how to answer, we dealt with this question and how it relates to your church’s social media account in the article, “The Most Actionable Plan on How to Improve Your Church’s Social Media Presence”.
So, two things can happen here.
- You can figure out your church’s mission statement or
- You may find that you don’t get much cooperation from the church.
Either way, the next step is to make sure your communication ministry has a mission statement.
If you get a response from the church, make sure your mission statement aligns with theirs. If you don’t get a response from them, make sure your mission statement aligns with Jesus’ reason for the existence of the church.
Personally, the first thing I do when I start a new job is try to understand:
- why the organisation exists and
- why my department or role exists.
Then, I filter all my work through those two ideas.
For example, when I worked in the Communication Department at Greater Sydney Conference, in the top left corner of my white board, I wrote the reason for my department to exist was to: “Inform, Inspire, Engage and Resource our local church members”.
So I filtered all my work through that.
In setting up the Digital Discipleship ministry, I established that our reason for existing was to
“Create, inspire, encourage and resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.”
Just by writing that out and reviewing it regularly, your head will fill with even more things you can share.
So let’s jump into the ideas on what you can share.
1. Pretty Pictures – Shareable Content
The most common go-to for church social media accounts is to create and post scripture posts. You know the kind with a nature photo or a person looking thoughtfully into the sunset with a scripture overlay? Yup! You know the one!
These are a great go-to piece of content because they are shareable. Especially when they’re well done. So, don’t shy away from this type of content just because it’s commonly used. It’s popular for a reason.
Using the mission statements from my role in the communication department at Greater Sydney Conference and in the Digital Discipleship ministry at the Australian Union, pretty scripture pictures would fulfil both missions.
Greater Sydney Conference Communication: Inform, Inspire, Engage and Resource our local church members
Digital Discipleship Ministry: Create, inspire, encourageand resource disciples of Jesus Christ to share His love through their creativity and innovation in the digital space.
2. Content that Engages – Asks questions and gets people to engage
You want to share content that gets engagement and gets people to talk. Ask them questions that are short and simple to answer. They don’t always need to be serious, life-changing questions, but they can be enough to get your audience talking and engaging.
Don’t feel bad if the question doesn’t get answered, just chalk it up as a lesson. That topic doesn’t get your audience talking.
Here’s an example of how we’ve done it on the Digital Discipleship Facebook page:
3. Shared Content
Look for content that has gotten good engagement on someone else’s page and fits with the reason why your church and communication ministry exist. Share it on your account.
The reason for putting this type of content on your social media is because it has already done well somewhere else and it has a reasonable chance of doing well on your account also.
We encourage you to schedule your content, using a platform native to the social media site you’re on so as you see content you want to share, save it and schedule it to post at times you determine are best for your audience.
4. Calls to Action Content
In our article, Having a Call to Action Can Revolutionise Your Church’s Digital Presence, we shared the reason for including calls to action and we even shared several examples of how to align your calls to action with your church’s strategy. If you’d like more detail on this aspect of digital ministry dive deep into that article. This is a very effective piece of content you can include in your content strategy.
5. Live Content
Many churches are already engaging in this strategy, but including live content online can be a good way to engage your audience, especially if you think about what the people you’re trying to reach want or need.
However, if you think your church service is the only time you can go live, guess what, there are other times you can go live, for example,
- Do a cooking demo
- Show what’s happening at a church event
- Greet people online in the lobby of the church before church starts to invite people to come in
- Share what it’s like to do outreach by going live during an outreach event
- Go live with a mid-week prayer or Bible study during lunch time
You might come up with even more creative ideas if you go do a bit of brainstorming with your team.
6. Featuring Your Congregation
Your church is really just a collection of people. Try telling their stories and the testimonies of your congregation. Tell the story of how your church started. Share the outcome of events, not just the photos but the stories that happened during the event. Let people live vicariously through your story telling on your page.
7. Show what life looks like at your church
People often use social media as a window to peer in. They want a community to belong to.
Show what life looks like at your church. Share photos of potluck, Pathfinders and other events. You can also do this effectively with videos as well. Give people a taste of what life would be like if there were to be a member of your church.
8. Share Events
This is something churches naturally share – upcoming events. Talk about what’s happening at your church. Share the events that are going to take place.
One way to get more attention when you share events is to talk to your community even when you don’t have an event coming up. This way, you have their attention all year long, not just when you want them to do something.
A groundbreaking idea in this area is to be cooperative with other churches in your Conference who are located nearby. Why not form an alliance with them to share some of their events that might be useful to your community and you can share some of their events.
9. Share useful content from the ministries you support
Stay in touch with the ministries you support like Pathfinders, Women’s Ministry and Family Ministry. Meet with them or send them an e-mail every few weeks or months to see if they have any resources you could share or upcoming events.
You may have to push them to get resources to you. It’s likely their go-to idea for social media will be promoting their latest event. Encourage them to provide resources, like an article, short video or set of tips to the online community that can engage with the audience and get them to feel more welcome
10. Share offers from your Conference Office, Union or Division.
It’s likely that your Conference Office, Union and Division have offers that can be useful to your audience. There are offers for online Bible studies, free magazines, books, videos and events. Check with them periodically to see what they have to offer and offer them periodically to your community. Who knows, you might end up offering just the thing your audience is seeking.
For example, Hope Channel offers a variety of online courses on its website. Perhaps you can choose one to share once a month. It could be that your audience has no idea these resources exist and your social media account can shine light on them.
11. Share resources your church offers, like articles you’ve written or information you have
What offers does your church have? Do you have any articles on your website that are useful to your audience? Do you have any ministry offers you can make?
Regularly share the resources your church offers on your social media accounts. Remind people about your church library, tell them about play group, remind them of your regularly held potlucks, tell them about mid-week small groups. How are you sharing your church’s resources on your social media accounts?
12. Ask people if they need prayer
Get in the practice of regularly asking people if they need prayer. Give them the option to send your page a private message or to comment and ask you for prayer. Work with your prayer ministry to gather those prayers and pray for them regularly. If people give you permission, you can share some of the answers to prayer or have people be able to share their prayer requests
13. Make regular offers for Bible studies
Are you making regular offers for Bible studies on your social media accounts? This is something you can incorporate into your ministry outreach online. Make sure you’ve spoken with your pastor or elders to ensure there’s a follow-up process for people who do wish to study the Bible.
14. Feature your ministry leaders
Share information or the testimony and even the vision of your ministry leaders. Not only does it give you content for your social media accounts, but it also gives you an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of your church ministry leaders. In sharing their vision for their ministry, you can also share some of the things their ministry offers.
15. Share opportunities to volunteer
Are you sharing volunteer opportunities online? Are you telling your members specific areas where you need help?
Let people know how they can get involved. This also lets visitors or those thinking about joining know that your church is active and there is space for them to get involved
16. Feature the various ministries in the church
It might surprise you to know that not every knows that your church has a prison ministry, a children’s ministry, a cooking ministry, a singles ministry and an outdoors ministry. Have the ministries featured regularly on the church’s social media accounts. This can raise awareness and engagement for the church.
17. Share local events that are happening
Ask yourself within your local church, how can we be good members of our local community in the digital space? How can you share local things that might be relevant to your community, like healthy cooking classes, children’s resources and exercise? This one might be the most challenging but can give you an opportunity to be part of your local community.
This blog post was published on the Digital Discipleship website on 30 April 2019 around the topic of church and social media