Did you know that the average person in the US spends over 2 hours on social media every day? (Source: BroadbandSearch) When used correctly, social media can be a powerful asset for your church’s outreach ministry and a great way to keep current members connected to your church throughout the week. Unfortunately, for many busy pastors and church leaders, social media often falls off the radar, becoming an afterthought. For others, social media might seem daunting and difficult to navigate. If you’re looking to grow your church’s social presence but don’t know where to start, the team at Missional Marketing has put together Social Media for Churches: The Ultimate Guide to make the process as simple as possible.
Why is it Important for Churches to Use Social Media?
With people spending so much time on social media daily, it’s more important than ever for churches to have a strong social presence. Researchers have found a direct correlation between increased screen time on social media with negative mental health effects like anxiety and depression (Source: Online Social Networking and Mental Health). Churches that are active on social media can spread positive messages of love and hope within an oftentimes dark space. By posting shareable content, you can reach unchurched people where they need it most.
Social media is a great way to brand and market your church. Many new people actively church shopping often will check out a church’s social media pages before planning an in-person visit or watching a service online. If they like what they see, they’ll be more inclined to attend a worship experience. If your church is struggling with keeping people engaged throughout the week, social can also keep current members feeling connected and excited about upcoming events or Sunday services.
Additionally, having active social media accounts is helpful for organic SEO and driving backlinks to your church’s website. Social media listings create backlinks to your website. As a result, having more social profiles takes up more space in search results when a user searches for your church by name which is good for brand reputation management. Google also frequently pulls in social profiles to GMB listings in the knowledge panel which is important for local SEO.
What Social Channels Should My Church Use?
While it’s best to have as many active social media profiles as possible, it’s important to keep realistic goals. If you don’t think your church can stay active on every platform, we’d recommend starting small and slowly ramping up your social presence over time. For example, your church probably doesn’t need Pinterest right away. If you’re new to social media, we recommend creating social accounts on at least Facebook and Instagram. With Facebook’s 2.6 billion monthly users and Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users, these are two of the top social platforms. These platforms are very user friendly and make it easy to share content, even if you have limited resources.
If you’re able to create high-quality video content or post sermons online, YouTube is also a great beginner channel to utilize. Since YouTube is owned by Google, uploading YouTube videos, and optimizing them for SEO can help boost your church’s organic rankings. While Twitter makes it easy to interact with users, we’d recommend only utilizing Twitter if your church has someone dedicated to being able to quickly respond to users. LinkedIn is also helpful for reaching potential talent who may want to work within your church.
How Frequently Should My Church Be Posting?
It can be confusing to find the right balance for how frequently a church should post on social media. Facebook and Instagram algorithms are driven by engagement on posts so if you’re posting too frequently without getting likes, shares, saves, and comments, the reach of the posts will decrease. That’s why it’s important to post high-quality content that is likely for users to interact with. In general, churches should post on Facebook and Instagram 2-4 times per week. However, when it comes to Stories, Reels, and Lives, you can post daily more frequently. On Twitter, we recommend tweeting a few times throughout the day. Videos on YouTube can be posted less frequently, uploading a new video once or bi-weekly.
According to HubSpot, the best times to post on social media are usually weekdays early in the week from 9 am to 12 pm. Sunday is typically the lowest day of engagement on social media. Below are some of the best days and times to post on different social platforms based on Hubspot’s study:
- Best Times to Post on Facebook: Monday-Wed at 12 pm
- Best Times to Post on Twitter: Monday-Wed at 12 pm or 1 pm
- Best Times to Post on Instagram: Monday-Friday from 12 pm-1 pm
What Content Should My Church Be Posting?
It’s best to post a blend of high-quality, shareable content that makes users want to interact through comments, likes, and shares. Instead of just randomly posting content, you should have a strategy in mind that is based on your goals and target audience. One way to do this is by having a content calendar where you can thoughtfully plan out your posts. All of your content should reflect your church’s tone and mission.
Depending on the platform, you should post different types of media. For example, on Facebook, you can share articles or blog posts, in addition to other forms of content whereas on Instagram or YouTube you want to post visual content. Below is some inspiration for types of posts:
- Scripture quotes
- Requests for prayer or sharing of other’s prayer requests
- Videos and photos of your church’s services
- Testimonials from your church’s members
- Daily mini devotional posts
- Videos of worship within your church
- Happy photos of your church serving the community
- Spotlights on different leaders
- Sermon series promos
- Special events and positive updates
- Blog posts from your church or other thought leaders
- Christian book recommendations
- Follow up questions from sermons
Look at the Data
Rather than just guessing at what types of posts your followers want to see, you can take advantage of the analytics provided on social media channels for businesses. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all offer excellent tools for churches to be able to see a breakdown of their data on posts and videos to see key metrics such as likes, shares, saves, views, and comments. If a certain post on Instagram or Facebook received more engagement than your other posts, you can investigate further to see why this may have been the case and then replicate it in future posts. For example, maybe you posted a short sermon video when you normally post static photos on Instagram. Moving forward, you should try to post more videos. We recommend reviewing your social analytics at the end of every week and more in-depth once a month.
Know Your Audience
When you’re posting on social media, you should always keep in mind the audience that you’re trying to reach. Once your church has its primary social media accounts, we recommend creating separate accounts dedicated to more specific audiences. For example, creating an Instagram account dedicated specifically to Youth Ministry is a great strategy for better connecting with younger users. Additionally, creating a Facebook page for your church’s singles ministry or women’s group could help reach these users with highly targeted content that they’re more likely to interact with. For YouTube, you could consider creating a channel dedicated to worship.
Keep Information Up To Date
One of the most important things for churches is to stay up to date on is their contact information on social media. If a user discovers your church through your social media page, they need to easily be able to contact the church or visit the website for more information. Many churches fail to update their core information which can be confusing to users, and search engines that might pull from this info. This is especially necessary with COVID updates and hours.
If your church wants to reach more people on social media and maximize growth goals online, a great option is through boosted posts and paid media. By boosting a post on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, your church can target more people than they would organically. This is a great option if you want to maximize your church’s social media growth.
Run Paid Advertising Campaigns
If you’ve never run a paid advertising campaign yourself on Facebook/Instagram, you can easily outsource this work to the digital advertising experts at Missional Marketing. We’ll help you with the ad copy, graphics, timing, budget, and message to reach people in your community. We can even help you run paid campaigns to reach your own church attendees, helping to keep them engaged. Countless churches work with us to promote events and services surrounding Christmas, Easter, Back to School or Church, Church Online, and any other special events or sermon series throughout the year.
Engage with Users and Other Accounts
One of the best strategies to expand your reach on social media and connect better with your followers is by engaging with users and other social media accounts. When a user sends you a private message, comments on your post or video, tweets at you, or mentions you within their story, it’s important to respond as quickly as possible. Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook reward accounts that interact heavily with their followers.
In addition to responding to users engaging with your church’s account, it’s also important to interact with other accounts on their posts. Social media accounts want to see that you are active and will expand the reach of your posts as a reward. We recommend following some Christian thought leaders or influencers, worship artists, and other churches and interacting with their content.
Hashtags are a great strategy for increasing your reach on social media to be able to target new people to grow your church. People can follow and search by hashtags on social media for topics they are interested in. Different hashtags have a variety of different levels of posts and activity. It’s important to find the right balance of using hashtags with lots of engagement where your posts may get lost within a person’s feed but have a large following and using hashtags that have less content surrounding with a smaller following but your post may be more visible. A great way to find new hashtags is to look at other churches, pastors, and Christian influencers that are getting a lot of engagement and seeing what hashtags they use. For most posts, we recommend using 10-12 relevant hashtags. Don’t forget to change up your hashtags frequently.
Automate Social Media
If you’re a busy pastor or church leader and want to automate your social media posting, a great option is to utilize a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to set up your posts in advance and plan out your posts. This way, you can create and manage posts on your schedule, versus having to manually post them live. Another great option is to work with a church marketing agency like Missional Marketing so that you can focus on building your ministry instead and let our team implement the strategy.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can grow your church and increase engagement through social media, give us a call at 480-420-2007 or check out our contact us page for more options. Our team of experts will work with you to understand your church’s unique needs and goals to help put a plan into action.