I’m not trying to be a critic. I love the church, which by the way is composed of people, not buildings or services. The church is people. I’m making this ecclesiastical distinction because in social media, people are attracted not so much to your place, but what is happening to people at your place. If you want to get people’s attention on social media, then share with them how people are being changed. Share with them why people are coming to your events and what they are doing. Tell them what’s in it for them.
This is a lot of work. But it is worth it. Your online presence (not just social media) is as important as your worship team. Let me state it this way, in 2022 your online team is as important as your worship team. What! We’re supposed to have an online team? Exactly.
You would never think of holding worship services without worship planning. You plan for prayers, messages, music, how the offering is taken, when and where to do communion, etc. With social media being so important in the lives of virtually (pun alert!) everyone under 80 years old all over the planet, why would you allow your church to be in it haphazard?
For most churches it is haphazard. No need to defend it. I’m going to list five things I’ve noticed on church social media pages that need to change, and I know you have noticed these as well.
1. Inconsistent posting
At the time of this writing, we are entering the middle of February, the last posting on a church’s social media page was the cancelling of the Christmas program back in early December due to Covid-19. Has nothing else gone on since then? Is this going to make anyone want to come to services there? Maybe they have not met since Christmas? Who knows?
Inconsistent posting is not just frequency but also regularity. It doesn’t need to be daily. In fact, daily could be too much. Post at least weekly and post something that would be interesting to people in your church and include something that is interesting in general. Brag about a church member. Share a birthday wish. Offer a prayer. Let your imagination run wild, but post frequently and consistently.
2. Just Preaching or Announcements
Your church has good preaching. It could be said that your church has great preaching but preaching alone is not what engages and keeps people coming back on social media. Yes, post the service. But also post other things. Post pictures of people coming into the building smiling and happy. Post take-a-ways of the day.
Perhaps there was a time when just announcements were okay on social media. I don’t know when that was, but that time is over. If you want someone gone from your Facebook page faster than a hair piece in a hurricane, then just post preaching and announcements.
3. Lack of Vital Church Information
Some churches don’t have a website, so they use a Facebook page as their website. If this is your church, make sure that the service times, small group/Sunday School times are on the page. Put the church’s phone number on the page as well. If your church does not have an answering system that will tell people when services and events are going to be and who to contact in an emergency, then just leave the number off.
If your church has a website, I suggest you make sure that the service times and phone numbers are the same between your social media pages and your website. I write this because I personally have been confused at when to show up at a church because of this very thing.
By the way, how serious is a church about reaching people with the love of Jesus when a person visits their social media page and website and cannot find the service times? It is not a good look and easy to fix.
4. Not Enough Pictures of Happy People
It’s all about the visual. That is the day we are in. Even this blog starts out with an engaging picture. Sometimes that is the hardest and most fun part. Do you know what gets the attention of just about 100% of people? Babies. Pictures of babies sleeping or with puppies. If they are doing something cute, then that gets a share. Now you know why I chose my lead picture!
I’m not saying to take pictures of your babies and post them. There could be issues with the parents on that! But what I am saying is that attending your church should be a wonderful experience. You want it to be. So have someone take pictures of people being happy. Get your people to take selfies and post them, tagging your page and hashtag your church. Many churches enlist a photographer as a volunteer to take pictures at every event. They could be part of your online team.
5. No Apparent Plan
So, I’ve hinted at this throughout my blog. If you’re still reading, you realize by now that to have a winning online presence, you need a plan. It’s not just a plan that you need, you need help. You need other people who feel the call to make the new front door of the church, your online presence, as inviting as possible.
Most of what I see could be called a plan, but not a good one. It’s a haphazard plan of, every now and then, posting something, or using social media as just another phone tree or email chain for passing on insider information. It’s time to get beyond that.