Cut Through The Noise by Defining the "Why" of Your Church's Social Media
If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that your church is already present on at least one social media platform. But have you ever stopped to consider why? I get the sense that if you asked most church communicators why they post on social media, it would be something along the lines of, “Because we have to," or "Every church is on social media.”
Before we dive into the “hows” and “do’s and don’ts” of social media this month, I think it’s worthwhile to stop for a moment and get a better sense of our why.
Why you need a “why”
In my experience, many church communicators post frequently on social media with no clear goal or result in mind.
But if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s impossible to know whether or not you’re successful. And if you don’t have a clear picture of what success looks like, how will you know whether or not you’re reaching it?
(For the record, as a busy church communicator, I don’t think it’s good stewardship to invest your limited time and resources on something if you have no idea whether it’s working or not.)
Even when churches do have a goal for their social media, it’s often only related to numbers and metrics. “We want to grow our Facebook impressions by ___% in the next six months,” or “We want to have ___ Instagram followers by the end of the year.”
These benchmarks will get you a step closer to defining your why, but they aren’t a “why” by themselves. WHY do you want to grow your impressions? WHY do you want to gain more followers?
That’s why defining your “why” is essential: defining your why helps you determine your win.
And, just like the other ministries in your church, I believe we need to have a clear ministry goal and “win” for our church’s social media presence.
Choosing your why: insiders or outsiders?
Most ministry programs in a church are either discipleship programs or outreach programs. In other words, they are either designed to disciple “insiders” or reach “outsiders.” Our social media platforms are the same.
Think of social media used for insiders like a bulletin board. Bulletin boards use insider language and promote events and programs to people already connected to the church.
Think of social media used to reach outsiders like a billboard. Billboards broadcast a public message about who we are to our whole community.
If you haven’t defined the ministry “why” for your social media, I encourage you to consider how your church can utilize social media to reach beyond your congregation to others in your community. For example:
To reach insiders: Post a 45-minute video of your full Sunday service for those who missed it.
To reach outsiders: Post a 45-second Reel of a memorable, relatable moment from the Sunday message.
To reach insiders: Post on your page about an upcoming church event.
To reach outsiders: Create a Facebook event with the details of your event and encourage your congregation to invite others on their friends list. This event will appear when people in your community search Facebook for events nearby.
To reach insiders: Post a Bible verse graphic.
To reach outsiders: Post the link to a helpful Christian blog on a relevant cultural topic, like mental health or parenting.
None of the strategies listed above are “right” or “wrong”—it simply depends on your “why?” Do you want to use social media to help new people connect to your church and to faith or simply as a secondary form of communication with your existing congregation?
You can use social media to connect with the believers already involved in your church. But, as you can probably tell, my bias leans toward using social media to reach our communities, as well.
After all, if all of your church’s programs and ministries are designed solely for people who already know Jesus, it might be time to reconsider your “why.”