You should have two goals for your church?s social media presence.
- Connect with and grow your current church members.
- Reach new people for your church.
If your church isn?t accomplishing these two goals with social media, there?s room to grow.
However, let?s face it: Connecting with current church members is the easy part. Just throw your Facebook URL on an announcement slide on Sunday and your church members will flock to it faster than you can say your favorite cheesy Christian phrase.[quote]Connecting with current church members is the easy part.[/quote]
But reaching people in your community ? people who have never even heard of your church, let alone visited on a Sunday ? that?s a whole different animal, and it takes work. It takes time and effort. It takes intentionality and strategy. And it may even mean that you need to post something on your church?s Facebook Page that isn?t a Bible verse.
Here are a few ways to start reaching new people for your church with social media:
1. Care about what your community cares about.
If your church is located in a community full of families with small children, it?s probably a good idea to learn more about what problems those families are facing on an ongoing basis. Then you?re going to be able to create content to address those problems.
For example: In Chicago, a large problem facing families is navigating the school system. Should I send my kid to public school, private school, or just homeschool them? These are questions that parents are asking on a regular basis, and for a long time the church wasn?t speaking into that issue. So my church decided to create an event to assist parents in this process. On social media, they promoted these events and targeted people in different neighborhoods. This strategy allowed them to reach people that otherwise may have never stepped foot into the church. But my church stepped into an issue that people cared about and showed them that the church cared as well.
2. Create shareable content.
This may seem like an obvious strategy to implement, but I think it?s important to define ?shareable content?. Shareable content is not posting your church service times to Facebook everyday and hoping that people will share it with their friends. Shareable content are those posts that are encouraging, inspiring, or challenging for your community. If it falls into one of those three buckets, it may be shareable content.[quote]Shareable content are those posts that are encouraging, inspiring, or challenging for your community.[/quote]
This content could be in the form of a quote, a verse, a picture, or a video. But the most important thing to remember is that it is something that people would want to share with their friends on social media, not just what you would share.
3. Use Facebook Ad Targeting.
This is probably the most underutilized feature for churches on Facebook, but also one of the most powerful. Imagine being able to target someone in your neighborhood who just moved to the area, who is looking for a church, is married and has kids, is under the age of 35, and has given to a charitable organization in the last year. I know, it sounds a little creepy, but it can be used to your church?s advantage and that?s exactly what you can do with Facebook Ad Targeting. And if you do it well, you could reach people in your community that may have never heard of your church otherwise.
So when you host those community events that aren?t necessarily meant for people inside your church, but are meant for people outside of your church, you?ll be able to directly promote those events to people in your community. When you host that neighborhood block party, you?ll be able to target that mom on Facebook with a post that says, ?There are going to be bounce houses in your neighborhood this week and your family is invited to join us!? (Okay, maybe something a little less weird). Then include a link to the Facebook event and invite them to RSVP.
These are just three ways to get started in reaching new people for your church through social media. While there are tons of other strategies to implement, these are the three that you should probably start with. And just remember that if you?re only accomplishing the first goal of reaching people inside your church with social media, you?re not completely utilizing social media for your church.
Always be thinking about people outside of your church. After all, Jesus didn?t just call us to minister to those already in the Church, but he commanded us to go beyond. Let?s do that today through social media.