My father-in-law loves carpentry. He collects woodworking tools—he’s got a whole workshop full of them. And I enjoy working with him on a few carpentry projects. It’s actually taught me something valuable about marketing.

Tools each have a unique purpose—but using the tool is not the purpose of woodworking. A table saw is valuable in helping get your work done. But using a table saw is not the reason you do carpentry. The reason is the beautiful table you make.

The same is true in social media marketing. Social media is a useful tool in marketing your church. But using social media is not the intended end result. The intended end result is deeper relationships, stronger communities, and changed lives.

Social media is a tool, not the end result.

It Has a Specific Purpose

Every tool has a specific use for a specific task. You wouldn’t use a hammer in the same way you use a screwdriver. A tape measure and sandpaper are not interchangeable. Picking the right tool is just as important as knowing how to use it.

The same is true for the different social media channels. Facebook and Twitter are not created equally. Don’t treat them the same way. Don’t post the same content to both and expect the same result. Learn each social platform’s unique use and then use it that way.

Figure out what goals you’re trying to accomplish in your marketing. Then pick the right tools to accomplish these goals. No more trying to hammer screws.

You Get Better With Practice

No one is an expert the first time they use a tool. It takes time and effort to learn and hone a craft.

It’s unreasonable to expect to pick up a handsaw for the first time and expect perfection. Without any instruction or caution, you risk cutting off a finger. The more you practice, the more comfortable and competent you become.

The same is true with digital tools. We aren’t immediately sure of our abilities with using social media at first. Don’t expect to be an authority right away. Put in the work to get better. Don’t be afraid to fail—at least with social media, there’s a decreased risk of injury.

Using the Tool is Not the Goal

Perhaps the most important lesson here is that the tool is not the end result. Tools help us create an end result, but using a tool is not the reason for our labors. It may take a hammer to build a house, but using a hammer for 10 hours doesn’t automatically mean you’ve built something.

Many of us mistake social media for the destination. We start a Facebook page, get a few Likes, and call it a success. But the real goal is to communicate a message, form a connection, or grow a community. Are you measuring the progress of any of those things?

The only way to know if your social media efforts are successful is if you’ve identified your end goal. Then pick the right tool and practice with it until you get there.

What is the end goal of your social media usage?