There is no shortage of places to spend your time on social media. There’s the major players like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But that’s not all, you also have YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. And according to a 2018 report by the Pew Research center, each of those 8 social channels has at least 1 in 5 Americans using it.
So how do you determine which channels you should be on? Do you just go with the traditional big 3, or do you try and keep up with as many social networks as you can fit on your plate that month, invariably leaving some to get stale in the process?
Choosing which social media channels your church should be on is hard. On one hand, you don’t want to just be on the single channel you feel most comfortable with while your church is over on another. On the other hand you only have limited resources, and spreading yourself and your church staff too thin to keep up with every social media channel that pops up probably isn’t wise either. So how do you know which channels to choose and which to stay away from?
Contrary to popular belief, your church doesn’t have to be on every social media platform to be effective at social media. In fact, you probably shouldn’t be. Not only do you run the risk of spreading your efforts to thin to be effective on any one platform, but you can also end up spending a lot of effort posting with little to no results.
Even the largest churches and ministries that have teams managing their social media presence across multiple platforms only focus on a handful of channels. Here’s how to tell if you’re choosing the right social media platforms for your church.
Where is your target audience?
The single biggest factor your church should consider when selecting what social media channels to use is: “Where are the people I’m trying to reach?” And that’s not as hard as it might sound, after you know exactly who it is you are trying to reach.
One great place to start is by looking at your current church and understanding the type of person that you already reach well, and then go find more of those people on social media.
Once you know who you are trying to reach, it’s just a matter of finding out where they hang out on social. To do that, it helps to understand what types of people use each social channel, and why.
Ask yourself these 5 questions about the people you want to engage with as a church:
- Which social media channels do they use?
- When are they on these platforms?
- Which channels do they spend the most time on?
- What types of things do they usually post?
- What types of posts do they enjoy and interact with?
The more you know about who they are, the easier it will be to engage them on social media.
Never choose a social media channel because someone said you should. Choose a social media channel because you think you can realistically reach the people you are trying to reach as a church. That way you’ll be putting your efforts where you can reap the most reward from those efforts.
Where Do Those People Engage the Most With My Church?
Followers are a vanity metric. Although they play into algorithms and provide some sort of social proof that your church can use, a small engaged audience is better than a large, disengaged one.
With that being said, it’s important to concentrate on the channels on which you think you can most effectively engage with the audience you want to reach. Which channels do people comment on the posts that you post, if you’re on those channels? Which channels elicit the greatest response?
Engagement is the most meaningful metric for any platform, so try and find ones where your church can engage effectively with your community,
What Resources and Skills Does My Church Have?
It would be great to be on all the channels, but focusing on the most effective channels for your churches resources and skills is what will help you be most successful in your efforts. If you have a small church, you probably don’t have the time and resources to be on more than a couple of social media channels. Even a larger church may choose to consolidate their efforts to focus on the channels they find are most effective.
But it’s not just a resource question either. What type of posts do the channels that you want to focus on require? YouTube, for example, is all about video. If you don’t want to post tons of videos, it’s probably not for you. Similarly, Instagram is all about high-quality photos. If you don’t think your church has the skills to succeed there, then either hire someone who does or move on to another social media channel.
Putting It All Together
Deciding on which social media channels your church should use can be a process, but now you have the tools necessary to be able to effectively make that decision. Trying to be everything to everyone is always a recipe for disaster, and the best churches at social media always focus on what they can be best at.
If you’ve made it this far, leave a comment below. What social media channels does your church use, and why?