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Churches: Stop contemplating social media and just dive in.

Over the past year, I’ve worked with a variety of churches to help get their social media effort off the ground or help to fine-tune it.  Some have embraced it quickly, while others have stepped back to take a more measured approach.  My advice is to simply dive in, because it’s happening whether you’re there or not.

Before we go any further, read this short post from about Chris.  Guess what?  Your church probably doesn’t have just one “Chris” — you’ve probably got dozens of them!  When I started intentionally focusing on social media at Mt. Bethel a few years ago I found that that there were already more than 30 Mt. Bethel-related groups on Facebook (here are some of them), and an “official” group didn’t even exist yet!

I find that churches are choosing to take wildly different approaches to social media. Over the past six months, three churches that I’ve worked with come to mind.  All three are fairly large churches, with 500+ in attendance each Sunday.

  • Church #1 is scared of social media. Thoughts of lawsuits are running through their mind, and they’re afraid to do much of anything.  They’ve finally created a Twitter account and a Facebook Page, but both are mostly empty and quite useless.
  • Church #2 is trying too hard to be perfect. I helped them get things set up a few months back, but they’ve yet to do much of anything.  They’re still very excited by the possibilities, but their Twitter account has just a single Tweet (“Welcome!”) and their Facebook page has less than a dozen fans.
  • Church #3 is rolling. They didn’t have their full plan worked out, but they started posting events on Facebook, tweeting snippets from the sermons, and simply went from there.

In all three cases, “Chris” is already out there talking about the church, and the only difference is whether the church is able to respond.  Using the examples above, only church #3 is listening (and responding) to what is going on.

When people talk about your church online, are you able to:

  • Answer their questions?
    • @yourchurch What time is dinner on Wednesday?
  • Respond to criticism?
    • It took me 20 minutes to find a place to park at Your Church
  • Encourage their happiness?
    • Awesome worship at @yourchurch this morning!

The only way to handle any of those questions is if you’re out there with them.

That being said, don’t be foolish.  Especially at the beginning, just keep things light and informative.  Talk about events, sermon notes, that kind of thing.  As things evolve, work on developing policies for which employees can post, content ideas, etc.

Also, when creating your church presence on Facebook be sure to create a “Page” and not another “Profile”.  See this post for why that is important.

The conversation is happening whether you’re there or not, but you’ll look a lot better (and reach a lot more people) if you join in.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

View Mickey's Profile

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