He rolled his eyes. That’s the reaction I got recently as I talked with a church leadership team. I simply asked the senior pastor, “Do you post on social media?”.
Social media, even with all of its issues, is the method most people communicate, connect, and get news and information. So why shouldn’t the church interject into that open discussion? We should.
And since personal interaction is the method that most social media algorithms push to people’s walls, a leader — you — should be using social media. Just make sure you’re using it correctly!
Here are 3 ways to guide you so you’ll extend your ministry across the social media world (and not just your local church):
- Build Your Personal Brand. Don’t view this as an evil mission that is separate to your church. Ultimately a personal brand is understanding what you do best and then staying in that lane so a group of people understand how you’re a trusted resource. How do you do that? Think about people you enjoy connecting with; consider their concerns, needs, or goals, and then think about how you can enter their lives with some guidance. Do it in an interesting, entertaining, or humorous way and you’ll build a brand that’s pursued. Hopefully, this lane is what you bring to your leadership at the local church too. Or at least some of the time.
- Lead Your Followers. If you stay in a lane (what I call a thread) long enough, and that thread interests a large enough group of people, they will find your accounts on the channels you use. And then those followers will anticipate the thoughtful guidance you bring! What you do naturally in your local church, you can do in the huge, edited world of social media. Why be a leader to your followers? Because the people who choose to follow you ultimately want you to. Grant their wish consistently in a rhythm they can expect. Motivate them but remember that most people view social media when they’re bored.Therefore, be active with your guidance so they’ll want to break from their boredom and pursue something.
- Promote What Interests THEM; not You. Church leaders think that those who follow them will be as interested in the events that support the work of their local church. Not true. Social media attracts people who are interested in a fairly narrow lane of a person or an area of an organization. Know that lane. Be known for something. Want to promote an event? Promote something that would interest them in that lane. If you broadly promote every ministry event you’ll bore them. Then they’ll stop listening for awhile as they scroll quickly by your posts. Soon, they’ll unfollow. Make sure you have far more content posts than promotional posts!
How can you tell if you’re effectively using social media? Thousands of people are joining social media daily. As that greater pool swells, your account should be steadily growing. If it’s not, if it’s shrinking, or if it’s extremely difficult to gain followers, you need to do something different. Discover your thread. Then create content that stays in that lane. Start now! Social media needs you.