Orange ’14: “Say Yes to Improving your Social Media Skills”

images-15Jon Acuff led this session on “Say Yes to Improving your Social Media Skills”


How do we engage with social media? How do we use the good of social media?

First, you have to have empathy…understanding what people needs and act on it.
this is a part of ministry…a way of service

Second, you need generosity…give more than what is expected.
people always remember your generosity and they never forget your greed. Generous with time, with content

Third, you have to be stubborn to be good at social media. You have to figure out what works for you and your church.
Principles of Social Media:

First, figure out where to plant a flag. People say go everywhere. Establish your presence there. (shows you where your name is on all the platforms).

Second, Once you’ve gone everywhere, figure out where you want to focus.Ask your audience where you need to be

Third, get out of the way. It’s about starting the conversation, not owning it.

Fourth, add it to your community. Pintrest is good like this. 1 out of 3 women are on Pintrest.

Fifth, don’t overcommit. It seems like we need to be everywhere but then can’t follow through. Don’t do too much right out of the gate…ease into it.

Sixth, don’t kill the audience with promotion, after promo after promo. Use other content as well.

Seventh, don’t treat social media like Vegas. What happens on social media, doesn’t stay on social media. We might be the only Bible someone reads. We reflect Jesus always, even on social media. Be smart. We are all missionaries.

Eighth, we should all graduate content. When you have an idea, interview the other platforms and see if it fits there too. Take a quote and tweet it. Then put a picture to it and put it on Instagram.

Ninth, be honest. Are you serving your audience or you with our post/tweet?

Tenth, be nice. There are already enough Christian jerks out there. Be nice. See the clouds for ideas and conversations instead of chumming the waters for sharks. You can try to stir up controversy and get your stats up, but you can get lost in that. We are called to be nice.

Now some info about specific social media platforms:


  • never come up with categories before you blog
  • best thing to figure out what you want to write about until you write…just write
  • Have fun, experiment
  • Go slow. Overcommitting kills blogs
  • You don’t control how people read your blog, you control how you write it
  • Use images in posts…they want a short idea
  • end posts with questions…but don’t do it unless it ruins the flow…know when to end with it and when not to
  • don’t get caught up in the controversy of the day for the sake of traffic…some topics are too big for a blog or tweet
  • don’t be afraid to reuse old content…you can use it again
  • treat it like a magazine…use a content calendar…you are serving a lot of different people, change up your content so it’s not just the same topics over and over again
  • Guest posting helps…volunteer to guest post too


  • Time your tweets…understand what time a week is it…sunday nights he tweets about hating your job…what is your audience going through during that day/time of the week
  • Mix it up…if you tweet all the same kind of stuff, it gets monotone. Have it reflect your life…it’s not all funny or serious, it’s both
  • Only tweet things you want to talk to your senior pastor about. Everyone sees everything. Assume your bosses will see it.
  • Write hooks, not linked base…don’t trick them
  • Complete your profile…make your photo look like you


  • Not everyone sees it. They limit who actually sees your content. You might have to post something more than once. Over-communicate
  • Create private groups to encourage conversation
  • Figure out how to do a poll. Ask them what they want.


  • always credit sources
  • do visual countdown…countdown to that event…1 a day
  • piclab is a good app
  • It’s a deadend…you can’t link out of it
  • it’s all or nothing….you follow them and see everything of them
  • It’s a window, not a mirror…it’s a window into your life, not a mirror to take all selfies of you all the time


  • you can have them link to other things
  • you can have lots of different boards for your churches
  • it’s about quantity…the number of images you post

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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