The single BIGGEST mistake Churches are making on Social Media

I’ve done my fair share of exploration of church and ministry social media accounts over the years.  Many of it is to see what other, oftentimes well-known churches are sharing so that I can copy.  Let’s just be honest, I don’t always have great ideas.  I need a little help from time to time in figuring out what to share on my church’s social media accounts. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

However, in all the research I did I was very disappointed.  Why?  Because they all looked the same.  A verse here, a video of last week’s sermon there and an occasional update on an upcoming event.    And this is where I realized we are missing a great opportunity on social media.

social mediaWhat is that single biggest mistake? It’s the lack of engagement in their content!

Literally, 80% (and that is being generous) is all information.  It’s saying, “Hey, look what we are doing”.  There wasn’t much of anyone saying posting a picture and saying, “What do you think of this topic” or a Bible verse asking them, “How have you seen God reveal himself in this way”.  It is a lot of information.

Now, don’t get me wrong, sharing information on social media is important.  But, in my humble opinion, it should be the least important of all the things you can do on social media.

In fact, my strategy for social media is:

  1. to Inspire. I want to inspire others to follow Christ. So I will share a video clip of a worship song we sang on Sunday, a sermon clip, scripture image, blog devotionals, blogs from other magazines that encourages others…just to name a few things I share.  But, I also ask questions of them when I post these things.  I don’t want to conversation to end with me sharing information about these items.  I want to encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings as well.
  2. to Engage. Engagement for me is key.  I want to engage people in a way that gets them to take an action…click to find to more information, watch a video, answer a question. Because ultimately when you can engage people you can begin to have conversations that will hopefully lead to community (more on that below).
  3. to Inform. Naturally we all need to use social media to inform people of what is happening and some great opportunities. But as with “inspire”, do not just share the information, seek to engage them with what you share.

For me, information is at the bottom because information doesn’t engage a community, it just simply informs them.

As a Social Media Manager, I am looking for engagement.  Why? Because engagement helps establish a community.

And the more community I can develop, the better my chances are of helping people discover God.  And that, for me, is my main reason for doing social media.  I want it to be a tool to help people discover God.

Engagement helps foster community which then hopefully leads to people discovering God or growing in their faith.  Sharing information doesn’t do that in the same way.

What about you? What can you do today to get more engagement in your social media posts? And, what have you done to establish community on social media? Share your stories below or on social media using #ymsidekick so we can be encouraging each other in the new year!

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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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