“I’m not an Instagram guy. That’s not me”. That is the excuse I would always say to people about my lack of interest in joining Instagram. However, in light of sooooo many political posts on Facebook the past many months, I decided that I needed to limit my time on Facebook and branch out to the other social networks out there and get more engaged. In particular, I wanted to give Instagram a real show because I wanted see pictures again of people and their families. And now, I can’t stop going to Instagram over and over and over again. I’m in social media love!
I must admit, I still don’t fully understand Instagram, but I’m learning a lot and trying. And through this new venture into Instagram I was reminded that ALL social networks are uniquely created. They are all different and while they seek to accomplish similar goals, they offer different things to different sets of people.
So, the question for this blog post is are you using each social network to YOUR advantage? Do you fully understand them and how you best use them for your ministry. So below is a list of the 4 most popular and trendy social networks out there. Each one is broken down as to the benefits of being on them and then some ideas are given of how you can use them for your ministry.
Facebook has many advantages. Not only does it have the most users of any social network, but it also has the most daily, active users. That makes it great for networking and connecting with other people. Facebook is also good for business and churches as well. Once you have your business/church page set up you can do a plethora of different ads. Whether you want to boost an existing post or target new movers or people to come to a specific event, Facebook has very targeted marketing opportunities that set it apart from all other social networks. Even though you have to pay, you can still reach many people with a very limited budget (as low as $1 a day). The paid reach you can have is amazing.
PS. If you don’t have a page set up yet, click here to learn how easy it is.
How can a Church use this?
- Set up a Page but you can also set up a Group where you can develop community.
- Inspire and engage people in your page or group with Bible verses and recaps of the sermons
- Do Bible studies using Facebook Live
- Target moms and relay content designed specifically for them.
- Relay information about what is happening at your Church.
I am a big fan of Twitter for a few very simple reasons. For starters, even though the subscriber base hasn’t grown much over the years, there are many, many people who still use it regularly to post stuff, including celebrities and the President of the United States (See my Twitter exchange with ’80s Pop Star Richard Marx). It has become a great platform to share personal stuff but also professional stuff. You can also use Periscope to live stream to all your followers.
The one thing I enjoy the most about Twitter is the huge possibility to connect and network with people through hashtags. The organic reach is unreal. Simply using hashtags strategically you can reach out and connect with people all over the world. It is so amazing to reach out to people especially since you don’t need to be “friends” with them to connect with them. That provides amazing opporutnities to for you to reach out to others about all your church or ministry has to offer.
How can a Church Use this?
- Use the organic reach possibility of the hashtags to reach more people and share info to them
- Use Periscope to live stream parts or all of your Church service to others (it can reach a whole new audience than Facebook). Learn how you can maximize Periscope here.
- You can interact with almost anyone in the world whether they follow you or not.
I’m late to the Instagram party…I realize this. It was that I never fully understood it. Sure, I would post images and pictures on our Church’s Instagram account, but I didn’t have my own personal account. And because I never had a personal account I don’t think I fully understood the greatness of Instagram. Now, I have an account and now I am simply in LOVE with Instagram. I love seeing everyones pictures. It really is like what Facebook used to be honestly. Less political statements and more love, fun and great pictures.
The great thing about Instagram is that “young people” and those elusive “millennials” are all over it! You have a much better chance to reach them on Instagram than on Facebook.
How can a Church use this?
- In the same way as Twitter you can use hashtags to inspire and engage people with Bible verses and recaps of the sermons
- When you post, tag people in the photos so it can get more exposure and to highlight them.
- Use Instagram Stories to show “behind the scenes” stuff happening at your Church either on Sundays or during the week.
- Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can created Instagram ads to highlight your Church now on Instagram.
Snapchat is a private social media network where, even though you can share snaps to “My Story” you often just send snaps to individual people. Oh, what are snaps? Snaps are pictures you take where you can add filters, text and emojis to your pictures. Although it lacks the number of people that Facebook has, Snapchat is extremely popular many tweens, teens and the elusive millennial group.
Because Snapchat is a privatized social media network where most of your posts will go to individuals it does provide you opportunities to tailor a promotion or ad to specific people which is good. The downside is that if you don’t want to do targeted messages to people, the only way to get the word out to all the people you know is to post on your “My Story”. Overall, Snapchat is the newest of these and very popular
How can a Church use this?
- Set up geofilters for special events at your church. Sure, you have to pay for them but if you use them right, many young people will use your geofilter to share about what is happening at your Church to all their friends. It’s great promotion.
- Use Snapchat to share images behind the scenes or are from services or special events to others. Post them to your Church’s “My Story” and you can get more exposure.
Above are four very popular yet unique social networks. Some of them you may be very familiar with but others maybe not. As ministers we need to get to know them and use them because many other people are using them as well. Because so many people are on them daily, it provides great opportunities for reaching people for Christ in this very digital world we live in. But, use them the way they are designed to be used. Don’t link accounts together. Be active in them and engage people on them. Can you post the same images on all the networks? Sure! But change up the wording and use hashtags appropriately in Instagram and Twitter. Use the filters on Snapchat. Make the stories you are sharing on the social networks unique to that particular network.
The more you understand and use them the way they were intended to be used, the better you can be at them and share the story of Christ to so many. And that is a major win for everyone.
What about you? How do you use these social networks for your ministry? Share below or on social media adding #ymsidekick to it.