Getting started on Social Media for Church Planters

Whether you are a business or a Church, being on social media has become a necessity. But for someone with limited knowledge of what works and doesn’t work, it can be overwhelming because, let’s be honest, as a Church Planter, you have a ton of other things you need to be working on.

That is why, in this blog post, I am going to cover some basics that I have found helpful to get off the sidelines and get into the game, because, if used right, your social media presence can be the NEW front door of your Church.

Think of it this way, we have a wonderful story to tell. You tell the story:

  • of life change – How Christ changed your life and the lives of others. These are powerful stories to share and the great news is you can blog about them, podcast about them or even video them.
  • of your church – Why did you start the Church in that particular town? What is the purpose of Church? These are great stories to share so that people can understand exactly why you are planting your church in their neighborhood.

social media What Social Media Networks should you be on?

I believe you should be on 3 primary channels. 1st, Facebook. It is the largest and then Instagram followed by Twitter.

The key is to find out what most of your Church members are on and are using and then start with those. I’m willing to bet most on Facebook, then Instagram and finally any combination of Twitter and YouTube (yes, YouTube is a social network – just ask the younger generations).

Tools

There are plenty of Social Media Dashboards out there that you can use but Hootsuite is FREE and it allows you to schedule out posts (30 at a time). Here you can manage your primary social media accounts all in this one central location. There is a mobile version and a desktop version of this. There are also other dashboards out there as well. Here is a list of them.

There are also some great image creation apps that are great tools to have. My personal favorites are Canva, Word Swag and Adobe Spark Post. You don’t have to be a Photoshop expert anymore to make quality images for FREE. All you have to do is download one or more of these apps and start playing around and see how creative you can be at communicating your story.

Organic and Paid Reach 

Organic reach is the reach you have when you post something on your page or account. When social media channels like Facebook and Twitter first came out it was all organic reach and anything you posted could be discovered by anyone, especially on Twitter and Instagram when you use hashtags.

However, these days, organic reach is essentially gone on Facebook. In fact, in a recently released stat, it says that only 10% of the people who “like” your page will actually see it on their newsfeed. So, while organic reach on Facebook is relatively low, there is still great possibilities of organic reach on Twitter and Instagram. However, paid reach with Facebook is a very effective tool to reach the masses. A simple $5 can help reach a thousand or more people. That is great reach and the more money you can put to it, the greater targeted reach you can have on Facebook.

To learn how create very strategic and targeted ads, click here.

Pages and Groups

Every Church should have a Facebook page. Your page used the be the main area where people would come on social media. Actually, it is still a main point of contact with people so make sure all your information is set up correctly (i.e. address, phone number, website, etc). While Facebook Pages are still a primary place people come to find out information and get some encouragement, they are not as effective as they used to be in reaching the masses…unless you pay for ads. Again, with Facebook making it more difficult with organic reach possibilities, you need to try to find other ways to get engagement with people. That is where Facebook Groups come into play.

Facebook Groups have become very effective ways to engage and interact with people. And the cool thing is that you can use Facebook Groups in a lot of different ways. I have seen people use Groups for the Children’s ministry (share content to parents), Life Groups, and Ministry Volunteers. The key with Facebook Groups is providing consistent interaction with others in your group. The more you interact with everyone, the better the engagement will be.

To discover more of the difference between Facebook Pages and Groups, click here.

Who to recruit to help you with social media?

As mentioned above, Church Planters are very busy. Even though you could do your social media in about 1 hour a day,  what would be more effective would be to find someone to help you. After all, it is a great way to get more people involved in your Church plant.

So who do you look for? The person you want helping is someone who is active on social media, overall friendly, who gets the vision of your Church and offers hope. There is so many negative people out there you need to have someone you trust who will share encouragement and hope – just like Christ would.

Just make sure you check their social media accounts and make sure what they say on their personal posts lines up with what you all believe as a Church before you officially ask them to help you with the social media.

Consistency Matters

When it comes to social media posting, consistency matters. Whether you post once a day or multiple days, just keep it consistent. That means post at least once a day. You don’t have to post every hour on the hour or 4-5 times a day. Start small and post once a day on Facebook and really get comfortable posting consistently on Facebook before you even get on other social media networks. Once you are consistent and comfortable on Facebook, start posting on another channel and develop a consistent posting schedule there as well.

In addition to consistency, make your posting valuable. Don’t just post information about what your Church is doing. Include inspiration and engagement opportunities. These could be Bible verses, questions, polls, encouraging quotes or sermon points, stories, videos. You want people coming back to our social media accounts as much as possible. If all you post is information about what’s next then they are not as likely to come back to your accounts. But, if they get encouragement and inspiration from them, they will definitely come back more often and stay engaged.

Conclusion

Starting a new Church takes a lot of work. The great news is that social media can help you increase your reach and get the word about your Church plant in a major way. Prayerfully consider how you might get started for your particular plant and start playing around and experimenting with pages, groups and ads. The more you engage with social media, the more likely people in the community will be able to know more about your Church plant and want to try it out when you officially launch.

If you want help on how to be on top of your game with social media and other digital basics, go to the Digital Bootcamp Facebook Group as there are trained Church Communicators on each week providing FREE training in all things digital to help ministers expand their reach.

What do you think? How have you gotten started with social media for your Church plant? Share your thoughts below or social media using #ymsidekick when you post. 

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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 YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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