Many churches have an increasingly ageing congregation. And we’re keen to attract younger people and families. Using social media is a great way to improve awareness of your church community.

But how do you make sure that you use the right social media for your mission? Here are 5 easy tips to make social media work for you (and not the other way round):

1. Plan your purpose, and stick to it.

First things first, decide your purposes for using social media. Examples are:

  • Attracting visitors to the church
  • Advertising church activities to your local area
  • Disseminating church news to your congregation
  • Forging closer links with your local community
  • Inspiring people with testimony of God’s work
  • Engaging in discussion about the relevance of Jesus in the 21 st Century

2. Determine your audience.

Next, who do you want to speak to? Depending on the demographic of your area, your church mission and your purposes above you will probably have a mix of target audiences. They might include:

  • Your congregation
  • Young professionals moving into the area
  • Mums and dads with young families
  • Teenagers
  • Refugees
  • University students
  • People who are retired
  • Engaged couples looking for a wedding venue
  • Local groups looking to hire a hall

3. Decide (or make a best guess) at what social media they might use.

Where do these groups of people hang out on social media? If you’re not sure, the simplest thing to do is ask. A simple tick-box survey in the pews will tell you what social media the congregation use. If you’re looking to talk to, say, teenagers ask your youth group what social media they use. If you don’t have many teens in church then why not speak to members of the congregation or friends who have children of the right age?

4. Prioritise your resources.

If, after working through steps 1-3 above, your potential social media activity looks overwhelming it’s time to take a step back. Social media works best when you post regularly. And, unless you’re a mega-church, chances are that the person managing your social media accounts will be adding this on top of an already busy life at church and at home.

So it’s a good idea to prioritise where you are going to spend your time and energy. Is there an audience you’re not reaching with your existing communications? Do you have existing social media accounts you could simply use more? Which social media can you commit to updating regularly?

Stick to those for now, and…

5. Monitor how it goes.

Social media changes fast. Just when you you’ve got the hang of talking to young people on one social media channel, another shiny new app comes along and they move there! So it’s well worth keeping an eye on how well you’re engaging with the audiences you’ve prioritised. You can do this, for example, through measuring Page Likes and Post reach on Facebook and Retweets and Followers on Twitter.

Is your church social media savvy? If you would like some extra help deciding how to use social media, or keeping your social media up-to- date, get in touch.