The following is a guest post by church social media guru, Andrew Spikes. He helps church planters through his ministry at churchmarketing.is, which focuses on full-service social media management and maximizing online ads.
When you use social media correctly, you can have a huge impact on your community. Many churches and companies have grown solely because of their thoughtful social media strategy and artful execution.
But doing that is challenging, isn’t it?
What is the “right thing” to do for churches, and how do you know you are doing that “right thing”, right? How many times have you had a light bulb moment, promised yourself that you would post consistently, started posting like crazy using a scheduling tool… only to find that your results weren’t what you expected?
4 Common Ways Churches Fail on Social Media
1. Poor Knowledge of Your Audience or the Platform
How well do you really know your community?
You have to learn about your community and, more importantly, the people in your community. Next, write out a detailed personal of the kind of person or family that God has put on your heart to reach. You have to put in some effort here if you want to really connect with them. Otherwise, you’ll end up posting content that will fall flat on the metrics because it’s tone deaf. It will fall flat because it won’t resonate.
Then, how well do you know the social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? How well do you know the algorithms and how to use them?
If you don’t understand how these channels work, then you’ll end up posting content that doesn’t engage and won’t get the impressions or reach that you would like. You must take time to learn their algorithms. Test out new things with a proactive approach to evolving and improving your content.
2. Unrealistic Goals
If you have 100 followers on Instagram today, you can’t pump out 10 pieces of content and expect to hit 1,000 followers within 7 days. That’s just not realistic.
Social media is a long-term, evergreen play. It’s not a short-term game. Ministry leaders often approach us about becoming a social media influencer because they see mega-church pastors with thousands of followers.
If you over-project your goals for social media, you will end up feeling defeated. You may even just give up. DON’T GIVE UP! Stay consistent, continue to evolve, and stay with it.
3. Generic Approach (just like everyone else)
Your church is unique. You have a special calling on your life. No two churches or ministry leaders are the same. So, why do we try to copy and paste graphics or posts from generic libraries or from other churches?
We do this because of time and skill set. You may not have either. That said, social media is currently the #1 marketing tool. This is nearly tied with your ministry’s website. This far surpasses the effectiveness of billboards, direct mail, or just about anything else.
I’m not saying that you can’t learn best practices and you can’t grab ideas from other churches. That’s actually a great thing to do. But don’t just sign up with a one-size-fits-all approach because it’s cheap and easy.
With something so important, you should either take the time to invest in customizing your social media content or hire a team.
4. Weak Social Media Structure and Processes
If you have a great strategy for social media and you’re excited to get started, you must have a solid structure and process for executing it with excellence.
If you are a lead church planter, you can certainly cast a vision for social media, but should you be the one burning the midnight oil on Photoshop? No!
Something as important as social media requires diligence, a clear focus on a system, and a documented outline of roles and responsibilities. Otherwise, it will fail. You will get burned out, and you may even give up on it. That’s not what we want.
Find specialists that are good at graphic design, content writing, and photography. Then lay out a step-by-step process for getting the content from ideation to live on your newsfeed.
Reach More. Stress Less.
Communities thrive when churches thrive, and most thriving churches today leverage social media well.
Take a moment and jot down your next action items to move forward with a successful social media strategy. Reach out to me (Andrew) if you would like more help on social media.