TC: David, can you say a bit more about who you are and about your experience? We met on IG and right there I could find your website with a lot of articles in the area of social media. Can you say a bit more about what you do and what your experience is?
DC: I’m currently working at an advertising agency as a copywriter. I do a lot of writing, whether that’s for an ad campaign or for social media, which is a big part of my responsibility at the moment. I get to do social media for our agency and also get to be a part of putting together content and social strategies for some of our clients. I also spent 11 years in church world got to work pretty extensively with social media during that time. I also did a lot of work in live production, so I’m not a stranger to the church tech world!
TC: When you worked with your church on social media, what were the most effective strategies that you used to connect with unchurched people?
DC: Connecting to unchurched people isn’t an easy thing to do. And certainly, it’s a bigger picture kind of a question because it really comes down to asking, what does your leadership really value? Does the leadership of your church value reaching unchurched people? If that’s the case, your content can line up very easily to meeting those values. But if there isn’t as much of a push towards that and you’re a church more focused on internal activity, then it will be more challenging for you to connect with those outside of your walls. You can certainly like and follow accounts that you feel you might want to get connected to your church. Because I think a lot of it is about awareness. You can also run campaigns or contests and have giveaways. These kinds of things get your people who are already following you to share your content, which often gets other people outside of your circles to like your pages or posts. Definitely, involve your people in creative ways and get them to do some of that for you.
TC: The things you mentioned are related both to Instagram, which has been playing a big role in the last couple years. When you look at Facebook and Instagram, which of these do you think is more effective and why?
DC: I don’t really think picking between Facebook and Instagram is an option! You really need to be both places. They are so different. I don’t know if I could say one is better, especially when it comes to churches. When you look at the way our culture is today, I just see them both as essential.
TC: Now, when you look at how they both work, it is easier to connect with others on Instagram compared to a Facebook page? You can react on Facebook, but you can’t initiate much other than posting your content. With your Instagram account, you can use it to easily interact to get more exposure.
DC: Still there is a huge advantage to Facebook that Instagram doesn’t have. With Facebook, people can share your posts, while with Instagram you need a third-party app to do so. So on Facebook, whatever you post is easily shareable to someone’s personal page. And when they share it to their page, people who are not connected to your church’s page are going to see it. That’s why I still think that Facebook is just as valuable, because your audience is going to share your content, and it will reach more people that you couldn’t otherwise.
TC: That is so right. We have seen other users sharing our content on Instagram and we hadn’t even had clue that was happening.
DC: And unfortunately, it’s so much more difficult to do that with Instagram, because it isn’t native in the app. You have to install a third-party app in order to do so. And there are people who don’t know how to do that, or don’t want to mess with it! Quite frankly, even though I know how to do it, I still find it cumbersome—so the content has to be really great in order for me to open up that other app and actually re-share the content… Whereas with Facebook, it’s literally just a click. And right away, you know that some shared your content and you can even track how far that goes.
TC: What are some most effective way churches can make the greatest impact on social media and get as much exposure as possible?
DC: I’ll give you my top three in no particular order. First off, photos of your people. It shows the human side of what you do. And if they are quality photos, it’s really the best thing to put out there so that people who are looking at your church can see what it looks like to attend there. Another really big one is sharing quotes or scripture. I think it’s best if they are relevant to what’s going on in your church at the moment because it’s great to have that tie-in, but it doesn’t have to. You can look to what’s going on with current events or holidays. Anything that has to what is happening in your church or what is going on in your area. And it’s best to share them graphically. It’s not a bad thing for them to just be plain text, but it is always better to put it on a graphic. The third thing that makes the greatest impact on social media is video. There’s a lot of conversation right now about how video is some of the most engaging content currently. Facebook Live is huge, Instagram Stories are huge. And these are things that are there and they are easy and free to use! You can also post a video clip of one of your teaching pastors from Sunday or share your video announcements. Think of creative ways to use video on social media. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel, either. It’s perfectly acceptable to repurpose content you’ve been using. Think about what you are already putting your energy into when it comes to video and how you could repurpose it each week on social media.
4 Social Media Strategies For Churches
- If your church doesn’t put much value into reaching out to new people, your social media channels won’t help you grow your congregation either.
- Different platforms help you reach different people.
- Understand the unique features of each social media platform and use them well.
- Create quality content and consider repurposing content you already have.