The Church and Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that your church can use to reach people inside and outside of your church family. No matter which platform(s) you use it can be an incredibly useful for touching lives and promoting your ministry.

For most churches that I talk to, it’s not a lack of desire that keeps them from regularly posting on their social pages, but a lack of content and time. We are going to talk about why you should be on social media, what you should post, when you should post, and how to build a volunteer social media team to help you post. All these suggestions are based off my years of a church communications director and how I made social media work and be successful.

Why should my church be on social media?

Churches serve others and social media is where people are. In 2020, over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. Be present on social media and have a plan. Social media is where people are asking questions and looking for answers. See what questions are being asked and answer them. Be the answer. Social media is an awesome place to educate and disciple people. Social media can help you build a community. It’s a place to make announcements and drive people to your website for more information. Always provide a call to action. Let people know how to contact you. “How do we reach millennials?” I hear this question all the time. Millennials aren’t looking for who you are they want to know what you do and how you make a difference. They are big on relationships, character and authenticity. If you aren’t sharing on social media what you do in your community you are missing a huge generation here. Let them know how and what you do to make a difference in your community don't just push service times and event postings.

What do I post? Here are some suggestions for posts but there are many more not mentioned here. If you have a favorite thing to post for your church not listed mention it in the comments! Check out the sample posts at the end for some awesome visuals!

Go Live. Do a live video to highlight an upcoming event, special guest speaker, big church announcement and be sure to post a live feed of your weekly service. Post an hour before every Sunday live stream and remind people to come back. Use a countdown video.

Share a testimony. Highlighting testimonies from your church members are a great way to share the Gospel and give that authentic touch to your post feed.

Quote your pastor. Pull quotes from the Sunday sermon and make a graphic to go with each one.

Use the Bible. Share Bible verses or do some Bible trivia questions.

Go behind the scenes. Give a behind-the-scenes look at a rehearsal for an upcoming events or share a staff members birthday or anniversary. Do a meet the staff post weekly and introduce or re-introduce your staff.

Ask a question. Engage your followers with questions. You can try something fun (like what they’re doing this weekend) and deeper prompts (like how can we pray for you).

Create a poll. Ask a poll question relating to your current sermon series or an upcoming event.

Share your past. Do #flashbackfriday or #throwbackthursday featuring a photo from the church archive.

Spotlight a volunteer. Every church has amazing volunteers. Take a photo of those special people at work and give them a shoutout on social. Ask them for a quote on why they serve.

Recap an event. Grab photos or video clips from a service or event and feature them.

Promote an upcoming event. There is always something on the calendar. Create a shareable graphic for your next big event. Have a weekly email newsletter? Share a link to it on social media.

Invite people to church. Don’t forget to simply invite people to join your services. Do count down videos to worship each week.

Talk about what you’re learning. What Bible studies or Life Group lessons are your learning? Share some weekly highlights in a post.

Share your playlist. Create a free Spotify playlist each week and share it in a post so people know what you’ll be singing this week, and they will be ready on Sunday to sing along. Create a top 10 playlist for people to play in their car.

Community events.

If you are doing something special in your community share it. Take pictures, get quotes from those involved. Whether it’s volunteering with kids, seniors, the local food pantry, share it. If you collect food for the local pantry take a picture of the collected food and share it with the community. Let them know how they can get involved.

When do I post? This can be almost as important as what you post. When you open you social feeds your see what the platforms decides are relevant posts for you and the posts that are preforming the best across everyone's feeds. An average social post is good for 24-72 hours before it's lost in the feed. So what does this mean? So if the social media algorithm identifies a post from your church that is is getting more engagement, your post will be given priority in people’s feeds and your reach will increase. This is why it's important to not just promote your ministry but do ministry on social media. How your posts do in the first hour of posting greatly determines it's ranking in the algorithm. So timing of posts is important. Always review your platforms analytics and know when your followers are online. That is the time to post so you get the most engagement in the first hour and are continued to be seen in feed for the next 24-72 hours. Also review your post analytics weekly and see what types of posts are getting the most interaction. This helps you know how your audience connects with you. I would recommend churches post at least 1x a day using the 80/20 plan. 80% engagement and 20% promotion. That's right you should be spending more time engaging your audience using the suggestions above and less time pushing events. Trust me, it works.

I'm a small church how do I find the time?

I understand your time is already stretched and you can't afford to pay a social media specialist. So here is something I have done in the past and it has been very successful. Build a social media volunteer ministry. Here's what worked for me.

First, I put out a call in our church bulletin and an Sunday Morning announcement slide that said, "Social Media Volunteers needed for our new social media ministry. Must be age 16 and up. (with a little direction this is an awesome opportunity for teens in your church who probably know more about social media than you do!) Must have an interest in social media, (you could mention your specific platforms used here) and be willing to attend quarterly meetings, and able to attend various church and community events to take pictures, gather testimonials, quotes and write follow-up quotes. All you need is a cell phone, email and a willingness to learn how to reach our community for Christ on social media."

Second, decide who on staff will oversee of the ministry. My suggestion is to have one responsible adult volunteer who is the head of the ministry who you trust to schedule appropriate social media posts to your pages and assign tasks to the other volunteers in the ministry. This person would report to the staff who oversees the ministry as needed. Remember, once you post something on social media you cannot take it back. Please be sure you have rules in guidelines in place for the head adult volunteer when it comes to posting.

Lastly, come up with a system of how you will communicate with your volunteer group and assign tasks that you need completed with deadlines to each individual. The best way to do this for free is to use a Trello board. You can assign events to volunteers to attend to gather pictures, videos, testimonies, etc., you can assign another volunteer to supply quotes, Bible verses, Bible trivia questions etc. for posts, assign someone else to find and interview church volunteers and staff, you get the picture. Know the strengths of your volunteers and use them. Delegate. Then have your volunteers put all the information into the Trello board and have your head volunteer make the posts using a posting calendar following your analytics. I highly suggest only one person be given access to post on your social media platforms to ensure consistency in your brand and to avoid and mistakes.

And the easiest way to produce the best graphics for social media is using Canva. They have a free account for non-profits you can sign up for.

Social media is not just a trend, it is here to stay so embrace it. Start with one platform and do it well before you add on additional platforms.

Last tip, and probably the most important.

You do not own your social media followers.

You are at the mercy of social media platforms as to who sees your posts. So while social media is important it is also important to build a email list of your own. So always give people a call of action to visit your website at the end of your post. Then make sure there is an area on your homepage for people to sign up for a mailing list. Send out newsletters weekly or monthly and keep in front of them!

At Designed by Kelly we love Social Media! If you need help with social media management services, or you would like more information on how to set up a volunteer ministry, use trello or canva please contact us today! We would love to share our knowledge with you and even offer classes in these areas for your team!

Below are samples of real social media posts made by churches. Take a few minutes to see how they are using social media to engage their community.

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