Prevailing churches are investing time, energy and finances into leveraging social media to drive engagement and weekend attendance. Gone are the days when a Facebook page or Instagram profile was a “nice to have” for ministries. Using these channels are now as important as having a sign on the front of your building or even where your building is located in town. Church leaders are required to closely study what others are doing and apply those lessons to their ministries.
Two Types of Social Media Posts by Churches
As you evaluate other churches’ social media content, you can observe that there are, in fact, two broad categories that help in understanding what they are doing to gain traction. (This actually applies to all social media content, not just churches’!) All great social media can be understood as one of these two types of content as the organization attempts to attract people to share the content with others.
- Remarkable – Remember when Oreo encouraged you to “dunk the dark” during the Super Bowl or all those great carpool karaoke videos or basically anything by the Bad Lip Reading guys? Such content is designed to create an interest in you to talk about it. It’s remark worthy…remarkable. Such type of content is hard to predictably produce, but when it’s done well, it has the opportunity to spread far and wide.
- Helpful – Content that is designed to help you solve problems is another form of social media, which spreads far and wide. On social networks, the most helpful people win in the end. Examples of this content are those “top down” cooking videos or helpful blog posts or in fact anything that attempts to break down problems into bite-size solution chunks. While remarkable content is amazing when it goes “viral,” helpful content is scalable and can provide a predictable way to build influence online.
As you evaluate the following leading churches’ social media accounts, notice these two different types of content that they produce. Think about how you could follow their lead and produce similar content for your church.
Leading Churches on Social Media
Real Life – Clermont, Florida
Check out this church’s Facebook feed. Too many churches fall into the habit of simply using Facebook as a place to notify “Church is happening this Sunday,” but Real Life gives us a great sense of what’s happening in the life of their church through their feed. Also…their Instagram stories should be emulated by your church!
The Meeting House – Toronto, Canada
I love their YouTube series “Bruxy’s Big Bag of Questions”! This is a perfect illustration of providing helpful content that spreads over time. When I viewed this, they had close to 100 videos on a wide variety of topics.
Road to Life Church – Northwest Indiana
This church has exploded out of the gates since it launched five years ago. Last fall, I was in a conversation with Pastor Dave from Road to Life where he described the phenomenal growth his church had witnessed and credited Facebook as core to their strategy. Follow along and learn from a church converting social browsers into committed followers of Jesus!
Forefront Church – Virginia Beach, Virginia
If you are looking for a church with a great consistent brand and story, check out their Facebook page. Scroll back through what they’ve produced for a few months and you’ll see lots of great examples of them using Facebook to engage their community.
Zoe Church – Los Angeles, California
Churches that are able to capture the essence of the community they are in, and display it online, win with people. Zoe’s social media presence feels very L.A. to me; check out their Facebook page to get a sense of what I’m talking about. Churches are local and it’s great to see an example of a church stirring away from “stock images” to look more local!
Christian Fellowship Church – Belfast, Ireland
People! It’s all about people! Check out this church’s Instagram feed for a fantastic example of how to leverage these channels so as to connect with the people of your church! Social networks are about connecting with other people and this is a great pattern to follow for “humanizing” your feed.
Rock Hills Church – Manhattan, Kansas
Helping people know “what to expect” when they arrive at your church is a great way to be “helpful” on social media. Check out the photos on this church’s Facebook page and you’ll see all kinds of shots of what a church is like. Love it. Doesn’t need to be super fancy to be effective or helpful!
West Ridge Church – Dallas, Georgia
If you are ever looking for an all-around excellence in social media communication, look no further than this church. There’s so much to love on their Facebook page that it’s hard to talk about it all! Love their imagery and future series content…their Christmas series from last year with “two Santas” is a particularly funny thing you could think about replicating!
Riverlife Baptist Church – Brisbane, Australia
So many of us are guilty of just having “quote squares” on our Instagram feeds because it’s straightforward to do so. I love what Riverlife is up to on its Instagram feed and it’s a perfect example of following the norms of the social network. Beautiful images that tell stories with lots of #hashtags!
Hope City Church – Sarasota, Florida
This is a church plant that is just celebrating its one-year anniversary! It’s worth checking out what this brand new startup church is doing on its Facebook page because they are doing so many things right for their phase to connect with their community. (Note: If you’re an established church and your Facebook account isn’t as robust as Hope City Church’s: you are slipping behind.)
Help Leveraging Social Media to Grow Your Church
Are you ready to see your church impact more people than it has ever before? Are you tired of church leadership books that are long on theory but short on practical help? Have you wanted to reach more people in your community but weren’t sure where to start? Are you worried that your church isn’t reaching its full potential? “Church Growth Flywheel : 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church” is full of practical insights to help your church reach more people, starting today!
At the core of this book is a discussion about leveraging social media to help your church grow. I attempt to demystify this whole area and provide helpful next steps for all churches, regardless if you’re social media newbies or one of the churches listed above! I drew from my experiences, leading within one of the fastest growing churches in the country as well as from over 200 interviews I’ve conducted with churches that are making a difference. In the discussion on social media we talk about:
- An overview of the development of social media and how it has become extremely important to our communities.
- A discussion about the importance of engagement as we launch our social media initiatives as churches.
- Remarkable vs. helpful: understanding the difference and developing a target for what you do online.
- We talk about practical “first steps” that your church should take into social media with practical next steps.
- Lastly, we get personal and I challenge you to think about how you’re using social media to build your network. (I really do believe that it will help you understand better how to leverage these channels for your church.)
The book launches in February 2018. However, you can read Chapter 1 right away by visiting ChurchGrowthFlywheel.com and joining the interest list. You’ll get front of the line access to the launch and a few other freebies along the way.
This article originally appeared here.