About four weeks ago, our social media team conducted our annual review. This is where we looked at what social media worked, what didn’t, and what we need to improve on (you can read more about the process here). It’s one of my favorite things to do since it helps realign our social media content with our church’s mission.
Of course, we don’t just evaluate only one time a year. No, we’re always evaluating what we do and how we could do it better. One way we do this is by asking ourselves three questions about our social media. These three questions force us to make sure we’re following some social media basics and make adjustments accordingly. Here are the questions we ask:
1. Are You Telling Stories?
Storytelling is hard. I know, because one my previous jobs was vetting scripts. I became good enough that when I got to the third or fourth page I could tell if we had something worth filming. I always felt bad for someone whose script was rejected, because I knew the time commitment put into writing a script.
Why is storytelling hard? First, it requires you to think through the big picture. How is the content connected to your church and its overall vision? Does the content fit within the overall narrative of your church?
Second, storytelling requires you to edit. You have to determine what to cut and what to keep. Think of it like being a movie producer. A good producer will help cut the movie in such a way that tightens the story, but still keeps the director’s vision. If you’re going to tell a good story you have to be willing to edit your content down to the essentials, but still tell the story.
Finally, storytelling pushes you to move beyond just rehashing the Sunday bulletin. It’s easy to grab the Sunday bulletin and tweet out the announcements or send out an email asking ministries what you want to promote. Storytelling is different, it requires planning (i.e. a social media content calendar), emotionally connecting with your audience, and moving beyond just rehashing announcements.
2. Are You People-Centric?
I think one of the most overused terms in social media for churches is the term “we”. For example:
We’re glad to have you..
We would like you to…
Think about it for a moment, who is “we”? The use of the term “we” in the above statements makes sense when you see someone face to face (i.e. a church visitor), but when it’s a social media account using that term, it lacks the personal context. From the social media audience’s point of view that “we” can be anyone on your staff posting content. It can make your church seem faceless.
So how do you avoid this? Well, first you need to your staff to engage on social media. When your staff engages on social media, you have an army of people or “faces” to make your social media people-centric. Imagine one of your visitors has a question on social media, what it would look like to have your staff respond versus your church’s account? I would imagine that for the visitor a response from your staff would seem more personable than one from your church.
3. Are You Listening?
Most people expect some sort of response on social media. If I was to tweet at Southwest Airlines because my flight is late, I’m certain that I’ll receive a response from them. While Southwest may not solve my problem, I know I’ll get a response.
However, what’s really impressive is when someone is not only responding to tweets but anticipating my needs and listening to me. For example, If I had been tweeting about my upcoming flight on Southwest and they knew that my flight was going to be late, what if they tweeted at me to let me know my flight was late or offered to book me a hotel?
Obviously you can’t monitor your church members 24/7 on social media, but we do need to be aware of moments where we can encourage or pray for them. These moments come in the form of hospital visits, loss of loved ones, or just a simple “I’m praying for you” on Facebook.
Reviewing your social media is a something you need to be doing a consistent basis. Set aside some time each month to review your content and ask the questions above to make sure you church is headed in the direction.
What do you review on a consistent basis with your church’s social media? Click here to share below.