One of my favorite websites is Snopes. The purpose of Snopes is to help debunk the myths of the internet. You know, it’s stuff like that Facebook post you read about how “Kraft cheese will not melt, even when exposed to direct flame.” (Okay, I never read that on Facebook, but I thought it was funny.)
The internet is full of myths. Of course, there are a lot of myths about the Internet as well, especially social media. Some of these myths are driven by fear and are based on little to no facts. Other myths can be used as excuses to avoid engaging in social media.
I believe that there are four myths about social media that I believe are stopping your church from growing online. These myths aren’t just lies, these myths are constantly used to prevent churches from realizing their full potential online. Don’t fall for these myths. Take a moment and see which one of these myths are impacting your church.
1. It’s Just Another Communication Channel
Have you ever had another church staff member look at you and say “Can we put ______ (insert program or announcement) on social media?”? In most church staff’s mind that makes logical sense. You see for most church staff, social media is another communication channel like your bulletin or announcement video.
Of course, in a technical sense they’re right. Social media is another communication channel. However, it’s one that is vastly different from your other channels. First, it’s an interactive channel that allows people to respond in real-time. Second, it’s a channel that can have multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and each require content to be treated differently.
Part of your job is to educate the members of staff on how social media is different. One way to do this is to walk your staffs through a sample promotional and break down. Show your staff how content is created, shared and measured. Then compare with other channels to show them how social media is not just another communication channel.
2. You Need a Strategy to Get Started
Let me be clear, you need a strategy when it comes to your church’s social media. However, don’t let the lack of a strategy be an excuse for not joining social media.
Instead of waiting to create a strategy, start by taking small measurable steps. This could be creating a Facebook page or starting an Instagram account. Don’t worry that you will get something wrong or you will make a mistake. Just start posting and getting a feel for how social media works.
Again strategies are important, but if you’re waiting to create your strategy before you join social media you could be wasting time learning and understanding how social media works.
3. You Need the Latest Tools
Recently, I published The Ultimate List of Twitter Resources for Your Church, a lot of the tools on the list are great for searching, sharing and managing your church’s Twitter account. However, here’s the thing about those tools, you don’t need them.
Yes, those tools are nice to have and can add some functionality to your Twitter account, but you don’t need them to do Twitter and do it well. This goes for any tool on any social media account.
The problem with getting caught up with the latest tool is that we often forget that it’s more about connecting with people then it is having the latest tools. Tools themselves won’t provide you or your congregation better content. Instead they can distract you from putting in the hard work needed to do social media well.
4. You Have to Be on It 24/7
One of the best complaints from pastors is that social media takes too much time. In some respects, they’re right, social media is time-consuming.
However, social media may take a lot of work but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. The keys to making best use of your time with social media is to first choose just one or a few selected networks to engage in. Once you’ve determined which networks are for you, then slowly begin to engage.
Second, you’ll need to understand that you can’t read and respond to everything on social media. Instead, you’ll need to determine when you want to engage and when want to focus elsewhere.
What myths do think churches believe about social media? Click here to share below.