I think we can agree that social media has helped a lot of churches when it comes to growing their online presence. Even in the secular market, social media platforms have helped startup companies go from very small to very big, all in a matter of seconds. For the most part, this is a good thing; however, there is a downside to all of this.
Social media could actually be hurting your church, and you might not know it.
Let’s take a closer look.
You’re Moving Too Fast
I’m prone to move quickly on things. Sometimes I move a little to fast. Churches who move to fast on social media can end up producing “low-value” content that actually does a disservice to their audience. You have weigh every piece of content and assess its value.
This is one way that churches can quickly lose their audience. Thus could be why your audience growth is slowing down. Maybe it’s not them. Maybe you need to slow down.
If you keep it up, you could damage your own reputation. If you create too much low value content, you begin to crowd your social media channels. In your mind, the channels are full of content. In reality, the your channels are vacant of any real value. Do you see the difference?
You Don’t Ask for Anything
You have to provide clear calls to action. You can’t just go onto a social media platform and expect your audience to figure out what you want from them. You need to tie the two together.
Your calls to action don’t necessarily have to be related to events or money. They can be spiritual challenges (read the Bible in 90 days) or social media related (share this content). Regardless of the call to action, at some point your audience will want you to give them direction.
You’re Measuring the Wrong Things
There are lots of tools you can use to manage your company on social media. The only difference is, not all of them are guaranteed to help you understand what’s working. While a tool may tell you how many “likes” a post is getting, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your social media is serving your church well.
You need to figure out what real engagement looks like. We determine engagement by building funnels in Google analytics and seeing how many people actually complete our calls to action. While I don’t build funnels for everything, I do build them for small group registrations and online donations.
These funnels, can tell me when social media calls to action are really working despite the number of likes or shares. While it’s nice to have a huge reach on Facebook, if people aren’t completing the calls to action, then the social media content is not working.
You’ve Outsourced Your Social Media
If you’re going to have your social media scale, you’re going to need volunteers. Keep in mind, that while a volunteer might be good with social media, but this might not be good for your church’s social media. Just because someone is good with social media, does not mean they’re good with understanding how your’s church brand needs to represented on social media. Learn to identify the difference.
If you can’t find a volunteer who understands both, you might need to do it yourself until that right person comes along. It might mean more work for you, but it will be worth it in order to protect your church’s social media presence.
Your Church is Not Seen as Likeable
I don’t mention this to be cute. Not all social platforms or content need you to be clever. In fact, if you try too hard you can come as flippant.
However, you need to make sure your church’s content is not “all business”. Your church members respond to content that’s down-to-earth. Your church members like it when you are approachable and transparent with them. While doing this, you do still need to get your message out. If you have something beneficial to say, don’t try link-baiting, you can shoot straight with your audience. However, you need to keep a balance between the two.
Don’t forget when your church is being transparent, that you also need to keep your personal beliefs separate from your church’s social media. Once a church has built a following, a minister sometimes feels that they can spout off about anything. This is a good way to have your church members turn away from you on social media.
I’m a big proponent of church’s getting online and engaging their audience. However, I think the pitfalls of social media can do real damage to church’s online reputation that can take some time to repair.
We’re living in a microwave culture. We all want it fast and we want it now. However, the best way to serve your church and your online audience is by slowing down, measuring the right things and delivering high value to your audience.