Strategy is great and the starting point for anyone using social media, but at some point you need to have the right social media tools to get the job done. Now, not any tool will do. You need to find the tools to get the job done without killing your budget or wasting your time.
In last few years, I’ve used a lot of different tools. Some were decent; some were pretty creepy (Twitter autofollow tools, etc… ) and some were amazing. Of course you could google “social media tools”, but you can only imagine what results that will bring. So to help you avoid search overload, I want to introduce you to what’s in our toolbox that we use to keep our church’s social media flowing on a day to day basis.
Now some of these tools are web based, others are mobile apps, but they’re all essential to our daily workflows. I encourage you to check them and see what they can do for you and your ministry (Note: if you see something and you want some in depth knowledge on them you can contact our social media guru, Katie Allred, on Twitter).
- Hootsuite – For most churches I know, Hootsuite has become the de facto standard for managing multiple social media accounts. From the Hootsuite dashboard you can manage your Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn and Instagram comments. They also offer Hootsuite University, which gives you an in-depth look on how to extend the tool just beyond normal social media management.
My favorite feature is the ability to add and remove people from teams. The reason why this works well for us is that we can bring new volunteers on board and let them contribute to our social media from within Hootsuite. Since they’re doing all of this from inside Hootsuite, we don’t have to worry about giving them our social media passwords. So when a volunteer leaves, we just delete them from the team and we don’t have to worry about our security being compromised.
The other feature I like is that you can do location based searches (you can read a complete how-to over here). Essentially, you can tell Hootsuite your location and find all the tweets around you that mention a certain keyword. For example, let’s say I want find out who in a 5km radius has used the word “prayer” in a Tweet. I load our GPS coordinates in to Hootsuite and then I’m given a real time list of the tweets around me.
- IFTTT – I love having tasks automated. It gives me a feeling like I’m in the future living like the Jetsons. IFTTT (If This Then That) allows me to have the future.
IFTTT lets you connect to different services (Twitter, Facebook) and automates tasks between them. For example, you can automatically backup all of your Instagram photos to Dropbox or you can have any tweet with a link that you favorite added to your Instapaper account.
Right now, IFTTT is free and lets you connect as many services as you like. Sign up and begin automating your tasks today.
- Zapier – Zapier is a lot like IFTTT in the way that it operates, but it’s more robust with the services it connects to. Where IFTTT focuses on mostly consumer services like Facebook, Zapier connects to a lot of business services like Salesforce and Asana. With Zapier you get one free “zap”, which is essentially one automated task. After that you have to pay.
- Over – Over is one of the easiest ways to add text to your photos on your phone. It has a great selection of typography and some additional art that you can place on the photos as well. Over is what we use to create typography for our sermon quotes on Instagram.
- Hyperlapse – Hyperlapse is billed as a time lapse video creator for Instagram and, yes, you can use it for that. However, Hyperlapse has one really cool feature that you don’t have to use Instagram for in order to take advantage of it.
If you’re like me, you don’t have the steadiest hands when it comes to shooting video on your iPhone. If you take a look at most of my videos, it looks like there was an earthquake going on while I was filming. This where Hyperlapse can help you out.
Hyperlapse has a feature that helps you smooth out the video and takes out any shakiness you might have from your hands. By using “Cinema Stabilization”, Hyperlapse is able to stabilize the video. I’ve tried it myself and it’s quite amazing. Check out this article from The Verge on how to use the feature.
- LastPass – I joke about a lot things, but passwords isn’t one of them. Every single one of your church’s social media accounts should have a unique password with a mix of different numbers, characters and symbols. They also should be changed at least every six months. I know that sounds like a lot and it is. That’s why we use Lastpass.
LastPass lets us create unique, strong passwords for each of our accounts and notifies us when the passwords are either weak, duplicated or old. We can also access our passwords on a mobile device or from any browser.
I hope with the list of above that you’ve found something that enhance your church’s social media. Find the right tools can be difficult, but when they’re partnered with the right strategy, they make for a winning combination.
What tools do you use for your church’s social media? Click here to share below.