Your Get Started Guide for Social Media

Your Get Started Guide for Social Media

An overview of social media for small-group ministry
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6. Focus on the Networks that Make Sense.

It's better to focus on one or two social networks that you put a lot of time and effort into than to have a presence everywhere and only use them occasionally. Again, sporadic posting doesn't tend to be effective.

When deciding which networks to focus on, you'll want to consider what your congregants are using, as well as what you personally enjoy using. You need your people to be on it to see your posts, and you have to like using it enough that you'll post consistently and not give up after two months.

While most of the networks listed below have users spanning all sorts of demographic lines, many of them skew heavily toward a particular demographic. As such, I've included key demographic information on each of them to help you figure out which ones may appeal to your congregation.

Facebook

Key Demographics: Everyone

This is, perhaps, the one social network that needs no introduction. Your 12-year-old niece uses it to communicate with your 85-year-old grandmother. You can post status updates, photos, and videos; play games; and invite friends to events. There's almost nothing you can do in real life that you can't do some version of on Facebook.

Events

Facebook events are simply online invitations. You create a Facebook event with the date, time, and description of your event, and you can start inviting your friends. But what's better is that Facebook makes it easy for the friends you invite to invite their friends.

So, if you're having a group connection event, you can not only invite all of the people you know at church who need to connect with a group, you can also ask all of your small-group leaders to invite the people they know as well.

Groups

Facebook Groups are communities of individuals built around a shared interest—kinda like small groups! Groups can be large and open to anyone—like the 1,000+ person Small Group Network group—or small and private, like the one for my wife's extended family.

Small groups can use Facebook Groups to keep in touch with each other throughout the week. They can be especially helpful after a group has multiplied if the group members want to maintain community.

Ads

Most of the things you do on Facebook are free, but you can also buy ads. I've found ads to be especially helpful in promoting events. And one thing that makes Facebook ads more helpful than some other forms of advertising is its targeting capabilities.

For instance, when promoting our annual men's event, I was able to target not only by gender and geography, but also limit my audience to people who were fans of my church's Facebook page and friends of the people already committed to attending the event. This ensured that the people seeing the ad had some kind of connection to the church. It enabled me to spend my promotional dollars in a more focused, effective manner.

Profiles

Facebook can be a pastor's best friend. Unless you have a way better memory than me, there's no way you can remember the name of every single person you meet at church. Facebook can be invaluable in helping you put a name with a face.

Twitter

Key Demographics: 18-29 Year Olds; African Americans

Twitter isn't the largest social network, but it is big and gets a ton of press.

On Twitter you post "tweets," short messages limited to 140 characters. Of course, you can include links to websites or blog posts. If you link to a YouTube video, it will show up embedded directly in your tweet, and Twitter also offers an upload service that allows you to embed your photos and videos directly into the tweet.

More on Social Media for Ministry

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