When I discuss social media with pastors, one question that keeps coming up is this: “how much time should I invest on social media for my church?” The answer is shockingly simple: none!
There seems to be this impression especially common among small to mid-sized churches that the pastor has to run the church’s social media outlets. But faced with a pile of daunting roadblocks including an already too busy timetable, the challenge of learning social media with the time needed to make it worth it, and the danger of focusing more on the digital realm than the physical one.
Here’s my advice: put together a social media time.
And here’s why:
1. You don’t run every ministry, don’t run this one
I don’t know many lead pastors who double as the youth leader, the Sunday School Superintendent, the Children’s Church director, the missional leader, or the worship leader. Those ministries have been delegated to capable people and often include leaders under them. Your worship leader has a worship team. Your Sunday School Superintendent has teachers under him or her for the various classes, and so on.
Do the same with social media. Find a capable leader and some capable helpers. Form a social media ministry.
2. Social Media is too big for one person
The other danger I find is that the pastor will weigh too heavily on one tech savvy individual for the church’s social media presence. This is the quickest way to burn someone out. Social media is huge. There are dozens of different social media platforms. But assuming that your church only sticks to the big ones (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube), it’s still too much for one person, unless you’re going to pay them a full-time wage. It’s a full-time job to maintain a full social media presence.
Having your social media strategy involve a complete team – 3 or 4 individuals is all you need for smaller churches – is essential. One leader to oversee the strategy (and to keep the ministry aligned with the church at all times!), and two or three other individuals to help implement the strategy throughout the week.
3. Regular content needs a regular presence
Two quick facts about social media: 1) it’s a marathon, not a sprint; 2) it needs to be maintained frequently. If your church posts something on Facebook or on its website only from time to time, it will literally go nowhere with its social media ministry. Consider every infrequent post as starting all over again.
But unless someone is full-time, it is almost impossible to keep a church’s online presence updated frequently. A team, however, can do that much better. To give you an idea of a frequency timetable: update Twitter 7-10 times a day spread throughout. Update Facebook 2 times a day. Update Instagram 2-3 times a week. Update YouTube once a week.
4. Different platforms require different strengths
Contrary to sometimes popular belief, not all social media platforms are the same. How you post on Facebook will not be the same as how you post on Twitter. And how you post on YouTube is vastly different from how you post on Instagram.
Dividing up your social media platforms among the various strengths of the people on your team will make your church’s social media presence so much more stronger than if one person where trying to hit them all up by themselves.
5. Sticking around for discussion
Social media is all about the conversation. It’s about sharing and engaging. One person (again, unless they are full-time) cannot possibly maintain a number of different social media platforms while keeping an engaging presence on each.
A ministry team, however, can. If you have one person who focuses exclusively on Twitter, that person can be made available to respond and engage to comments your church will receive from its followers. And that kind of presence will produce long term dividends for your church.
Question: What other benefits of a social media ministry can you think of? You can leave a comment by clicking here.