There is an article on Church Web Strategies website that discusses the fairly recent phenomena known as “Social Media Sunday” or #SMSunday. #SMSunday is all about “promoting a church’s social media presence, and familiarizing a congregation with how they can help bolster that presence.”
The idea is somewhat crazy and perhaps even a little scary for most churches (passing it through the board of my own church is no easy challenge). And often what I find are churches who essentially give one lone tech savvy member the green light to do as he or she wishes with the church’s social media tools.
The problem is social media is not taken seriously by the church. Its potential is stifled by a lack of understanding and awareness and its usefulness is neutered. This is where I found the article particularly helpful:
That next step is for pastors that take part in something like a #SMSunday [to] partner with leaders in the social media space to create training material and hold workshops. The voice of a tech enthusiast is not enough to help pastors understand the potential for social media interactions and online ministry. We need influential pastoral leaders to advocate for events such as these.
It’s thrilling to know that a number of pastors are taking just such an initiative by joining my recent live webinar workshop, Social Media and the Local Church (course is running now, registration is now closed). The quote above is spot on. You can’t allow a lone tech person to run your churches social media presence apart from the awareness, support, and alignment of the rest of the church.
Here’s how you can take part in #SMSunday in your church:
1. Project it above
Before and after the service project your church’s social media activity on the overhead projector. Include information about where people in the crowd can go online to find your churches Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel and so on.
2. Include in announcements
This is articulately useful if your church is planning to run a social media campaign of some sort. Let the people in the crowd know what that campaign is, why you’re doing it, how they can help and what the campaigns hashtag is.
3. Send out an email
Make sure to be actively collecting the email address of your parishioners. Then keep them updated about anything church related throughout the week. This includes reminders about what’s going on in your church’s social media space and how they can help.
4. Expert on hand
Have an “expert” or two (or four or five) on hand every Sunday to answer social media related questions people might have in your church. Notice the quotes? They don’t have to actually be experts, they just need to be the most knowledgeable social media people in your church. Ideally these are the people running your social media ministry. If your church is large enough, have a social media Q&A booth set up in a prominent place.
Are you ready for the next step?
Creating social media awareness will be a pivotal step in your church’s social media strategy. It’ll mean the difference between a social media strategy that works and is getting results, and a social media strategy that will be a waste of time and energy. If you want results with social media in your church, then your church (the people, the ministries, the leaders) and social media need to come into alignment.
A social media ministry without the support of the people will become one person’s hobby, and nothing more. But your churches vitality and health will depend on your church’s stance toward social media today. So get your church onboard. Develop a strategy and begin to impact your community afresh.
Question: Have you set up a Social Media Awareness campaign in your church? What do you do? You can leave a comment by clicking here.