What social media foundations can you lay at your church to make your online ministries more effective? By creating good processes and having the discipline to adhere to them, you will bolster interactions on your various platforms, and boost traffic to your websites. This article contains tips on creating and recycling content, defining and sticking to a schedule, as well as curating and automating your publishing process. The end result should be a vibrant and flourishing online church community.
In the first part of this series, I asked that you simply get familiar with your surroundings on social media by first setting up a personal account. Upon getting a feel for the culture of the space, create an organizational account. While this will give you an idea of how to interact with the people there, you will first need a process to create that material.
You have a tremendous stockpile of information at your church; enough to post unique snippets several times a week. This information is hiding in plain sight in the form of sermons, bulletins, photos taken at church events, and historical information. I delved into this on my article on re-purposing content, but you should re-visit these for sources of content. Your social media platforms will appreciate it!
Create a Schedule
Again, another article covers a lot of this topic. My article on creating a publishing schedule is key here. You need to determine how often, what time of day, and when your target audiences are most active. When are they online the most, and when do they engage the most? Utilize analytics to determine what sources are giving you the most traffic, and what time of day they click. Some tools you can use are WordPress and the ability to schedule website posts, as well as HootSuite and its ability to schedule social media posts. Regardless, create and adhere to a schedule for posting that content to social media platforms.
Curate and Automate
Wherever you can, determine ways to segment your content so that your publishers do not have to do much editing and thinking when publishing to your social media platforms. This may be tagging content during creation with certain keywords, or writing in key phrases or quotes into your sermon that easily lend themselves to Twitter or Facebook posts. Do you have special hash tags that allow you to search for those phrases on social media platforms, as many people, even outside of your church, may view your material, and send a summary or direct quote of it. If they include your special hash tag, you can watch with joy as your message spreads outside of your church walls.
Action Item: Work with your communications manager and pastor to ensure content is freely shared. Next, create your optimal posting schedule, including days and time to post, and re-post your content. Lastly, see how the people creating the content can make it easier to tag and automate your posts. It may be keywords, quotes, or appropriate images to associate; but every bit of insight helps you create an online ministry that engages with its audience.
Image courtesy of Natalie Broers