Social media is becoming one of the most popular ways for many churches to advertise their ministries, and the good news is that God has blessed the Internet with thousands of churches. So, how should the church utilize social media in marketing?
Different Approaches to Social Media Marketing
Some may be wondering what the difference is between traditional marketing methods and social networking. Here are a few examples.
Traditional marketing means having a brick-and-mortar presence in the community. This involves advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. This also requires creating a great deal of business impact in communities by meeting people face to face. The church will be reaching out to those in the community, which is good news for the church and pastor. However, this kind of marketing takes a lot of time and effort and can cost a great deal of money. It also doesn’t guarantee a return on the investment because the results may not bring about as much satisfaction as good news.
Social media marketing , on the other hand, is more about creating a connection with individuals through the Internet. It is about connecting to people that live, work, and travel in the same community. In a way, social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter allow the church to be connected to their members who live outside the church. They also will enable the church to communicate with those people through the sharing of useful and valuable content. This content can include news, videos, pictures, music, and blogs.
The church gets involved
So, what should the church do? First, they should get involved and monitor their activities on these sites. They need to post information on their pages such as current events, church news, upcoming events, youth and young adult-oriented events, music events, and so forth. They can also post messages such as “I am pleased to inform you that X happened at church today. Be sure to share this information with your friends.”
The church joins groups and communities
Secondly, the church can join groups, forums, and chats on social networking sites. The church can participate by posing questions and receiving answers from others. This way, online marketing and attracting new visitors to your church becomes easier. Many times, church leaders can create profiles and ask others for opinions and thoughts. This is the right way for the church to become more active in social networking.
The church communicates with the public
Finally, it is good for the church to keep in touch with the general public on the Internet. They can do this by sending mass email messages to anyone who has requested to receive such a statement. A church website can also make the information available to those outside of their church. It is up to the church to protect the private information of their members, but at the same time, they have to let the general public know what is happening inside the church.
How should the church organize and use these media?
There are several tools available to help church leaders set up these new opportunities. A calendar can be used to schedule when church events will occur. A church website can host events and provide links to the church’s Facebook page. Blogs can give information on church happenings, upcoming services, and sermons.
It is up to the individual church members to learn how to navigate the social media world. This is an opportunity for them to interact with the broader church community. With that interaction, they will likely develop a deeper relationship with other church members. They will be able to share the beautiful experiences they have had with Jesus and their fellow church members.
If a church is using social media to grow their membership, then the leadership needs to be cautious about what information they release. Social media allows church members to discuss the church openly without fear of criticism. However, this open dialogue can lead to bad PR and damaged reputations if the right questions and concerns aren’t asked. The leaders must be sure to listen to their church members when they have questions or concerns.
How should the church handle information available on their social media sites?
The church is probably best to keep data available indefinitely. Most people won’t want to revisit the same story more than once. They will likely move on to another church if they don’t find new or interesting information. Also, if a person is thinking about leaving the church, then the data is not available to them.
How should the church interact with its social media community? The church needs to take the time to seek out and answer questions from its community. When interacting on a social media site the church should ask clarifying questions such as, “Do you have questions?” and “How do you feel about X? “, rather than simply saying, “Use our Facebook page.”