Avoid This Shocking Gap In Your Social Media Strategy

Steve Fogg —  October 10, 2013 — 9 Comments

social-media-strategy-gap

I love social media. I especially love being part of the team that creates the social media for my church. We don’t have it all together and run on the smell of an oily rag.

There is one element to our social media that I think we have nailed, despite our small budget. It’s an extremely important gap that I think many churches miss with their social media. It’s an obvious mis-step that doesn’t need to be there.

That’s interaction and engagement.

I’m not talking about occasionally liking a comment here and there on Facebook or Instagram. Or retweeting someone when they engage with your church Twitter handle.

I’m talking about leveraging conversations that are already underway on social media. Especially on Twitter.

How do you leverage existing conversations?

#hashtags

Let me give you one example. Recently we had The Bible Series here in Australia on TV and the hashtag was #thebibleau. The show had huge ratings in the first few weeks and strong ratings to the end of the series.

Yet we were the only church in the country following and engaging in the conversation on theĀ #thebibleau every week during the series.

Sure, there were some churches that promoted the show prior to the broadcast, ourselves included. But not one church during the broadcasts when the hashtag was in full use. It even was even the No.1 trended hashtag in Australia while the show was on. Many, many people were engaging online about the show.

Yet, no churches were there. Except us.

I’m not having a go here. Or bragging.

I’m simply saying that we are missing a huge opportunity here to join a large group of people who are already engaging in faith conversations. Through the church handle, I engaged with many different people about Jesus. Some had small numbers of followers. Some had tens of thousands of followers. One vital thing you need to know is that when you interact with someone who has thousands of followers is that you are not just interacting with that one person, but all their followers too. The played out because many of the followers of people I was interacting with also started to interact with the church twitter account as well.

This is just one example of engagement. How do you engage and interact on social media? Drop a comment below.

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9 responses to Avoid This Shocking Gap In Your Social Media Strategy

  1. good call!

    i engaged with #thebibleau hashtag for most of the weeks.

    BUT i did it with my personal account.

    didn’t even think – but can see why – it would have been good to do with our church’s handle.

    good post.. thanks.

  2. Really interesting and helpful post on how churches can use hashtags.

    What was the main thinking behind using hashtags and in what way do you think it was effective? Were you mainly looking at talking to people on Twitter about Jesus- outwards evangelism if you want to call it that? Or do you think you had an impact on a local level- reaching out to people in your local area- people who don’t go to church or have never heard of your particular church? How about engaging with the people who attend your church?

    The reason I ask all these things is because I am looking at how social media can be effective at our church and I want to try and communicate that to team. My view is that social media can help with encouraging and equipping the members of the congregation, reaching out to local people in our community and also reaching out further in evangelism.

    I am so glad that there are churches out there and people like you who get social media- and want to use it in a positive way. There are so many examples of churches either avoiding social media or just using it badly.

    • Hi Ian,

      The thinking is simply this. Social media is the new digital marketplace/pub/community gathering place. The church needs to have a voice there. Especially when the topics align with faith as it was in this case. It is natural and easy for the church to engage in conversation in those places. You will have people who support you and people who are aggressively against you, and everything in-between that.

      We do already engage with those that attend our church as they interact with us. This is the next level out.

      On a local level, it would be simply engagement simply comes as it is appropriate. We won’t be the awkward person in the room trying to enter into a conversation where there isn’t a natural fit for us.

  3. This is really an interesting article. I would love to see a reply to Ian’s questions above. I’m cautious about a church (institution) engaging too much as whoever it is that does the engaging, is effectively representing the church. What they therefore “say” is what the church is saying, and is it what the church would actually want said. So I have a bit of a niggle about this type of engagement.

    I’m aware that one can institute policies and procedures to govern what type of engagement one engages with, but this is cumbersome to manage with small churches and budgets.

    That said, I am a very strong advocate of the church members being purposefully social for the sake of the kingdom.

    But a great article that does tickle my interest.

    God bless

    • Hi Darryl,

      Please don’t be cautious! I think too many churches are afraid of the big bad world out there. We need to engage and have a voice in public debate.

      Regarding who does that, I did it on this occasion as I feel I can represent our church well. We also have a very capable Social Media Ambassador who is similarly able to do this. Policies and procedures are helpful guidelines and boundary setters, but public discourse never fits into that neat solution. As long as the tone of the voice is respectful and not sarcastic, or bombastic I think you are reasonably safe.

      My thinking is simply this. If your grandma saw what you said, would she be proud of what you said and how you said it.

      Hope that helps!

      Steve

  4. Love it. Thanks for the practical tip! Brings a smart new perspective on engaging an audience.

  5. Helpful article. I did a little test on this tonight during #TheSounfOfMusic live. One message via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram LinkedIn and Google + as well but we rarely get traction there).

    Instagram had the most interactions and ‘double taps’, with Facebook coming in second. Twitter was a non-starter.

    I’ll be interested to try this with various events but this was an interesting start. Thanks for helping us to think differently!

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