Social media is a new highway of communication. There are many social media offerings available for individuals and groups to access. Businesses are using it to increase their marketing and get their message out to consumers. Students use it to keep up with friends and what is trending. Parents use it to keep up with their children, friends and news. How can faith communities use it to connect with members and visitors?
Faith communities can use social media to share schedules of special events, community service opportunities and share pictures from activities.
Facebook – Share information about upcoming events and ask members to share it with their friends. Share posts from community helping agencies which your church supports, especially events and community service opportunities. For sharing pictures or group information you can set up a group by invite only which allows you to monitor who is part of your group and what information is shared.
Instagram – Instagram is a social media platform with more pictures and fewer words. Its user age requirement is 13 years and older. It is widely used by teens and young adults. Ask your students/parents to help you come up with a hashtag for your church or ministry which they can use to tag posts. Give your students/parents an assignment for the week such as post a picture of one thing/person for which they are thankful for Thanksgiving. At your next meeting have a “Posting Check-in” time to review postings.
These are just two of the many social media options available. If you are interested in using social media to expand how your faith community connects with people outside your walls, please consider the following as you begin:
- Decide who, where, why and how you want to use social media for your ministry. To be most effective you need to have a purpose and plan for what you are going to do.
- Find out what social media technologies the people you want to reach use the most and start there.
- Recruit several people from your faith community who actively use social media to help you get started.
- Communicate with your members and parents regarding your social media plans. The more persons following your ministry & sharing your information the wider your exposure will be.
- Add a picture permission section to your permission slips for field trips, mission trips and events so parents/guardians are aware you may post pictures related to your ministries.
These thoughts above are from Mary Langley, one of our partners in the ministry. Her primary focus is working alongside churches in children and family matters. She is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina.