Social media is continuing to evolve. We'll dive into what you can do to use this ministry tool more effectively in a rapidly changing space.

I’m going to make a bold statement … organic social media doesn’t work for promotion. 

Yikes .. we just went there. This includes your all-church event promotion, sermon series push, the class, the study, etc. It's so important to promote these things, but organic social just wasn't created to do that. If you want to promote something, the best way to do it is through advertising. In our next article in this series, we’ll walk through how to decide which advertising outlet is best for each promotion. But for now, let's talk organic social ... 

What is organic social media? 
When we say “organic social media” we’re saying anything you post on a church or ministry’s Facebook page, Instagram feed or story, TikTok or Twitter account without putting money behind it. 

Why doesn’t it work for promotion? 
The more we work with churches and the more we watch social media change, the more it becomes clear: Social media was created as a tool for connection. And if your church isn’t using it primarily as that, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 
So, what does all this mean? Well, first, it means you need to revisit how you’re mapping out your social content. It also means your social media plan should really be focused on helping people connect with each other and connect with God. (Sound like your mission statement? It's a perfect pair!) We call this kind of content, value-based. (More on that below.) 
So now what? We aren't just going to leave you hanging, friends! 
Here is a simple Social Media Plan outline you can use: 

  1. Who is our audience?
    What challenges do they have? What do they value? Where do they spend their time? 
  2. How can we help these people connect with God?
    Or, how do we equip these people to grow in their faith through everyday content?
  3. How can we help these people connect with each other?
    Where are they online? How are they already connecting with people through digital tools? Where could your church show up? 
  4. What are our key content types?
    These should be based on what your audience needs and the value you’re hoping to bring as well as your church’s distinct mission. Try to come up with 7-10. Example: A church might include Parenting resources, leading with grace or incorporating prayer as some of their key content types.
  5. How often will we post? And where?
    For each social platform, come up with a simple posting schedule. You could even decide what ratio you’ll use to determine what you’re posting. We recommend a 1:3 ratio - for every 1 event/service promotion you do, there are 3 value-based posts.
The Value Test:
As you’re creating content for social media, ask yourself this question:
Does this post help someone connect with God or another person right here and now? Or are we inviting them to do that in person later? 
If it’s the first one, post it and include a call-to-action for your followers to share, tag and/or send. 
If it’s the second one, it’s promotion and should be part of your advertising strategy. 
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll break down how to know which advertising platform is best and where to start if you’ve never used digital advertising in a strategic way.