If 2020 taught me anything, it’s the value of online community. We all crave connection and social media’s role in society was redefined during the COVID-19 pandemic. When done correctly, social media can be used to enrich real-life relationships and connect with an otherwise unknown audience.
I’ve heard it said that social media has no place in ministry. However, I believe ministry is anywhere there are people. 72% of U.S. adults use social media. That number rises to 90% of 18–29-year-olds in the U.S. I assure you, your audience is on social media, and they are hungry for the message of the gospel.
But how do you use social media in ministry? How do you engage people in a digital community and connect them with your ministry? You can move the needle for your ministry with time, strategy, and good listening on social media.
The longer you wait, the more opportunities are lost in connecting with people whose lives are technology-infused. Ready to dive in? Here are my top six tips for using social media to grow your ministry:
- Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many platforms. Instead, focus on creating quality content. Avoid the temptation to jump on every new platform and trend—focus first on building a strong platform and using that as a launching pad for new things.
- Be patient. Your digital presence is not automatically viewed by lots of people because of its mere existence. Focus on creating relevant content that offers value to your followers. Be mindful of things like grammar and tone because these things can help you build a trustworthy reputation. Consistency is key to social media growth.
- Make a good first impression. Your profile images, cover photos, and descriptions/bios are the doormat for your ministry. When operating branded accounts like Facebook pages, Instagram profiles, and Twitter accounts, be sure to clearly tell your audience these things: who you are, what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and how to connect. Be clear and concise in your messaging.
- Create a social media calendar. Take time to map out your content and create a plan that centers around your priorities. Consistency is key to success in social media. A content calendar makes daily, consistent posting more manageable. Once your calendar is finalized, schedule your content using apps like Facebook Business, Facebook Creator Studio, Hootsuite, or something similar.
- Invest in high-quality visuals. This doesn’t mean hiring a professional photographer or becoming a graphic designer. However, you should focus on creating content that is visually appealing. When taking photos or videos for social media, remember to get close, find good lighting, take well-focused images, use the highest-quality device available, and, if shooting a video, avoid ambient noise (like air conditioning or background music). Take advantage of free stock photo websites and image editing sites and apps as well. People are more likely to click on a post that is visually appealing.
- Listen. This is the key to success in social media: pay attention to content that performs well on your social media platforms and use this information to help you improve content over time. Listen to your audience and interact. Don’t just tell them what you’re doing—show them. Ask questions, respond to comments, and engage with your audience.
I know it can be overwhelming. Social media is a BIG space, and sometimes it can bring out the worst in people. I encourage you to allow your words on social media to be seasoned with salt. I often find the words the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church helpful in my daily digital communication: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
How are you using social media to grow your ministry? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Juliana Wilson is the social media and influencer marketing specialist for Lifeway Women. She is passionate about encouraging women and girls to dig into God’s Word and pursue an active relationship with Christ every day. Juliana loves Instagram-worthy ice cream, coffee dates, and traveling with her husband, Ben. Look for them on NBC’s show, American Ninja Warrior! You can follow their journey on Instagram with #WhereInTheWorldAreTheWilsons