I read a social media quote recently by David Alston that I found to be very profound. It simply says "Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage and build relationships." Mr. Alston couldn't have hit the nail on the head more squarely. Allow me to explain why.
As a church, if your goal is to attract visitors via social media
then the above quote must become the lifeblood of your social media marketing strategy. More important than your social media marketing strategy though, is the reality that the quote must be turned into action within the body of the church as it relates to the community at large that the church wishes to reach.
Social media marketing within the church should
be an outreach tool. Ask yourselves these questions. Is your church actively using social media to listen to the needs of the community? How about actually engaging with the community and ultimately building relationships with community members?
Be reminded that it is of extreme importance that the church should be intentional about pouring into the community before asking anything of them.
Let your social media marketing be about promoting not church serves for the community, but first promoting events that actually addresses the physical and mental health of the community members.
Organize a few teams at your local church. Assign one team the responsibility of planning and executing regular enough events for the community. Some churches have done health fairs, resume workshops, ESL classes, after school classes, cooking classes, homework help, etc.
Once the team has planned and appointed a date for the event then team two moves into place. Their job? You guessed it! Social media market the juice out of these events.
The plan is to give, give, give to your community. Don't ask them for money in return. Definitely don't use it as an opportunity to create a database of names of the visitors so you can hit them up later for church services. Instead just pour life into the community. The key is to pour enough life and love into the community members that they choose to visit your church on their own free will.
Do not, and I repeat, do not allow your social media marketing to be only about how many pews you could fill for church service. If that's the case then let me tell your right now that you're wasting your time and efforts.
Work with your teams to implement a marketing strategy that will brand your church as a genuinely caring church in your community. After, and only after, you've established that reputation, only then do you get the privilege of gently popping up on their timelines and inviting them to set foot inside your church.
Until then, plan wisely my friends.
With love from your Social Media Ministry Specialist