Social media provides opportunities for churches and other organisations to extend the reach of their messages beyond their local congregation to a much wider audience, especially younger members of the church.
It also provides avenues for interaction with the local congregation that might not have previously been available. Online media allows and promotes discussion and sharing of information and opinions; it typically includes user generated content.
The availability and types of social media will change over time.
If you are new to social media, we have a link to a Beginners Guide of social media for Churches called: Be Social – The Social Media Handbook for Churches to read and download.
Creation of Social media
- Your Church and Social Media – Great Reference Blog and Articles – Your Church and Social Media
- A vital question to you need to answer to create engaging social media – Create engaging social Media
- Some great points to apply when posting and liking on Facebook – 5 Tips for Christians on Facebook
Planning and Auditing
It is important to develop a business / marketing plan for the use of Social Media. This will include the reasons for using the media (goals), expressed in terms of measurable targets like: traffic volumes to particular web pages, number of new subscribers, number of new correspondents, satisfaction rating (negative vs. positive comments), new partnerships etc. You can also conduct an audit on your social media channels, for record keeping and risk management. Hootsuite offer some great free social media planning templates, that you can adapt to your own use.
Social Media and Risk
It is important to have a communications plan, so everyone in the church understands the role and impact of social media. Social media is a much more public form of communication than others engaged in by pastors and churches. Thus great care needs to be taken to present a public face that is seen to be acting with integrity.
The National Council of Churches have put together comprehensive electronic guidelines, which covers usage of social media. The NSW/ACT Baptists have put together a very helpful Social Media guide for Pastors and Churches, which outlines some of the risks inherent in social media. Baptist Insurance Services have also developed a great Risk Management Resource to download.
Social Church is a US based organization who has put together a great list of social media policy templates and tools.
*Please note that these tools and resources are to be used as guidelines only. If you have any specific concerns or questions regarding social media, please contact Ken Conwell – Professional Standards and Insurance Officer on 07 3354 5600 or email Ken Conwell
Social Media trends for Australia by McCrindle