What Churches Are Missing on Social Media

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thumbs upEarlier this week I asked in a post, “Would your community miss your church?” Meaning if your church closed it doors for good, would your community even notice?

The truth is most communities wouldn’t feel a thing if a church closed it’s doors.

That’s because many churches have adopted a purely attractional approach to interacting with the community. This approach involves having church services at publicized times and attempting to ATTRACT the community to those services. Attraction may happen through any number of methods: invitation, advertisement, special programming, etc. Because many churches have interacted so long with the community using the attractional model that’s the model they try to bring into social media.

They tweet service times, promote the current sermon series on Facebook, post pictures from youth activities on Instagram. All of these are perfectly acceptable uses of social media, the problem comes when a church exclusively communicates with “attractional posts.” It’s as if everything a church is posting says “Come here.” “Watch us.” “Join us.” “Give us your attention.” Sometimes the Facebook page for a church starts to look like one long commercial with comments from viewers.

The attractional approach will only go so far because… 

The better your church behaves as a member of the social media community the more people will follow what your church is doing.

Here are two ways to use social media as a member.

1. Offer help not hype The market is crowded with promotion. Products, services, and opportunities are constantly being promoted to people. Most producers count on AMAZEMENT to win over the attention and dollars of consumers. Most churches don’t have the funds to amaze through promotion like corporations. There is an alternative, instead of offering hype, offer help. Use social media to provide useful content to the community.

A few REAL examples (you can click on these posts and tweets):

Post a link to an article with useful/helpful content

Post about the charity of others in the community

Tweet about the hurt in your community

2. Tout others, don’t toot your own horn Social media provides churches an incredible opportunity to tout the goodness of those in the community. Recently, I attended a large conference and failed to pack socks. I asked a concierge in my hotel for directions to a store. She gave me directions, but then asked could she call the store and see if they had what I needed. When I explained I needed socks, she called the store and inquired if they had the socks and the color I was looking for. I was so impressed at her level of service that I put out the following tweet:

The employer responded with this tweet:

I used my social media influence to call attention to the goodness of someone in the community. This was previously an opportunity reserved for the newspapers if it was a slow day in the local news. Churches now have enormous opportunity through their social media presence to shine a spotlight on worthy causes and helpful individuals in the community.

The more ways a church can use social media as a member of the community, the more likely the community will never want church that church to close it’s doors.

On the Tuesday post I will share how to become a YOUTILITY through social media. Would you like to read future posts as an email?  Join the SCL email list.  No spam, just new postings delivered to your inbox.

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