Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Social Media and the Church
Posted on June 10th 2013
With more than one billion people worldwide having a profile on the social media giant, Facebook, many in the Church are either concerned or blissfully unaware of the opportunities this social network presents for them.
But many churches and ministries have set up a Facebook page as they look to connect with and strengthen their own communities and reach those outside the walls of the Church. They often do so with high hopes, and unrealistic expectations.
Getting started with social media is the easy part! Maintaining and growing it, is another thing altogether. Often churches and ministries launch into social media with a Facebook page and become frustrated when the results they hope to see don’t materialize quickly.
James Fam, Coastal Church
“Social media is a great tool/forum but like any other tool, you have to learn how it can work for you, and understand its strengths as well as its limitations,” notes James Fam, an Associate Pastor at Coastal Church in downtown Vancouver.
Coastal, an enthusiastic and serious user of Facebook, has a good size following on their page. Even more impressive is the number of ‘fans’ (those who have liked their Facebook page) who check into the page on a daily basis. In social media, it is rare for fans to check into a page daily. But for churches this makes sense when you consider that many people are on Facebook to connect with family and friends. Most churchgoers consider their local church in the ‘family and friend’ category.
This makes Facebook a tool for the local church to help build community by sharing interesting information, teaching and inspiring on a daily basis. And it can be used to reach those outside the walls of the church.
“In a general sense, the key difference between social media and traditional media is the higher level of interactivity and immediacy in communication,” notes Fam. “Whereas print and other broadcast media is largely one-way communication, social media thrives on user interaction and user-generated content.”
Coastal, along with Broadway Church and Relate Church, to name a few, seem to have mastered the art of getting the majority of their fans to check into their page on a regular basis. One of the challenges churches and ministries face, along with businesses, is getting their content into the news feed of those who have liked their page on a consistent basis. Thus, if a large number of your fans aren’t visiting your page on a daily basis you may need to look at other ways to ensure you’re showing show up in their news feed, at least periodically. The challenge is to post content that fans ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ with others.
One thing to watch out for when managing a page is “unnecessary or overzealous censorship,” explains Fam. It can kill conversation on social media quickly and churches need to be “comfortable putting up with a few negative comments on Facebook.”
J. Lee Grady, The Mordecai Project
Ministries and individual missionaries are using Facebook and social media too.
Award-winning journalist and past editor of Charisma magazine, J. Lee Grady shares: “I absolutely love all forms of social media, especially Facebook. For me, ministry is about relationships and connection…and social media helps me do that. This media allows me to connect with the people I have met in the places I visit. My ministry connections stay strong because I can be in constant contact with people.”
Marg Gibb, Women Together
Founder and Director of Women Together, Marg Gibb shares: “Building awareness of the ministry through regular postings has created, for Women Together, a new larger community of women who are interested and want involvement – women who were not in my former circles of resources. Providing spiritual inspiration and mentoring, again through regular postings, has given me the sense that ministry does happen through social media.”
Tim Ernst, The Navigators
Tim Ernst who ministers with the Navigators among business and professionals in Vancouver notes: “Like all forms of communication, social media can add either inspiration or cynicism to the earth’s atmosphere. My cyber-neighbours are a mosaic of faith journeys, religions, ages and stages.”
But churches, ministries and individual missionaries can overdo a good thing too, if they don’t understand their audience! Facebook and social media in general, require prayerful and thoughtful planning and use. Simply posting content that adds clutter to our already busy online world won’t cut it! People are drawn to authentic content that offers hope and inspiration.
Ed Hird, St. Simon's Church
In addition to prayer and planning, time, a passion for people, good communication skills, perseverance and commitment are needed.
“Church ministry is all about people; building community with people. Engaging people in spiritual conversations takes on a whole different level with social media,” notes Coastal’s Fam.
So how does the church, in our rapidly changing world, stay relevant and in touch, both with everyday Christians and with those who do not yet know Christ? Social media may have part of the answer.
As Ed Hird, pastor of St. Simon’s Church in North Vancouver puts it: “Social media is the new Guttenberg Press. It is here to stay, like it or not.”