Facebook, Instagram, and the Church

By Dr. Malachi O’Brien, Malachi Media

I am unashamedly addicted to social media! From Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even Tik Tok, I am obsessed with how we can do social media differently and for the Gospel. How can we capitalize on the attention people are giving to their smartphones and tablets? Social Media is one of the greatest opportunities ever for the church to reach and impact people. Every great move of God has come on the heels of a communication shift in society. We consume social media daily and the only way that it is made possible is through our internet connection, so if you want to get the word out or browse through, then you will need to make sure you have a solid internet plan through one of the xfinity plans or others like it, to give you that platform that you need.

Almost everyone and almost every church has a presence on social media. The question is no longer are you going to do social media but rather are you going to do social media well? As I meet with and consult with all sizes of ministries and churches regarding social media I love answering all sort of questions and thinking outside the box with the platforms we have. Let’s talk about it as leaders and churches.

Disruption is Everywhere…

  • Uber has disrupted the Taxi industry
  • Airbnb has disrupted the Hotel industry
  • BuzzFeed has disrupted traditional media
  • Netflix has disrupted the cable tv industry
  • Amazon has disrupted the shopping industry

What does this have to do with the local church?

We can no longer ignore the disruption. Rather we must embrace and utilize the opportunity it affords us. Every single social media platform gives us an opportunity to reach a group of people that before we might not reach effectively. It gives us insight to what people like and dislike. What people are feeling and thinking about. Its free research. The more you know about the people you are trying to reach the better equipped you will be to reach them.

Here are some simple social media tips

Write down the reason WHY you and your church are on social media. Don’t exist on a platform because everyone else is there. If you don’t do this you will simply copy what everyone else is doing and you will drown in the noise. For example, you might decide that we are on Facebook in order to build greater community within our church. You might decide that you are on Instagram in order to share great stories about the lives of people in your community? You must have a very clear reason why you are on social media. Without this you will not be able to measure success.

Make your message clear. I mean crystal clear. This is by far one of the greatest mistakes I see people make on social media. Especially churches. They say they want to reach people but their social media does not reflect that. Rather, their social media has simply become a one-way communication piece people use to highlight past and upcoming events. If you want to reach people on social media then you need to talk about the problems people are facing and how your church or ministry can help people solve those problems. Talk about the real issues people are facing. Talk about depression, suicide, divorce, etc…

Be social on social. When people leave a comment, respond to them. Build relationships with people. You could go into the Instagram search bar right now and type in the name of your city and see photos and people from your city. What if you actively sought to contribute and add value to others? What if you commented on 10 posts every day for a month? I promise you that it would help you see guests and visitors come to your church. Similarly, understand what are the other dos’ and donts’ in social media from reputed blogs such as Liteboard.

Build a social media team. Make this a new ministry in your church. Develop a team of volunteers who will help you share content and do new things. Utilize all generations. Have fun.

Spend money on ads. Marketing is not sleazy – and there’s a reason why more and more businesses and organizations are asking questions like “what is SEO?” when it comes to getting the most out of their online presence. The front porch of homes is now the back porch. Their newsfeed is the front door you can knock on. What if you were creating meaningful encouraging content that people loved to share AND you spent money to reach the right people? It doesn’t take long to do this with precision and to do it well. Stop wasting money on things that do not work.

Reach out to new guests on social media. What if visitor or connection cards at your church had a spot for social media information? What if a volunteer on Sunday or Monday sent a meaningful personal note, through social media, thanking the guests for coming to your church? This could set your church apart. People want to know you care.

Kindness and Empathy are currency. This is what you need to spend on social media. Let’s hijack the negative narrative and build people up and listen to people. This is free and easy. It has a long-term ROI.

These are just a few quick ideas about social media.

Social Media is here to stay! Let’s do this well.