Are you having trouble convincing the clergy, churchwardens or the congregation that setting up social media accounts for your church is a good thing? Or are you wondering yourself why your church needs one? I’ve collected some of the main reasons why churches don’t set up accounts below, with the counter-arguments:
It’s free! You don’t need to pay any money to set up Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or any of the other major social media channels. (Whilst you can pay for advertising on Facebook and Twitter, you don’t need to and even if you want to it’s not too expensive)
It will take some time in the beginning to set up, but if you utilise some social media time savers, you definitely won’t need to spend all day doing it. It’s completely up to you how much time you spend looking after your social media accounts. Some people spend ten minutes a day, some spend an hour every other day. Sharing the load will also cut down the time you need to spend on it.
Twitter’s fastest growing demographic are users between the age of 55 and 64. You may be surprised how many of your congregation are already tweeting – do a quick survey to find out. On Facebook from 2011 to 2014, 12.4 million over-55s created new accounts, a rise of over 80 percent.
Admittedly, this could happen, but the chances are probably much lower than you think. There’s no need to be scared about people not agreeing with you online, but do have a firm policy in place for dealing with trolls which will mean you will be prepared just in case it does happen.
Though social media is great for directing traffic to your website, it’s so much more than that. Churches go into their local community to be where the people are and connect with them, and social media is an online community which churches should be a part of. You can not only get to know your congregation in a new way, but meet those who are interested in church, too.
There are some amazing stories of people connecting through social media, from long lost siblings reunited, to friends made and mountains moved, all through the power of social media . It really does happen, all you have to do is be bold and get involved.
It may take a bit of hard work at the beginning, but there’s plenty of social media help online (and you can always ask me for help!) Don’t forget the Church of England also runs social media training or you could speak to your diocesan communications officer who will be able to offer support and advice. It’s not as hard as it looks and the more you use it, the easier you’ll find it.
It may not be the perfect place for these things, but it’s a great place to get people talking, to give people a taste of what they can find in church. Social media isn’t a replacement for going to church, but it can be a place to show people just how interesting a church you are and share all the great stuff you are doing. Don’t forget, church isn’t about one day a week, it’s about what you are doing every day of the week and social media is a perfect place to show that.
Have I missed one from the list? If I have, let me know in the comments.