How to Use Social Media for Greater Ministry Effectiveness
In my last post we discussed the necessity of social media for ministry growth; not just leading people to a building but to a relationship or greater relationship with Christ and greater fellowship with each other. Social media is not the ONLY way to do that but it offers the tools to help. In this post I want to follow up with SPECIFIC ways to do that. But before I go into “specifics” let me lay some groundwork:
- It starts with the top: Ultimately, it is leadership that sets the culture of an organization (or ministry)–whether that culture be progressive or not it starts with the top. If the leadership is not sold on social media the ministry will not benefit from it.
- Social media is a tool of ministry, not its “savior”: Many ministries struggling often see this technology as a haymaker shot: “If we get on board technologically speaking, that’ll save us.” Technology doesn’t save ministries great leadership with purpose does. Technology that’s used in line with a core purpose will always bear more fruit than technology that’s used for the sake of being used.
- Social media efforts must be measured: Sometime ago E-marketer released a survey where 84% said that they don’t measure any type of social media ROI. This is astounding considering the fact that social media allows us to better track our efforts. Granted, some things can’t be measured but there are things that can–track the things that can.
Social media and ministry
So without further ado here they are: some strategies that can enhance ministry effectiveness.
- Use Facebook ads: Paul Steinbrueck recently recalled how his church used this to advertise their past Christmas play. The ad was run for 9 days prior to the weekend of the performances. Over that time, it was displayed 900,000 times and clicked on 600 times. Total cost of the ad campaign was about $475. Wow!
- Consider a blog-centric strategy: Some ministries have different ministries that do different things at different times. A blog-centric strategy allows the church to have a main blog and each ministry to have a blog. Feedburner is set up for each blog, so people can get info from whatever blog they want.
- Launch a Facebook Campus: That’s what Central Christian church did. Following their mission of “connecting the unconnected” they launched the campus and hold services 7 times a week. The Church partnered with Plainjoe studios and Facebook to develop the campus after positive responses from its year-old online campus. Launched in September, the inaugural service of the Facebook campus saw more than 450 attendees from around the world comprised of a wide variety of demographics.
- Listen: Granted, social media gives us a bigger microphone to speak from it also gives us a greater opportunity to listen to what’s being said. You remember the saying: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In this new era of social media, we’re being asked to be more transparent and personal–its our job to make sure people know HOW MUCH we care.
- Show who’s using it: Mickey Mellen (follow him @mickmel) gave an example of how his church does it.
- Got an event? Promote it through Tweetvite: Tweetvite allows you to create events specifically designed for Tweetups (or “meet ups” that use Twitter). Its free and offers a fully search able listing of upcoming Tweetups (should you want to get out the house). You can sign up through your Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace account; it allows you to map the location of the tweetup; and you can use your own URL. It’s great for informal get-togethers outside of of church as well.
The end of the matter
I must admit, there are endless ways to use technology for ministry. But the one criteria is this: it must be used prayerfully and purposefully.
We as believers have an obligation to “redeem the times”? Or as Paul said, “Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity.” [1 Colossians 4:5 The Message)
And truth of the matter is, the "traditional church" is on its deathbed.The times have changed and will continue to change...but our Message never will. This new landscape presents us with new opportunities. But, its only an opportunity to those who see it as such.
Bio: Mike Holmes is the author of I Shall Raise Thee Up: Ancient Principles for Lasting Greatness. He’s also a blogger that writes on leadership development from a Biblical perspective. It’s leadership by the Book! When he’s not writing blogs or speaking he can be found writing bios in the third person. Check out his website/blog here.