Check the striking message of the pie chart in the infographic below, based on a study by Buzzplant. Admittedly, the polled sample of churches was relatively small, and only in one country.
But… see how they claim that social media was twice as effective as any other means of connecting to the wider community. OK, this raises questions as to how those churches are using social media, and what factors were used to measure the perceived effectiveness.
But I don’t find it surprising, because social networking is by definition relational and conversation-based, the very elements which are almost always integral to effective evangelism and relationship-building.
The 5 ‘ifs’
There are surely some ‘if’ conditions* to doing this effectively:
- if the church has a social networking strategy that is outsider-focused, and is not just for internal communication to members
- and if a majority of church members are using Facebook (or other social media) and ensuring many of their FB friends are not-yet Jesus-followers
- and if most of their posts are not insider churchy stuff or off-putting opinions, and include areas of secular or local common interest
- and if members understand why and how to be non-preachy, sensitive, and conversational
- and if members’ Facebook posts, a church’s Facebook presence, and an outsider-friendly church website are all integrated in an agreed and widely understood strategy
… then in aggregate they could be engaging with the majority of the people in the community, as friends, or friends-of-friends.
This has never been possible before. Ever.
Churches, both through their official Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages, and through individual members’ social networking, can have a huge impact using social networking. Start planning now how to do this effectively! Consider adding Pinterest to the social networking mix – increasing numbers of churches are finding this effective.
Understand also how different areas of church communication should integrate, as this graphic ▶
and the related article from OurChurch.com explain.
See also these free ebooks:
- Step by Step Guide to Develop Church Web Strategy
- Effective Church Websites for Emerging Generations
- More free e-books covering church and digital ministry
Another great resource to help you: Internet Toolbox for Churches. Follow their tweets, subscribe to the newsletter, and listen to the regular podcast. David Hakes offers much wise advice on being outsider-friendly. Dave’s story tells how and why he started Toolbox.
Your say – tell your story
Please share in our comment section your church’s experience of using social networking effectively. What are the problems? How do you plan a strategy? Communicate it to the fellowship? Have you appointed a digital advocate or coordinator? What would help you do these things more effectively?