2020. What a year.
For most churches, it’ll either go down as the year that they started their social media channels, or the year that they really put a ton of effort into it…because they had to. Even if your church didn’t shut down in-person services for at least a few weeks, there’s no doubt that your church most likely started a virtual Bible study, explored live-streaming to social channels, or at least threw up a couple graphics to keep the church engaged.
But while most churches increased their online efforts in 2020, a few absolutely nailed it. One of the best things you can do for your digital growth is to develop a strong church social media strategy; when executed, it can cause your visibility to explode.
Below are some of the ones that we saw here at Diakonos that took advantage of a difficult situation. If you can think of some more (or just want to humble-brag on your own), put it in the comments below!
Regular posting is one of the principles of a strong social media game, and when you couple that with live video, the effect can be powerful. At the beginning of the pandemic, the three preachers at Castleberry decided to start a daily devotional to help keep the members engaged, called “New Every Morning.”
As the title implies, every morning, one of the them will hop on Facebook live and lead a short devotional from wherever they happen to be – their office, backyard, or even their car. It’s a great way to show how the Gospel integrates with everyday life, and an even better way to keep God’s people in God’s Word.
Full disclosure: The Loop 287 church is one of the first churches that we ever started working with, but the credit for the growth goes largely to their evangelist, Kyle Campbell. At the beginning of 2020, they started with just under 500 likes on their page. By the end of the year, they had skyrocketed to over 1,400.
Even though Facebook “likes” can be a sort of “vanity metric” (numbers that look good but don’t actually mean much), they’re still a great indication of growth, provided that they accrue naturally. In the Loop’s case, it was a mixture of regular, dynamic posting, invites from members, and live video done by Kyle. The combination of those three practices helped balloon their engagement and reach, which is still growing today.
The University church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama, is, as you might expect, a college town. Their membership jumps from around 150 in the summer to around 240 during the school year, which means they have a ton of young people to augment any evangelistic efforts they pursue.
One way that they decided to utilize these assets during the pandemic was by having the young men from the congregation do a weekly devotional. Each one of these videos is around 4-8 minutes in length, and is recorded by the member and then uploaded to the church’s Facebook page. It’s a great way to not only use the resources that they are blessed with, but also amplify the reach by the members sharing these different videos to their personal pages.
Curiously enough, East Shelby doesn’t have a public Facebook page (although they do have a private group for members, which is a great step). What they do have is a robust Youtube channel, with 300 subscribers – not bad for a relatively new channel. Their evangelist, Ryan Goodwin, has put a lot of work into developing this medium, doing regular video series that are well-thought out and well-produced. They also stream all their services live to the channel, and have hundreds of views with every service.
Mark Roberts is no stranger to social media; in fact, he’s been doing daily Bible reading on the Westside page even before the pandemic. But where Westside excelled this year was in taking one of their keystone events – the annual Youth Lectures, attended by hundreds of people every year – and turning it into a completely online forum.
Instead of cancelling the event, like a lot of us did, they asked attendees to submit questions ahead of time. Then, during the Friday night of when the lectureship would have started, the speakers sat on the stage of the Westside building and answered several submitted questions. It was fun, it was engaging, but it was also interactive, which is what social media is really all about. You can watch the event here.
A huge shout out to all these churches for making the most of a difficult year. Hopefully these ideas have spurred you on to think of ways you can help the church where you’re at excel in 2021!