We try so hard to use social media for church only to get no attendance boost on Sunday…so what’s wrong with social media?
In today’s episode, Jonathan Malm stops by to enlighten us that it may not be the problem with social media, but how we use it.
About Our Guest: Jonathan Malm
Jonathan’s a creative entrepreneur and author. He owns and runs SundaySocial.tv, a company that helps churches engage with their communities on social media. And he’s written multiple books, including Unwelcome and the soon-to-release Baker Books title, The Come Back Effect.
Find out more about Jonathan at https://jonathanmalm.com
TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)
There are a lot of people trying to tout social media as a witnessing platform. Many churches are finding little success using social media to get more people to church. But Jonathan thinks this strategy is misusing social media.
There are really only 2 kinds of people that follow you on social media:
The people that go to the church down the road (and follow to see what you’re doing).
And the people that already go to your church or have been to your church before.
So if you’re trying to witness ask your social followers to come to church, you’re really preaching to the choir.
What People Really Want From Your Church On Social Media
Jonathan has a fantastic way of vetting people who ask to friend him on Facebook. He looks at their latest 5 posts and if they’re anything about MLM (multi-level marketing), he doesn’t accept the friend request. He knows that they are only interested in one-way communications.
It’s the same idea when you ask someone to follow your church on social media. If you put yourself out there but your posts are only about you and what you’re asking for, people won’t be interested. There won’t be anything in it for them.
That’s why Wendy’s is so popular on Twitter. They make it fun to follow them.
So when you’re making posts on social media, go for posts that are fun, entertaining, encouraging, and inspirational. The things that you give on Sunday morning can carry on throughout the week. We don’t sit in church for 2 hours of announcements, so don’t let announcements be the only thing on your social.
So What Should You Post On Social Media For Church?
In short, take what’s applicable on Sunday and carry it throughout the week.
Most churches will have 1 hour out of the week with their congregation (and that’s if they come every week). So the key is to take that one hour of content and expand it throughout the week.
We spend a lot of time on a 30-minute sermon, but when only one-third of your congregation is present, we need to shift importance from the live sermon to where people are every day of the week, social media!
Plus, when you add value to people’s lives every day, they will come back on Sunday Morning.
Sunday morning is not the end of the week, it’s the start. Your sermon is the catalyst when using social media for church. Take your sermon points/themes/thoughts and reiterate them throughout the week. When you supplement like this the conversation doesn’t end at noon on Sunday. The idea and encouragement continue to speak into your congregations every day.
Is There Such A Thing As Too Much?
One concern with this continuing strategy is overwhelming your followers. But ask yourself this question, “if my favorite TV show was on every day, would I watch it?” Most people will answer that as long as it’s good, they’ll watch.
So as long as your church content is relevant and speaking to where people are, they will want more. Not only that, but people need to hear something multiple times before they get it. They might not even consider the application of the sermon idea until they hear it several times. And you can present one idea in several ways to reach those who might have missed it the first time.
Why Spend So Much Time On Social Media If We’re Not Inviting To Church?
When your leadership asks this question, it can create a lot of tension and hesitation with carrying out your social media goals.
But your pastor and leadership do have more desires than just butts in seats. Your leadership also wants more people reading scripture or even just think about God during the week. So you can show them that using social media for church helps with that!
Yes, Sunday morning service is important because there are things happening that can’t happen on social media. But the best use of Sunday morning is shared community experience of doing church together. People can get the best sermons and teachings anywhere at any time now. So let’s focus Sunday morning on the community first. Then social media can supplement that experience and carry it throughout the week with teaching, inspiration, encouragement and more.
Using social media for church means less asking and more giving. Don’t think about what your social media followers can give to you, but what you can give to your followers using social media.
Understand that people follow you for inspiration and encouragement, not to be promoted to (no one cares for that anywhere). Give them more of what they want like engaging questions, discussion, resources, and inspiration to get through the week.
As long as you’re valuable, people will follow you and engage with your content. So think about what people want to see. Then you can post daily to speak into people’s lives without worry.
And when you speak into people’s lives, they want to invest more to see what else you have for them. When you show you care throughout the week, they’ll check you out on Sunday. So don’t worry about blatant Sunday invites.
Does this change your strategy using social media for church? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!
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