Different churches take different approaches to Social Media. Some have single channels for every piece of online communication, but we’ve taken the approach to let all of our small groups, and departments in the church have their own independent Social Media Channels. For consistency, and to maximize effectiveness, we created a Social Media Policy.
I hope that the information we’ve created in ours helps you in developing and deciding what’s most effective for your church. Be ready to revise as different leaders ask new questions, and ask Social Media channels change their features (I’ve made 21 revisions to ours!)
Life Church Social Media Policy:
Each Channel on Social Media that represents a group within Life Church may be the first (or only) interaction someone has with Life Church. Here are some ideas and resources to maximize the impact of our Social Media Strategy: Brand Strategy, How to Maximize Engagement, Avoiding Common Traps and Image resources you can use.
1) Life Church Name & Logo: The circle icon may not be your profile picture. This must be reserved for the Life Church page, however, include Life Church in the name of your page or group and use our logo in your image. It needs to be clear that you’re a part of Life Church. If you need help creating an image with the Life Church Logo for your Social Media Profile, please request help.
2) Will this information help someone Encounter God or Experience Life? If the answer is no, it’s not going to help us move the culture of Life Church forward. No one’s goal is to detract from the culture we’re creating. If your post draws unwanted attention (even if the content 100% accurate) and may take substantial time to manage and explain, something as public as social media representing Life Church isn’t the place for it.
3) Point to Life Church often: Share a picture or video that is posted on the Life Church Facebook page, retweet service quotes, or generate your own quotes and tag @LifechurchFMY. Tag @LifeChurchFMY in your Facebook posts so they appear on our Facebook page too. Ask people on your page how they heard about Life Church, where they serve at church and encourage them to join us for weekend services. Use the resources at the bottom of this page that are branded with our logo.
1) Use Images: Images have a higher level of interaction than text or video updates. Quotes from a recent message are great way to build an image. (Click here for some quote ideas) Next is Video – not shared as often, but sometimes the best way to communicate information in a short period of time.
2) Ask Open Ended Questions: People love sharing their opinion. Rather than just broadcasting one-sided information “This week we talked about XYZ” instead try “What did you take home this week?” to start a conversation.
3) Engage in conversation: If someone answers or asks a question on your page, respond right away. (According to a recent poll from Facebook on fan engagement, people anticipate receiving an answer within 1 hour of asking on Social Media… Make it a goal, but not a rule. You have a life outside of Facebook too.)
4) Mix It Up: If you’re always posting the same message, followers will start to tune you out, or unfollow. Add in a comic that people can relate to, link to an article that relates to your current topic or demographic and point to things on LifeChurch.net like Live Broadcasts, Video On demand from current series or the online calendar for upcoming events.
5) Use a Hashtag to group thoughts: If your topic includes something that ties in with our current series, use the hashtag to connect the thoughts, or if it’s simply inviting people to #LifeOnFriday or #LifeOnSunday for example. (Side note: #LifeOnFriday and #LifeOnSunday are the names we’ve given to our weekend services: Fridays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 10am.)
Common Traps on Social Media:
1) Posting Frequency: Posting too much or too little will disengage followers. This is an issue more with Facebook. With Twitter, you can post much more frequently for the same impact. Rather than focussing on posting multiple things at one time, click the drop down arrow on your Facebook status box and click the “Schedule” option. You can schedule a few posts through the week and they’ll appear even if you’re not logged in.
2) Temperature Rising: Some people chose to use Social Media as a place to vent a frustration or share an opposite opinion. If this happens, respond promptly and positively. If their comments continue to escalate, or the comment is not appropriate, delete the conversation, delete the post and reach out to that person with a private message (of course, use your discretion.) At any time you can let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org about an incident on Facebook that may affect a Life Church member so we can address it with leadership after you’ve connected privately with that person.
3) Be aware of who you’re endorsing. Sharing a post or quote is an endorsement at some level, and since your page is representing Life Church, this is can look like an endorsement from Life Church. A writer or speaker’s perspective can cover a large range of topics. Even if you’re posting a link to a blog post that is entirely accurate, it may lead the visitor to click on other articles from that author. Will that secondary information accurately represent Life Church also?