How To Use Twitter When Promoting Your Church Online
Social Media is not just a tool for brands and businesses to market themselves. Social Media can be a great tool for churches and congregation. A good Social Media strategy can help you to stay in touch with your congregation, to reach out to potential members, and to make sure the seats at your church stay full each Sunday. This is why many churches across the nation have established a Facebook page, along with other social media platforms such as Twitter, to expand and communicate with their flock. Twitter and Facebook are great places to reach out to your flock, but they work in different ways. Twitter is best for real-time communication as well as for broadcasting. It’s also a great place to get to know potential congregants, so if your church is not currently on Twitter, you’re missing out on opportunities to grow your community and do some good. This is why it is so important to have a Twitter Strategy For Churches.
Twitter Strategy for Churches
Being aware of what people are saying about your church is imperative. Social media will allow you to be aware of what is being said about (and around) your ministry in real time. This will permit the church to address unanswered questions or any confusion over the church’s policies, post information about upcoming events and encourage more involvement from the congregation. You can use a dashboard like Socialdraft to make sure you miss nothing that is said about your church on Social Media.
But just creating a social media presence with a Twitter account and other social media platforms does not ensure success. The key for churches to successfully reach out to members, and grow and strengthen their congregation with social media is by supplying constant updates about events and news, along with photographs and videos to keep people engaged, and promote a high level of interactivity.
In a previous article, we supplied basic tips on how churches can get the most out of Social Media and Reputation Monitoring, because there’s more involved than just creating social media accounts. You need to seed them, nourish them, and harvest them. In this article, we’ll explore ideas for Twitter Strategy for Churches.
Update Twitter On A Regular Basis
As with Facebook, engagement is the key with Twitter and constant exposure with regular updates encourages people to get involved. Tweets should consist of info related to Church members, but tweets should also be geared toward people that do not currently attend your church. Updating regularly cannot be stressed enough since people will actually unfollow you for lack of interest if they don’t see a tweet for 3-7 days. We don’t expect you to be as active as Lakewood Church (they are tweeting on the hour), but a minimum of 3 times a day is a safe number of tweets to start with. As you play with the system you will figure out the right rhythm for your congregation.
Craft a plan on tweets. Your content should follow the 80/20 rule (80% non-promotional). In order to achieve this, you can utilize a mix of evergreen content and interactions. Evergreen content is basically stuff that does not go out of date. Some ideas for your evergreen content can be:
- Bible Verses
- Inspirational Content
- Blog content (yes, you should be blogging too)
The great thing about evergreen content on Twitter is that you can repeat it. Why? Because Twitter works as a constant stream and your congregants probably won’t be on it all day. This means that the person who sees that Bible verse on Monday at 8 am is not the same person who is logging on on Tuesday at 1 pm. You can use Socialdraft’s duplicate feature to easily repurpose your evergreen tweets.
Once you’ve scheduled your evergreen content for Twitter, you can begin to work on your promotional content. Things that are important to your congregants and those who may join. This can include content such as:
- Times for services
- Charity events
- Information on your pastor or priest
- Celebrations (tweet special events for your flock, weddings, baptisms, etc…with their permission of course).
Follow first, but be selective. Don’t just follow indiscriminately hoping to gain more followers. Using bots can land you in hot water if you end up following unsavory accounts. If you enjoy what others are saying re-tweet them. By re-tweeting others, you will attract people who are interested in what you tweet. You can retweet congregation members, your pastor, and other inspiring people
Reply to Comments & Questions
If someone is engaging you, it is civilized and good social media policy to reply to their comments. Replying to others demonstrates that you care and are interested in exchanging information with your followers, and those that may potentially follow you. This is the same as if someone walked up to you after service and started a conversation. You would not leave them standing there talking to themselves.
Engage With The Congregation
Use Twitter as an extension of your faith and service. Engage with those who follow you by asking and answering questions, making informed comments, and by adding a touch of humor now and then. Answer questions promptly and if you receive a compliment, reply and say thank you. If you see someone is in trouble, reach out and offer help. It sounds simple, but you need to respond to those who engage you because using Twitter is like a church picnic. First, you claim your spot in the park (your Twitter handle), then you set up the table & decorations (add your profile image & header), and then you stock picnic supplies (tweets, images, videos). When you are done with that is when the fun begins. You can’t expect people to come to the picnic and start talking to you, and then you not responding.
Use Custom Hashtags
Hashtags are like SEO for social media. They help your content (in this case tweets) to be found. Hashtags can serve a separate purpose. They can brand your church and work as a community building tool.
Custom Hashtags: Come up with your own hashtag for your church. Make it something short and easy to remember so that your flock can easily use it when tweeting about your church.
Event Hashtags: Also create custom hashtags for events. Make sure these are included in photos of the event that are tweeted. Your members will love to click that hashtag and relive the moments spent with the community.
Geo-Targeted Hashtags: Add hashtags to your city or neighborhood. This will help you to reach those that are within your geographical area.
How Socialdraft Can Manage Your Church’s Social Media Campaign
Socialdraft’s Bookmarklet for your browsers lets you grab content you love and pop into our easy scheduler so you can share immediately or schedule it in the future. There’s no need to open up our app, copy links, or jump through hoops to share content. When you see something that you think will speak to your congregation, simply click the bookmarklet and schedule the post.
We also recommend that you set up a bitly. It’s a URL shortener, and since real estate is so important when you need to communicate in only 140 characters, every letter you save leaves more space for your actual content. On top of that, Bitly gives you awesome analytics…so you can get a better idea of what is/is not working.
And, if something happens to change…like an event is postponed to another day, you can use our easy to use drag & drop calendar. Simply drag & drop the post to a new date. No need to do major edits here.
Socialdraft SmartID is the best way to find Social Media influencers who are interacting with your message. They can be other congregations, bloggers or even podcasters. The key is how do you take action to reach out to the most influential people who interacted and shared your posts so that they continue to do so in the future?
Imagine that someone has liked your church’s post on Facebook. Facebook does not allow you to reach out to them to chat. With SmartID, you get information on their likes, interests, and we conveniently give you links to their social networks (like Twitter) where you can easily interact them and build that relationship.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH SOCIALDRAFT?
Sign up for Socialdraft.
We offer a risk-free trial so you can test us out and see if we’re a right fit for you. If you have non-profit status, you can even get a discount (Click here for info on that).
It’s simple and easy and if you need support, we’re ready to help you. Any questions or help you need is addressed here. We also offer one-on-one onboarding for all our users. That means we will walk you through the dashboard, show you all the features, and even give you ideas for your campaigns.
Do you want to increase your congregation? Do you feel the message of your Pastor and leader should share the “Word” via the digital battlefield? Try some of these tips and tell us what you think.