Everyone is talking about social media for churches. Small churches are trying to get on board and big churches are owning it. If you’re a small community church or if you’re a big religious organisation with multiple locations, you really should be using social media to promote your message.
Why should churches use social media? Because communication is changing and embracing technology more and more. And churches can use this to their advantage. Going to church every Sunday is great, but it would only be great for the people that’s there.
By using technology and social media churches can reach people all over the world. Technology has removed the need to be physically present.
Changing communication also means that some methods of communication has lost its effectiveness (e.g. postal letter) because newer technologies are more efficient and much quicker (e.g. Facebook Instant Message). The best thing about using social media for church is that most people are already active there everyday.
In case you’re wondering…
Yes, social media is a good idea for churches
I can go into a million reasons about why social media for churches are a great idea, but we will be here all day. Here’s the short version 👇
Think about the main goals of churches and religious organisations for a minute. It’s usually something along the lines of creating community, communicating a message and reaching people near and far. These goals are aligned with some of the aims of social media like: creating spaces for people to create communities, giving a platform for people to communicate and providing the tools to reach out to people.
Taking that into consideration, using social media for churches = a platform to reach people with your message and draw them into your community and fellowship.
Churches owning Facebook
They’re the worship ministry of Bethel Church so their social media is optimized for promoting their music and tour dates. They have a full tour date calendar and link to their website for ticket sales.
How Bethel Music owns their FB page:
- Events -they use the ‘event’ feature to create separate pages for their concerts. They travel around the US so this also acts as a tour calendar for their fans.
- Shop – they use the ‘shop’ feature to catalogue and sell their merchandise, the checkout page is linked to their website. To shop their music, they post links to their website or streaming services.
- Freebies – they post chord charts of their music so that worship teams everywhere can practice their music. That is super cool!
- Music -they REALLY promote their music. I’m talking graphics, short clips, full length music videos, lyrics, links to streaming services. All of that for one song, they are using social media to reach people.
- Scripture – they regularly post short scriptures
- Links – they post a lot of links to different platforms like: their blog, checkout pages for merch and music, YT channel and website.
By using a combination of photographs and beautiful graphics, this church has made their church social media page feel like scrolling through a friend’s newsfeed. Everything about their social media is aimed at young people, their colours, graphics, use of photographs, acronyms and even language use.
How Grace Chapel owns it:
- Announcements – they regularly post announcements of meetings and service dates but it always includes a photo. Who doesn’t like photo’s of people smiling?
- Sermon Summary – The main ideas of the message without scripture, the posts tell people to watch the full message on their YT channel.
- Graphics – Really cool graphics for their sermon series.
- Facebook Live – Every Sunday, they go live after the sermon and tell us what the message was, interview some members over coffee. It’s relaxed and fun to watch.
- Photos – Grace Chapel posts photos for days, but not all of them are posey-photos. It’s photos of people laughing and talking and photos of people worshipping. So it just seems like everyone is enjoying themselves there and you should have FOMO.
If I had a favorite, this would be it. They are like Social Media for Churches 101. Elevation Church is setting the bar *very* high with their church social media channels. They are the go-to source of inspiration for many church social media managers because their combination of content is cool. You won’t even realize its a church social media page until you start noticing all the scriptures or listen to the videos.
How Elevation Church owns Facebook:
- Standout – their Facebook cover looks like it was created in Word Art! So of course all the church social media managers went crazy for it (I saw it in groups), some hated it. Elevation Church is super retro and people are loving them for their boldness.
- Shop – they use the ‘shop’ feature to promote and sell their merchandise. It’s a lot of merch though – from kids clothing to caps and mugs. This is like social media for churches X100.
- Groups – because they are a multi-campus church, they also use their church social media pages to post about the other locations and groups. You can even join those groups from the main church social media page.
- Memes – everyone loves a good meme. And Elevation Church knows it! They post funny church related memes with funny captions asking you to do something, like tag your crush, tell us your favorite worship song etc.
- Quotes and sayings – they post a lot of quotes, that’s not bible scriptures. Like everyday things that you can identify with and this makes their page so relatable.
- Videos – lots and lots of videos of Pastor Steven Furtick preaching, giving his punchline, worship songs and more. They’re usually short videos with a link to their YT channel for the full video.
A little bit of everything. That’s what you’ll find on Fresh Life’s church social media pages. But it is very cohesive and visually appealing because they seem to understand the ratio between graphics/photographs and text. They also don’t do information overload, they post 1-2 times a day.
Fresh Life Church owns Facebook by:
- Not posting too much – some churches post ALL day long. But Fresh Life only posts 1-2 times a day and it’s never a lot of text, instead they link out to their other channels and website.
- Posting Scripture – they post it regularly, but its almost always one sentence long.
- Sharing pictures of community – they share pictures of their members and community events, as well as behind the scenes photo’s which are pretty cool
- Embracing national holidays – because they are based in the US, they make an effort to promote important events/holidays like Superbowl Sunday and Martin Luther King Day.
Churches owning Instagram
- FREE wallpapers in their highlights! First time I’ve seen a church do that.
- Lots of pictures of church members acting silly
- Great shots of their church services in action – with the worship team on stage and the audience worshipping.
- They don’t use a lot of graphics, which makes their feed more ‘human’ that any other feed I came across. They are all about pictures and videos of real people, which is refreshing.
- Discovery Church posts picture and updates of all their ministries but its organised well, so you are not left confused.
- In their highlights, they invite you to dinner parties around NYC. Quick example of how churches can use social media to create community!
- They use a lot of videos – short clips of sermons and even videos inviting you to church events like Galentine’s (Valentine’s day event girls only). Also, they have really good music in the background.
- Because C3.NY is in NYC, they post a lot of pictures of the neighborhoods, bridges and buildings around the city. So beautiful. They caption it with an announcement or invite or the vision of their church.
- They don’t use graphics, I scrolled and scrolled and gave up. They only use pictures and sometimes, it will have text over it. But never graphics with bold colors and shapes.
- Everyone’s heard of Hillsong. If you see their social media, you will know why. Their official Instagram is a collection of international events, projects and services.
- They use Instagram TV to promote their conferences worldwide
- They use their church social media to raise awareness to crises like the Australian Bushfires.
- They use a lot of graphics but they are spaced out between photo’s and videos on their feed, making it visually appealing
- They post lots of videos of their worship and if you know about Hillsong know their music very famous.
- They have a playlist highlight where you can find music and their church members doing challenges to the songs.
- Their feed is so modern and fresh, it looks like a 20 something year old influencer’s feed (in a good way!). Real engaging content.
- They use Instagram TV to showcase all their events and events and to post snippets of sermons.
Social media for churches: best and bad practices
What to do:
Plan content– Social media for churches should be done on the fly, it requires planning ahead. That way, you can prepare the photos, graphics, captions, scriptures for the week. No scrabbling for a background or last-minute content
Use a content calendar – it helps you plan content, gives suggestions about what you should post and some calendars are downloadable so you can edit them offline.
Use a scheduling tool– Planning ahead means you can schedule your content! This is a lifesaver for so many reasons – its automated based on times and dates you choose.
Use all the tools/features of social media – try and use as many of the features that you can. There’s Facebook Live, Instagram TV, highlights on Instagram, stories on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook Shop, Location/Maps on Facebook, Events on Facebook. And new features are added every day. If you want to stay in the loop, you have to use the features of the platform.
Cross Promote – use you church social media pages to promote other church channels like the website, blog, YT channel etc. Also, cross promote different congregations/locations of the same church.
What not to do:
- Promote political agendas and controversial statements – your followers includes people of all backgrounds and the last thing you want is a heated debate and name-calling on the church social media page
- Promote a leader based on personality traits – it creates a culture and following around the person, rather than the church community itself
- Post anything that requires permission – especially photos of children, some people are sensitive about this
- Don’t post too often – once a day is more than enough. 3-4 times a week is also ok. Think quality over quantity
- Post too much of the same thing – Mix up your content, don’t stick to one type. Like don’t just post photographs, include some scripture and videos, polls and quotes.
- Don’t just post announcements (please!) -I’ve seen this too much, churches that use social media to just post announcements. Honestly, it makes for a very boring newsfeed.
Here’s an example of five days worth of content for a church Facebook page
Monday > Content Category: Sunday service recap
- Caption: How amazing was Sunday Service?! In case you couldn’t join us. Here’s a summary of the message
- Content: Recap of Sunday Service (main points of the message in text form) with a graphic of sermon title/picture/ short clip of pastor preaching). Link out to full sermon on YT/Instagram TV/ Website
Tuesday > Content Category: Small group promotion
- Caption: In church, we do LIFE together. Have you slotted into a life group near you?
- Content: Poster of locations of the individual life groups and contact details, link Life Groups website landing page
Wednesday > Content Category: Event
- Caption: We’re having our annual Easter pageant in two weeks! Check out some of the best dressed ladies from last year’s event
- Content: Photographs, link to event page
Thursday > Content Category: Scripture
- Caption: In preparation for Easter, we’d thought we should share a scripture a day about passover. Don’t forget to bookmark them for later reading.
- Content: 1 scripture
Friday > Content Category: Memes
- Caption: Friday is fun-day at YOURCHURCH offices, here’s some church memes that had us laughing today
- Content: funny church memes
BONUS 👉 content ideas for your church social media:
- Sermon Recap – Every Monday. Post videos, photos, quotes, scripture.
- Member Monday – feature members, pastors and leaders
- Testimony Tuesday – share testimonies of members (with permission)
- Word Wednesday – share a scripture
- A message from the pastor – a motivational message from the lead pastor (video/text)
- Inspirational quotes – from people inside and outside the church
- Bible study – Make a graphic with bible study tips/write a post about it
- Announcements – news, upcoming events and special services (link to website)
- Worship songs – create a bullet point playlist/ a link to a ready-made playlist onYT
- Graphics – use the monthly sermon series graphic as a background for quotes
- Prayer requests & praise reports – post them in a bullet list
- Go Live – quick interviews with members after church of what they enjoyed the most
Of course, you can decide what to post on which platform but the overall idea is that the church pages remain active and post consistently.
How often should you post on church social media pages??
You have to find the balance between consistency and becoming overbearing. If your church has a lot to share, then once a day is perfect. The examples used earlier posts 1-2 times a day on average. The thing is – if you’re posting daily it has to be quality and relevant content. And you will have to post different types of content – that way people are seeing something different every day.
If you’re a smaller church, then you can post 3-4 times a week and be very effective. If you’re not posting on the feed every day, you should definitely post stories daily. A tip to use here is to collect content, like take lots of pictures on Sunday and space them out on your social media during the week. Repurposing content also works great if you can’t post new content every day.
If you’re using a scheduling tool like Postfity, posting to your church social media regularly is super convenient because you can plan your content using the free templates, you can schedule your posts at in advance and kinda forget about it, the scheduler gives awesome suggestions about what to post, based on what you’ve posted already and who your audience is. It is priced based on how many accounts you manage from it and it gives you access to metrics of how well your posts are doing. Looking at metrics helps you know what types of content are good and what’s not so great. Postfity also has an awesome blog with the latest trends and features of EVERYTHING social media.
Don’t forget to share this blog with your church social media team!