Activating Worshipers Through Social Media

Credit: Poike / Thinkstock

Let’s talk about the audience and approaches for using social media to activate passionate worshippers of Jesus. While it can be daunting to dive into the ocean of social media platforms, the benefits are worthwhile. I share 5 reasons why worship leaders, church communicators, and cultural influencers should be activating worshippers through social media in part 1. If you’re ready to start with a plan and be consistent – read on.

The Audience

Each social media platform has a primary audience. If you want to connect with them in relevant ways, identify who you will be engaging. The types of content and language you share will vary based on your audience (i.e. information, a call to action, stories through images or video, etc.). Understanding your audience and the context of the platform will help you cultivate meaningful engagements. Here a few insights:

  • Facebook users show high engagement overall. If you had to choose just one platform this is it. Facebook now sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time. (TechCrunch)
  • Video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. (SocialMediaToday)
  • YouTube shouldn’t be ignored as it is sure to grow as the Vine dies.
  • 2nd most engaged network after Facebook is Instagram. Over 90% of people using Instagram are under the age of 35. With 60%+ of users logging in daily. (MediaKix)
  • People tend to use Twitter for news consumption and live event coverage.
  • Pinterest is riding the wave of mobile and finding popularity with creative types utilizing it for collaboration.
  • Snapchat is strong with teens interested in self-expression. But 50% of all new SnapChat user accounts belong to people over the age of 25. (MediaKix)

The Approach

It’s time to consider your approach now that you have a target audience. Your approach is the equivalent of your voice and personality in a conversation. It’s impolite to enter conversations shouting, right? Likewise, you can do more than inform people through social media. You should listen too. Kenny Jahng gives ample reason to stop using social media as a megaphone:

“You see, if you really want to engage your community, and if you really want to enrich their lives … And you want them to look at you as a meaningful member of that community, you will put down that megaphone and realize that there are many voices within your community worth listening to as well.”

Creativity and intentionality for your audience’s needs and interests will lead to deeper engagement. Here are some approaches for using social media to activate passionate worshippers of Jesus:

  1. Use hashtags. A good approach is to start by creating and consistently using a hashtag. Think #seedbed. It’s a rally point for followers and enables them to share their personal experience with the hashtag too. Another benefit is that this creates a digital archive for your church. You can search the hashtag to find the best videos and pictures from past posts to repurpose on your social media, church website, or old-school church bulletin. It’s a simple yet effective approach.
  1. Be social. Use your platform to intentionally listen, encourage, ask a question, and thank people. This means sharing your followers posts, blogs, and contributing to worship leader discussions. Rather than shouting your information, encourage those most excited in your church to tell their friends about you, tagging themselves at your church. Be willing to do the same in return. Most popular social media websites give you the option of sharing your location and linking to the account associated with your location.
  1. Give first. Avoid being a salesperson and offer your followers relevant content first. You have a valuable message to share with your audience but try sharing 5:1. What I mean is five free resources, links, or helpful articles for every one “ask”. What benefits you can offer your audience? Consider sharing the worship set list, set design tips, kids ministry how-to guides, pastor preparing tips, student outreach ideas, etc. Contrast the tone of these two posts:

(Ask) “Check out our 10am worship service this week!” – image of church building

(Give first) “Would you like to visit my church this weekend? Message me to save a seat! #yourchurch” – Behind the scenes video or image of worship rehearsal

Give first is a relational approach. You’ll have great success serving your followers than selling them.

  1. Maximize your platforms. Be selective in how you use platforms. This may mean focusing your efforts on a platform for a specific team or audience. They key here is to start with a plan and be consistent. What platform could help you creatively engage and activate worshipers on the team?
  • Facebook has tools to help nonprofits engage people in many different ways. Learn how to set up your page, add content followers want to see and build a strategy to help achieve your organization’s goals at https://nonprofits.fb.com.
  • YouTube and Facebook Live can do more than show your church service. Share a testimony or story, speak into community issues, share life-giving words through devotional thoughts, and celebrate volunteers in areas people may never see.
  • Instagram and Snapchat are popular because they are personal. Pull back the curtain midweek on rehearsals and staff meetings. Let this be an outlet of authenticity in your ministry. Allow students and volunteers to create and share short videos.
  • Collaborate using Pinterest boards with your creative team for stage design, storytelling, sermon series, and outreach ideas. Go broader and give Pinterest fans useful public boards to access resource links for small groups. Encourage pinners to share ideas with you and share the boards with their friends.
  • Consider using Twitter for co-songwriting with your worship team. Tap into your most passionate worshipers and ask them to share lyrics and scripture that God is using to speak to them.
  • Messenger (Facebook) and their counterparts are easy apps to keep in touch with your team. Slack is a more robust app for collecting ideas, story leads, new song picks, and prayer requests. Talk to the whole group or single out a member to check-in throughout the week.

Activate Worshipers

Each time you gather in person, are you building on momentum from meaningful engagements? Continue moving people from worship attenders to Jesus worshippers. As worship leaders, church communicators, and cultural influencers we can intentionally activate worshipers through social media engagement that inspires widespread and lasting change.

What other social media approaches have you found success using?

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