We are to equip the saints (Eph 4:11-12) to do the work of sharing the message of Christ. Social media - and YOU - are the most effective ways to reach out with popular technology. Read this article to learn exactly how this can be achieved!
HOW TO MARKET YOUR CHURCH FOR GROWTH USING SOCIAL MEDIA
The BEST use of social media by the church is for the church to encourage and equip their members to use their own personal social media sources to reach their friends and family with information about God, the church and what their faith means to them!
How? There are many, many ways. I know of one church that taught (equipped) their members in special classes on how to share their testimony about finding and accepting Christ in a couple of minutes. After the class was over, those attending were given the opportunity to have a staff person videotape their testimony so they could put it up on YouTube. Of course, once it is up on YouTube, they could send it out via Twitter, post it to their Facebook or Google+ account, etc.
Even if you want to "market" a new ministry opportunity that your church is launching, encouraging your members to share it on their social media source will be a much smarter marketing plan than getting people to "like" the church page (see my article on "Why Facebook Doesn't Work" in this issue. You just need to provide the information with a link (create a video on YouTube, post a blog, add a page to your Website, etc.) and then send the link (via email, in your church bulletin, etc.) and ask your members to use one of the many social media sources. This is much better than having the church staff try to use social media to promote a specific ministry. First, people are much more apt to pay attention to something if it comes from a friend than if it comes from a church. Second, there are a growing number of social media sources. It is almost impossible for a church to maintain a great Website, Facebook site, Google+ site, Twitter postings, Pinterest, etc. By creating the source of the information and pushing it to your congregation in media methods that work better than social media, you depend on them to push it out to their friends and family in the social media methods that they are using!
This doesn't mean that you can't use Facebook, Twitter and other social media sources. I believe every church should have a Facebook account. People are searching Facebook for information as much as they are searching for Websites. So, in addition to your church having a website, they should have a site on Facebook for those seeking information about the church, times of your services, directions, what to expect as a first time visitor, etc.
And, while trying to get thousands of people to follow you on Twitter, posting content and assuming they will see it (because only a small fraction really will), you can use Twitter sort of like you used to use email, only for many, Twitter is cooler. Because of hashtags (#), you can ask people to tweet using a hashtag, and it is easy to quickly find their tweet, or all of the tweets, that used that hashtag. How can you take advantage of this? Recently while doing a live radio show on Moody (the Chris Fabry show), a caller reported that his church, First Baptist of Orlando, encourages those attending worship to use Twitter to send tweets to their pastor with questions (normally about that morning's sermon). The pastor then takes about 10-15 minutes at the end of the service to read some of the questions and answer them. This is important because it not only uses social media (Twitter), but it builds upon the very reason social media is so successful.