Many nonprofits use social media to promote their goals, programs, and missions, but what about churches? A recentBuzzPlant survey shows that 51 percent of churches said that at least one of their senior staff regularly blogs or updates social media. The survey also shows
that 46% of churches stated social media s their most effective method of outreach over every other form of communication including television, radio, newspapers, and knocking on doors.
The benefits of establishing a group on a social networking site for a local church can greatly increase the church’s visibility on the Internet. The church’s website can provide links to other media platforms so the audience has a “one-stop” shopping experience. The key to maintaining successful social media is to engage with the audience frequently and update information often.
The primary audience of religious nonprofit social media is anyone and everyone. The information is for members and nonmembers a like, however, most religious organizations are looking to reach out to “unbelievers.” Regardless, communication between members, nonmembers, and senior members of the church is key for a successful organization and social media experience.
A local church in Morgantown does a good job at reaching out to both it’s members and nonmembers. Crossraods Church in Westover, WV, has a website with links to a Facebook and Twitter page which provides information, links, updates, photos, and more to both members and nonmembers of Crossroads church. Most of the website explains the church’s theology, what they believe, and how to get involved. Therefore, this website is more for the non-member.
The interesting thing about Crossroads is it provides it’s own social media network called “The City” for it’s members and regular attendees. The City is a social networking site for any church, but tailors specific sites to specific churches. This is not only a phenomenal idea, but allows for communication daily between the members of the church that are most interested in promoting the mission of the church and inviting new members. Each account holder makes a profile similar to Facebook with a profile picture option and an about me section option. In addition, there are places where prayer and need requests can be posted as well as questions and general discussions. The two-way internal communication that can result from a social media platform can be essential to meeting their vision, “We love Jesus. We love our city. We want the two to meet.”
Using social media platforms both internally and externally can be helpful for religious organizations. When you’re reaching out to an audience that primarily uses the Internet or does not attend church regularly, you must find creative, innovative ways to share your message. Ringing doorbells just annoys people and takes away their willingness to listen to what you have to say. There’s a fine line between using social media to educate and create awareness and using social media to be annoying. People don’t want religion shoved down their throat, but often they are interested in what you have to say. Finding the balance between the two is crucial for success.