With millions of people attending some sort of weekly worship experience, you would think that the online phenomena of social media would be a natural go to spot for faith influencers. Well, it's not. At least not for many of them.
With church attendance on the decline (and weekly Saturday and Sunday morning Starbucks runs on the climb), I figure a few tips on how to socially re-engage folks might be helpful for open minded faith leaders to consider.
Developing Blog Topics
Be prepared to talk about the things that interest your community. People will want to know how your congregation influences difficult topics. Sex, drugs, politics and hip hop (rock and roll seems so clich) are safe places to start if you want to get out of the crowd just talking about familiar Bible stories. Share information on how people can improve their quality of life by meeting the challenges their peer groups or demographic faces.
Remember, your content is not only for your church folks, it's for the whole world, so the opportunities are great to connect on a range of ideas.
Use Google's Keyword Planning Tool to help you identify which keywords have the most relevant traffic. Ensure that you write for the audience you are targeting. Not everyone has graduated from a seminary or even visited a church. Here are some topic ideas:
- Teen peer pressure
- Dating tips for Single Fathers
- Coping With Divorce
- Where is God?
- Is Medicinal Marijuana Healthy?
Share Content From Weekly Sermons Online
Houses of worship are content generating machines. Every week a leader gets up and delivers a speech, sermon or soliloquy that has been thoughtfully prepared. They are usually full of great tips on how to be a better person. Why not share it? Here are some tips on how to do that:
Video Record the Weekly Sermon
Being able to extend your brand experience online via video is one of the most effective ways to retain mindshare with the external congregation you may not be reaching in the pews. Publish your content consistently and ensure that the video title is provoking, clear and convincing. Using what you learn from the Google Keyword Planning Tool, ensure that you tag the video with keywords that are, and have search interest volume. Here are some free video hosting and sharing platforms that are fantastic for sharing inspiring content:
- Social Cam
Publish a Podcast
Podcasting is super-duper easy for churches to do. You can repurpose the audio portion of your videos or record fresh audio content. Simply extract the audio portion from a video and save it in a format like MP3. You can also use your smartphone or digital recorder to document the presentations and prepare them for a podcast.
Podcasts are useful for fans of your assembly, if they have missed a service because they can listen while commuting during the week. It is also a reliable way for senior citizens who are shut in to stay connected to religious content from local faith leaders they trust.
If you have never produced a podcast before, you can save some time by learning about the 10 Common Podcasting Mistakes To Avoid.
The life of the church is more than a weekly sermon. Take pictures of people interacting in small groups, teaching sessions, sporting events and community initiatives. Designate department leaders to take pictures on their digital devices and send images to a central spot. There may be photo hobbyists in your congregation that may volunteer and can take higher quality shots that you can use. Put the word out and see what happens. Everyone can send in pictures via Dropbox, TheBox or simply an email address that is only used to receive images.
Remember seasonal holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve are fantastic times to capture visual content from plays, cantatas, children's' choirs and special guest speakers.
Don't worry about how professional the shot is. The most important thing is that you are consistently sharing the special moments with your social media audience and that you are visually engaging them with fresh content on sites like:
No matter your brand of faith, the one thing in common is the desire to connect and engage with people. Over time, you will perfect your style and find that your online audience will grow with you, respond to you and share your inspiring ideas.
- Practical: SEO for Church Websites
- Interesting: Church goers get their Twitter on in the St Paul's Church in England
- Off-site: LifeChurch.tv