Life

Social media
Church growth can depend a great deal on how you handle social media. (iStock photo)

Information is advancing daily on a global stage through the connectivity of the Internet. Email, blogs and social platforms contribute to the viral spread of content in real-time to shape culture, capture polarized opinions and broadcast the news of "right now" to the ends of the earth.

On Facebook alone, there are 1.3 billion active users who log in monthly to read news, connect with friends and share relevant content. People are not only getting information online but they are living their lives there as well, and the church can be a part of the conversation.

Here are seven ways you can leverage social media this week to help your church grow:

1. Be an active part of the conversation on social media platforms. Before stepping foot into your building, people get their first impression of your church online. If your social media platforms are empty or haven't posted anything new for months, people will think your message is out of date too!

2. Contribute content worth sharing. We're all strolling around the Internet asking, "What's in it for me?" while hunting the funniest video, the latest controversial article or the cutest picture of puppies we can find. Once we do, what's next? We share it! People share content that moves them, and creating content that stirs emotion takes effort.

Social content is often visual so think about how you can leverage what you're creating for Sundays or midweek services that will empower and encourage your fans to continue conversations around what Jesus is doing in your church in their social circles. Short tweets, sermon recap videos and content formatted for phones can be great content that's easy to share.

3. Answer questions people are asking. Everyone is asking three questions: What happened? What's happening? What's next? If you're not answering one of these three basic questions about your church on a daily basis, you're missing a great opportunity to contribute to the conversation online and in the workplace.

4. Know your audience and the platform. All social media platforms are not created equal. Posting the same message on all the different social media outlets is like using a hammer to put screws in the wall or painting with a fork—it may get the job done, but it's not the best way. Know who's there and why they are there. Then, craft your message and communication specifically for them.

5. Listen to the conversation. Broadcasting information but not engaging in conversation is like holding up protest signs in a public place but never speaking to the people around you ... it's just stupid! Similarly, hijacking conversations instead of participating in them is rude in real life and in the Internet too.

6. Provide excellent customer service. Excellent customer service lets your audience know that you're listening. And, when they know you're listening to them, they'll listen to you. You are the expert for your organization. If someone asks a question on your Facebook page or tweets it @you, let them know they matter by answering it in a timely manner.

7. Empower your staff and volunteers. One of the greatest ways your church can reach people in your community is by empowering staff and volunteers to share their stories and connect with others. Gather your church's leaders and volunteers and teach them to share their story. Then as they live their life and faith online it will naturally point people to Jesus and let your area know that your church is a place where people can grow in a community.

Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. The church averages 25,000 people during weekend services at multiple campuses throughout the state. Perry is a gifted communicator and teacher, convicted about speaking the truth as plainly as possible. God has given him a vision and a passion for helping people meet Jesus, and each week he shares God's Word and its practical application in our daily lives.

For the original article, visit perrynoble.com.

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