Social media is still a new tool that many churches are using to reach people in their community. Like it is with anything new, mistakes are made along the way.
Most of the time, they are accidental and harmless, but sometimes they can really embarrass the church and, consequently, hurt the cause of Christ. What are these mistakes that churches make on social media? Here are just six of the most common ones:
1. Using poor grammar and spelling. You might think it would be standard procedure to check the spelling and grammar of social media updates, but it's not. While I understand the shelf life of a tweet or Facebook post is relatively short, we should still strive for excellence and display command of the English language.
2. Not getting permission to post pictures of kids at the church. This happens less frequently than the other mistakes, but the consequences usually include an irate parent. This is also very simple to avoid. At the very least, notify parents ahead of posting pictures of kids, or have them sign a waiver allowing the church to use pictures of their children. Proactive communication by the church often goes a long way to easing parental concerns.
3. Doing too much or too little. This mistake has much to do with strategy—or in this case a lack thereof. Not knowing what to post, when to post, and where to post can lead to less engagement by your audience online. A quick rule of thumb for church accounts: Try to keep Facebook posts to less than four per day and public tweets to no more than one every two hours.
4. Failure to use hashtags. If you're hosting an event or special service—or even a regular worship service with a sermon series name—brainstorm and use a hashtag that can be used to engage your audience more effectively. Some examples: #ChristmasAtTheMoon, #EasterAtTheBallpark, #MakeLifeMatter.
5. Posting inappropriate content. This is another mistake that seems obvious to avoid, but it's the one that can cause the most public problems. This is also another reason to have more than one administrator on every account. In most instances, the content is posted accidentally or is posted from the wrong account using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. The administrator may post something they meant to send from their personal account or in a text, and instead of going to one or just a few people, it goes to several hundred or several thousand. Mistakes happen, but extra care is also needed.
6. Not responding to questions in a timely manner. Want to give your church a bad reputation in the community? Don't respond to simple questions or requests from guests. Churches have a certain perception in their communities. When you are slow to respond or fail to do so altogether, you are telling people in the community that they don't matter to you.
I'm sure there are other mistakes to add to this list. What have you seen (or what have you done) that could be added?
Jonathan Howe serves as director of strategic initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of lifewaypastors.com. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.
For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.
NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.
The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.