Church Social Media Strategy: The Right Way To Do Christian Social Media

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Since the advent of social media, we’ve lived in a world where relationships are just a click away. And yet, people nowadays are feeling more and more isolated.

So where do you and your ministry fit into this dilemma? Ministry leaders like you have the potential to give these people community and direction. However, ministry leaders often fall short of reaching the lost online because they miss the connection between social media and the church.

In this article, you will learn about Christian social media–not only will you discover the theory behind a good church social media strategy, but you will also learn practical applications that will help you become more effective in sharing your message online. 

What is Church Social Media?


Church social media is a term used to describe the process of churches using social media platforms (i.e. instagram for churches) to advance their ministry.

church social media strategy

It is sometimes referred to as Christian Social Media Marketing, because it can be a useful addition to your church marketing strategy.

However, this is where most people get it wrong–Social Media Marketing for churches is not sufficient marketing by itself. If it is not connected to an overarching church marketing strategy, then church social media will be a waste of resources. 

So how do we come up with a church social media strategy? 

Why Big Numbers Don’t Really Matter In Church Social Media Marketing

The first question that you will need to answer before you can come up with a plan is: 

“What is the point of church social media?” 

Many church social media managers would answer that the point of church social media is to generate likes, followers and views. Churches nowadays pride themselves in having X subscribers on Youtube or Y likes on their Facebook page, because they think it shows how connected they are to modern society.  

Likes, followers and views are metrics that show how much attention your post has gotten. 

They can be represented in different ways on different platforms (for example, followers are referred to as subscribers on Youtube). Social media platforms want you to believe that the most important thing is to get a high number of likes, followers, and views. 

But is this really true? Let’s look at one social media platform as an example of what they tell us to do versus what they do themselves. 

Youtube has a Youtube channel, but not many people know about it. That in and of itself is very telling. It currently has around 33.7 million subscribers, which may seem like a lot, until you compare it to the most popular Youtube channel with its 111 million subscribers

We know that Youtube wants its creators to believe that subscribers are the most important metric, because it sends them awards for each milestone they reach with their subscriber count. By its own standard, Youtube’s channel would not have earned the highest award, or even the next highest award. 

church social media strategy

All of this is a very serious problem for Youtube. Or at least, it would be, if subscriber counts really were the most important metric. The truth is that subscribers–as well as likes, followers, and views–are vanity metrics

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Vanity metrics may seem impressive, in actuality, they don’t accomplish much unless there is a strategy in place. 

Now Youtube could increase its subscribers by using ads to push people towards its channel, but we don’t see too much of that. What we do see is plenty of ads promoting new features and other creators. We also see that Youtube is more interested in getting new people to sign up with their name, email, and/or number than in getting people to subscribe to the channel.

The message behind this is that it’s not the subscriber count that matters, it’s the platform itself.

Youtube shows people its fancy new features and its trendiest content creators to get new viewers, and keep them on the platform. As long as the audience stays on Youtube, it belongs to Youtube. This is true of other social media platforms as well. 

If your audience is primarily located on social media, they are not your audience. 

The True Purpose Of Church Social Media

All of this brings us back to the initial question: “What is the point of church social media?

The point of church social media is to generate attention, AND to redirect your audience to your own platform (such as a church website). 

Think of church social media as a baited hook. That’s not to say that we are trapping new viewers, but rather, we are putting out something good to draw them in. 

church social media strategy

Now imagine that you are fishing (as fishers of men), and you feel a tug on the line. You’ve got a fish on your hook! At this point, do you just leave the fish there in the pond, satisfied that your bait had worked? Of course not! You keep reeling it in until you’ve caught the fish. 

Unfortunately, social media leaders who satisfy themselves with a lot of likes, follows, or views are like the fisherman who stops short of catching the fish. 

In order to fish for men–and catch them, you must provide your audience with links to your website and calls to action that prompt them to take the next step.

Building Your Church Social Media Strategy

Now that we have gone over the ideas behind church social media, let’s get into how to actually do it. 

As I’m sure you know well by now, church social media is pointless if there’s no goal. So you must first determine what you want to achieve with your church social media posts.

Is the end goal to get more people to purchase your ministry book? Or is it to get more people into your church? Is the end goal to bring more traffic into your website and articles? 

While I can’t tell you what your end goal should be, I can tell you that it should align with God’s calling for your ministry. 

If you are called to reach the homeless in your community, you probably shouldn’t also be doing social media to promote a book about international Christian business on the side. Having a project that is disconnected from God’s calling for your church will only take time and resources away from your main mission. 

Once you have determined your end goal and how it fits into God’s calling, it’s time to start researching for church social media.

Church Social Media Strategy Step 1: Research

Many people make their social media posts on intuition alone (“this feels right,” or “I think people online will enjoy this”). Posting this way may or may not be successful, because some people have better intuition than others.

However, if you want to be more consistently successful with your church social media posts, you will have to do research. Of course, there will also be some trial and error involved in discovering which types of research are beneficial, and which types don’t help at all. 

church social media strategy

Here are a few important questions to guide your research process:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What are their needs?
  3. Which social media platforms do they use?
  4. What are their intentions on that social media platform?
  5. What are the rules and algorithms of that platform?
  6. What are the pros and cons of that platform? 
  7. What are others doing on social media?

I will also give a brief overview of why it would be helpful to know the answers to these questions. 

  1. Who is my target audience?

This question is related to your goal and calling. Usually, churches are called to reach a specific demographic (i.e. single moms, working families, underprivileged youth, etc.).

Different demographics have different preferences and can be found in different areas, so it is important that you single out the preferences of the demographic you’re trying to reach and find them where they are. 

It’s more difficult to reach people with a general message, but when you bring them a personal message that relates to their specific needs, they will be more inclined to listen. 

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  1. What are their needs?

Knowing your target audience’s most deeply felt needs will help you to make an impact on their lives. 

Ministry leaders typically aim to meet spiritual needs, but this strategy is only effective on some people. Other people may remain disengaged because they either don’t want spiritual input from a stranger, or they don’t see how spiritual needs are related to their current situation. 

What did we see Jesus do in the Bible? He met spiritual needs alongside non-spiritual needs. As the name indicates, non-spiritual needs are needs that aren’t spiritual, such as the physical need to eat, or the emotional need to be heard.

Jesus gave Simon and Andrew fish before He called them to be fishers of men. 

Likewise, we must build trust by meeting non-spiritual needs before people will let us in to help with their spiritual needs. Meeting non-spiritual needs may also give us an opportunity to connect people to their spiritual needs, as some people may not even be aware of their needs in that area. 

  1. Which social media platforms do they use?

Once you have come up with a basic profile of your target audience, you must find out which social media platforms they use. That way, you can direct all your church social media efforts to the platforms where you can connect with your target audience

As anyone with a teenage son or daughter knows, social media takes up a lot of time. You wouldn’t want to waste your time posting on all the social media platforms when your target audience can only be found on one of them. 

  1. What are their intentions on that social media platform? 

The answer to this question will help you figure out what to do on the platform. You’ll want to know what people want to do on social media–are they there to buy things? Are they there to post photos? Or do they just want to chat? 

Putting out the wrong thing on social media can not only waste your resources, but also damage your target audience’s trust. 

Many people (myself included) go on social media to unwind and relax. We don’t want someone to challenge our beliefs or try to convince us of their political standpoint, we just want to look at things that make us happy. 

Trying to sell something (whether that is ideology or a product) to a person at the wrong time will ruin their opinion of you, and they will be less likely to listen to you again. 

Generally, it is better to wait until your audience has followed you to your website before offering them things with more substance (full sermons, full articles, ebooks, products, services, etc.)

It is also a good rule of thumb not to use social media to debate beliefs. That is a quick and easy way to cause problems for yourself.

As we previously discussed in Research Question 2, you must build trust with your audience. Overwhelming someone with too much right off the bat or giving them something they’re not ready to accept just yet will break their trust, making it much more difficult for you to reach them in the future. 

  1. What are the rules and algorithms of that platform?

Social media platforms are designed with a specific intent in mind. For example, Facebook is trying to be a place where people can be their authentic selves to make genuine connections online. 

church social media strategy

Rules and algorithms are put in place to help each social media platform move towards its intended goal. This is why Facebook punishes accounts that don’t provide much personal information, along with accounts that exist only for business purposes. 

On all social media platforms, punishments can range from mild inconveniences such as your content getting shown to less people, or to major issues such as your account being banned altogether. 

To avoid these problems, you must learn the rules and algorithms of your chosen social media platform, along with the intent behind them. 

However, you should also be aware that some platforms are opposed to particular political and religious beliefs. Putting out a controversial opinion can get you flagged for hate speech or abuse even if you followed all the rules. 

In general, it is better to bring people to your own site before discussing more divisive topics.  

  1. What are the pros and cons of that platform? 

This question is fairly self-explanatory. All social media platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, and being aware of them will help you to better utilize the platform.

  1. What are others doing on social media?

Looking at what others are doing on your chosen social media platform will help you get new ideas. More specifically, you should look at the most successful content creators, so that you can find and replicate the techniques that are making them so successful. 

Church Social Media Strategy Step 2: Plan

Once you’ve completed the Research step to gain a better understanding of your target audience and their preferred social media platform, it’s time to start planning. 

Every church has its own calling, so unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all plan that I can recommend to you. 

Instead, here are some questions to help you build a plan that is custom-tailored to your church: 

  1. Which social media platform(s) give you the most results for the least work? 
  2. Which social media platform(s) are a good fit for your church? 
  3. How do you bring in people not already affiliated with your church?
  1. Which social media platform(s) give you the most results for the least work? 

As a ministry leader, you have a whole church to run aside from your social media marketing. Even if you aren’t the main pastor, there are plenty of other things to work on, so you don’t want church social media marketing to take up all of your time. 

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That’s why you should consider how much time and effort each platform takes up when you are selecting a social media platform to post on. 

Some social media platforms require daily or weekly updates, or else your content will be shown to fewer people. Other platforms require a certain format for posts that is more difficult to create (i.e. all text must be accompanied by photos). 

These conditions may make it more difficult for your church’s social media page to be successful unless you pour in too much time and hard work. 

Keep these things in mind as you plan out which social media platforms to work on, and come up with a posting schedule to help your church’s social media page stay relevant.

  1. Which social media platform(s) are a good fit for your church? 

Because certain social media platforms require a specific format for their church social media posts, this may limit the kind of content you can put out. 

If you wanted to post written messages online, a social media platform that heavily favors photos would not be a good fit for your church. Instead, you should find a social media platform where it is more common to post just text. 

On the other hand, if you wanted to share photos of your church and its services, then an image-based platform would be a great fit for you. 

This is the point where it becomes quintessential that you thoroughly researched the pros, cons, and rules of various social media platforms in the previous step, because that knowledge will help you determine which platforms best fit your ministry. 

Once you’ve found a platform that is commonly used by your target audience AND supports the type of content that you want to put out, then you should highly consider selecting that platform. 

  1. How do you bring in people not already affiliated with your church?

To make things clearer, picture this: 

A pastor is running a Facebook group for his church. He wants more people to join his Facebook group (hopefully leading them to join his church), so he makes more and more posts. However, no matter how hard he works on making new posts for the group, he’s not getting any more members. 

You may have already noticed the problem–he’s posting IN THE GROUP.

This means that everybody seeing his posts have already joined, and those who have not yet joined will not see his posts. 

The solution is to start posting in other places (like other related groups or pages that you create relationships with).

Remember: Remember, Jesus didn’t hang out in his own church and work miracles- he constantly went out to his audience, the Jews.

Even then, figuring out what to post can be challenging.

At the core of your social media efforts, you should be putting out value to draw people in. This is important to remember when bringing in new followers or group members.

Remember: Jesus went out to his audience, created value by meeting needs, and only then invited people to follow Him.

Instead of just inviting people to your group, you should offer them a unique learning opportunity or give them access to exclusive information that can only be found within your group. Of course, it is just as important to follow through with those promises and actually give them what they believe is valuable or meets their needs. 

The bottom line is, when you have something that people want (something that solves a problem), they will come to you. 

Remember: Jesus met Peter, James, and John’s need for fish, and then they followed him. Jesus solved their biggest problem first. Then they followed.

This principle is not only applicable to Facebook for churches, but it can be used across different church social media platforms.

This biblical church growth strategy can even be used to transfer your audience from social media to your own ministry website. One common way to bring people to your site is to offer a feature that is not supported on social media–such as access to full articles or ebooks. 

By the way, if you’re loving this article, check out our 100+ page ebook on cutting-edge church marketing strategies at the bottom of the page. It’s totally free. (See what I did there?)

Church Social Media Strategy Step 3: Prepare

Once you have your plan (you know which social media platforms you’ll be focusing on, you have a posting schedule), it’s time to start preparing content to post. 

Content should be all about meeting needs & giving value. (Aka, don’t talk about yourself)

Content that creates no value is spam. 

The reason so many people end up making spam is because good content takes time and effort to produce, and they don’t take the time and effort necessary to do this. 

But what if I told you there is a way to save time and effort without making spam? You can do this by modifying pre-existing content to fit the social media platform of your choice. Churches have an advantage in this area because they already have so much content in the form of sermons, service videos, photos from events, etc. 

church social media strategy

For example, you could take a snippet of a recorded sermon and resize the video to fit your preferred social media platform. Then, you could add filters, text, or music to make it more eye-catching.

And there you have it! You just made a quality piece of content, without having to come up with a message, preach it, and record yourself all over again.

However, while re-using content can be very helpful, there are times when it’s worth the hassle to make a brand-new piece of content.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that one method of content creation is better than the other, but different situations call for different methods. 

One situation where it might be helpful to make new content from scratch is when you’re trying to reach a specific audience with specific needs, on a specific social media platform. In times like these, it can be very meaningful to make a message that speaks directly to someone by addressing their personal circumstances. 

So we will not only teach you how to modify content, but also how to create new content. 

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Modifying content: 

Choose a piece of content that is either popular or well suited for your intended purposes (i.e. you want to address anxiety, so you use a sermon you wrote about peace in the Bible). You may need to change the format of your content so that it will fit into your chosen social media platform. One way you can do this is by putting a quote from your sermon onto a background so that it becomes a church social media graphic. 

When it comes to modifying content, you want to make changes based on the algorithm of whichever social media platform it is that you’re modifying it for. 

Some algorithms will look for certain traits, while others will look for different traits. Sometimes algorithms look for the same traits but weigh the importance of each trait differently. 

All that is to say, you want to put out content that the algorithm of your chosen social media platform will view favorably. It would be a waste of time to modify and post existing content, only for nobody to see it because the algorithm isn’t showing it.

I cannot go into what each and every social media platform’s algorithm looks for in a church social media post, but I can tell you one thing that is important to have in your posts, across many platforms: keywords.

Keywords are the words or phrases that users enter into search engines to find what they are looking for. Most social media platforms will use keywords to connect users to content, but some platforms will use hashtags which function in a similar fashion.

church social media strategy

You can use this to your advantage by looking for the most popular keywords on your chosen social media platform that relate to your content, then finding appropriate places to add them in. With some simple research and a few quick changes, you can increase the chances of your content reaching your audience. 

If you’d like to learn more about modifying content with keywords, check out our other blog where you will see what this process looks like for Google: Digital Evangelism: The Lowest Hanging Fruit In Digital Ministry

Creating content:

We briefly went over the importance of keywords in the previous subsection. Let’s take a closer look. 

Keywords are used to describe what kind of content you’re putting out. It doesn’t matter how relevant or high-quality your content may be if nobody else knows what it’s about, and nobody else is able to find it. 

Good content will keep your audience invested, but it’s usually keywords that bring them in to begin with. 

If you’d like to learn more about keywords and algorithms, check out our other post here: Best Church SEO: Boost Website Traffic With SEO For Churches

Now that you know how critical it is to put keywords into your content, you can understand why the first step of creating content is keyword research.

Remember, different keyword research tools are designed for different social media algorithms and platforms, so make sure that you’re using the right tool for your chosen platform. Most tools will present you with these two main metrics: how many people are searching that keyword, and how difficult it will be to compete for that keyword. 

Ideally, you’d want to choose the keyword with the most searches and the lowest difficulty. Keywords can be added into text, descriptions, and/or hashtags. 

Once you’ve selected a main keyword to focus on, along with a few supplementary keywords, it’s time to start creating content.

Depending on the platform you choose, this may be text, images, or both. In order to avoid sensitive subjects and find points of interest, you must know your target audience. 

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Church Social Media Strategy Step 4: Post

Once you have researched, planned, and prepared your content, it is time for you to post it. 

The success of your content is no longer in your hands, and from this point, it is all up to the algorithm.

Or is it? 

Research has shown that posting at certain times of day will increase your chances of finding an audience. 

Furthermore, keeping a consistent posting schedule so that you don’t post too much or too little within a given period of time will be helpful. 

church social media strategy

The best posting times and schedules are different across social media platforms, so it’s important for you to know the best posting times and schedules for your chosen platform. 

Once you have that part figured out, social media scheduling apps such as Loomly and Hootsuite can make it easier to post on time. 

And that about wraps it up for this post on church social media! I hope this post has helped you to make a church social media strategy that helps you engage people in your digital audience.

If you loved this post you will also love our video about the most dangerous church social media mistakes.

What did you find most helpful in this article and what have you heard before? Let us know in the comments.

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