Church Social Media: 10 Unknown Strategies & Best Practices [2023]

Table of Contents

More than ever, a growing church social media presence is an essential part of your church marketing strategy.

In this article, we will be discussing 10 Church social media strategies you probably haven’t heard elsewhere. 

Here is what we will cover:

Church Social Media Strategy #1: Attention Is A Commodity

Church Social Media Strategy #2: Solve Problems & Meet Needs

Church Social Media Strategy #3: Don’t Try To Reach Everyone

Church Social Media Strategy #4: Don’t Use Every Social Media Platform

Church Social Media Strategy #5: Repurpose Your Content

Church Social Media Strategy #6: Church Social Media Is Not A Silver Bullet

Church Social Media Strategy #7: Use Church Social Media To Reach New People

Church Social Media Strategy #8: Don’t Keep Your Audience On Church Social Media

Church Social Media Strategy #9: Attraction Attention With Church Social Media

Church Social Media Strategy #10: Optimize Church Social Media Strategies

Church Social Media Strategy #1: Attention Is A Commodity

The most valuable commodity in today’s information economy is attention. A commodity is a raw material required to create some greater product or service.  

Without the attention of people on social media, you can’t ask that audience to do anything further, like attend church, accept christ, etc. Everything starts with your ability to grab people’s attention. With so much other noise online and offline, this is harder than it has ever been before.

The best way to ensure your church’s success with social media is not just by creating good content but through a focused effort to attract the kind of attention that most effectively generates leads from your church’s social media. 

Leads say, “Hey I’m over here and I love your content and I’m interested in being a regular part of your ministry.” Leads are at a much higher likelihood to take further actions that your ministry values (like “save my seat, donations, etc.).

Your church social media should grab the attention of the right people. 

Church Social Media Strategy #2: Solve Problems & Meet Needs

How do you capture the attention of people on social media? 

The only way to consistently gain and hold the attention of your church’s social media audience is by publishing content that meets their needs.

The best way to meet the needs of your audience is to help them solve their biggest problems. The better you know your audience the more effectively you will be able to speak to their life’s biggest challenges. Then your audience will begin to grow. 

This is a Biblical approach to church social media marketing:

  1. AFTER Jesus met the needs of His audience (through food, healings, etc) they FOLLOWED HIM. This is true throughout the new testament. Luke 5:4-11 is a great example of this. 
  2. James instructs us to meet needs in James 2:14-17. 

Example: During COVID, one of our clients who is a pastor began holding 20 minute Facebook Live meetings every morning to reach a specific audience that struggles with poverty and addiction. The pastor himself was able to get free of this life after years of being a drug dealer and offers a short Biblical message of hope and action to his audience every morning. After about 6 months of consistent 20-minute ministry every morning, the size of his Facebook live ministry has grown to reach similar audience members in islands all over the Pacific. He also saw the size of his church increase by nearly 100% (it doubled) in the same timeframe and he is now in the middle of planting a second church in a community that already has almost 100 people requesting a weekly service in their location.

Whether you meet the needs of your audience online or offline, you will capture more attention and your ministry will GROW LIKE WILDFIRE.

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Church Social Media Strategy #3: Don’t Try To Reach Everyone

Within the Christian church, many articles and marketers tell you that you should try to reach everyone. Attempting to reach everyone is exactly why most churches aren’t satisfied with their ministry size or rate of growth.

The truth you may not know is when you try to reach everyone – you actually reach no one.

Example: I used to work for a marketing firm that catered to For-profit businesses. When setting up advertising campaigns for wedding venues, who do you think was the best audience to target with their limited marketing budget?: 1) Everyone Or 2) women under 30 searching a keyword like “Wedding venues near me”?

Wedding venues cant meet the needs of everyone. If we had run an advertising campaign to everyone we would have gotten no results and wasted their entire marketing budget getting no results. Why? Because 99% of the population doesn’t care about wedding venues at any given moment. 

However, when we hyper-targeted only people who were looking for wedding venues, we captured their audience attention on social media, sent them over to the website where they booked venue tours, and later spent a minimum of $20,000 per venue booking. THEN the wedding venues went to all of their friends and we got a bunch more wedding venue clients.

church social media

This is also true for contractors, therapists, it’s true for us here at Clickmill, and it’s true for your church (you’re reading this blog right now because it will supposedly meet one of your needs, right?). Just like working with wedding venues, managing church social media accounts costs money no matter which way you slice it.

When you try to reach EVERYONE, nobody is inspired by what you say and they go somewhere else. This results in 100% effort on the part of your ministry team, practically no results on your church social media which means all the time, energy, and money you invested are lost. 

Don’t target everyone or try to expand your reach. Instead, try refining your reach. 

Example: Before going into marketing, I was a Youth Ministry Director with The Salvation Army for a few years after Bible College. I discovered that The Salvation Army has churches, children’s summer camps, rehabilitation centers, and thrifts stores in 131 countries and yet they never try to reach “everybody.” The Salvation Army tends to reach people in impoverished communities, those struggling with addiction, the homeless, etc. Their slogan is “Doing the most good.” Said a different way, they focus on meeting the most deeply felt need of their primary audience, and they do it well. Following this basic strategy, they have grown to a size most other ministries can only imagine.

Consider polling your congregation and asking them what social media sites they use most. Then share the content your existing audience already loves in the places they hang out and you will find more people who are eager to hear from you.

church social media

Church Social Media Strategy #4: Don’t Use Every Social Media Platform

Building right from our last point, if your church specializes in meeting the needs of 40-year-old blue-collar men – you don’t need to be on every social media platform because your audience isn’t on every social media platform. You only need to be in the places your specific audience hangs out.

church social media

Here at Clickmill, we only show up in places where church leaders hang out. We post a few times a month in Facebook and Instagram groups and we put up youtube videos. That accounts for all of the social media platforms we use because that’s those are the specific platforms we have found clients come in through the most. We do use other marketing strategies like ranking blogs in the Google Search Results, but that isn’t considered social media marketing. 

Identifying your audience and showing up only where they hang out increases the results of your efforts while also saving the time you would otherwise have spent on all the other platforms.

Target your audience where they hang out. 

Church Social Media Strategy #5: Repurpose Your Content

Content takes TONS of time to create and many ministry media teams get overwhelmed attempting to make unique content for all those social media platforms. 

This isn’t necessary. Professional marketers recycle, reuse, and repackage content. 

church social media

Your leadership team should have a meeting where the same content the pastor will be speaking from on Sundays is then repackaged and reused on every church social media platform.

  1. Post the new sermon on Youtube
  2. Embed the sermon from youtube into your website and get sermon notes or a transcript to include under the video on the new page of your website. This means you always have new content on your website to rank the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs). This increases the number of people who find you each day/ month.
  3. Use your new website sermon page (the blog/sermon archive), sermon thumbnail as content for your social media platforms. Let people know you have a new sermon/article for them to check out. This is especially useful when posting to groups outside your own page. 
  4. You can also use questions, contests, or other interactive posts that pertain directly to the week’s sermon.
  5. Reuse parts of the sermon notes (the same notes you used in #2) to follow up and build relationships through automated SMS, MMS, and email campaigns.

If you let the church leadership create the content (which they will do anyway) then all you have to focus on is recycling it to your different church marketing channels. 

church social media

This alleviates the need for both your ministry team and your pastors to be creating unique content. Again, this saves time and energy when managing your church social media.

Church Social Media Strategy #6: Church Social Media Is Not A Silver Bullet

In most ministry circles, social media is all the rage. I speak to pastors every day who believe that if they just knew how to do XYZ on Facebook that something magical will happen. 

church social media

The truth is that Church social media marketing should be just one small element of your marketing plan – not the silver bullet that many believe it to be.

The goal of all of your marketing is to accomplish some end result. With very few exceptions – that result can’t be created with social media alone.

Example: Not long ago I got a call from a Christian nonprofit leader who we had been coaching. Her predefined end result was to increase donations so her organization could continue funding their ministry in a 4th world country.

She excitedly told me that one of her Facebook posts went viral and had accumulated over 2 million likes the day before (this is when that magical thing is supposed to happen). Then with some confusion, she asked why nobody had donated despite the success of her post. 

I asked her if she included a link in the post to the donate page on her website. 

Unfortunately, she had not. Having a social media-centric view of marking probably cost her organization thousands of dollars… if not more. It may be doing the same to your ministry. 

church social media

Church social media is a piece of your church marketing strategy, not the whole thing. Social media is excellent at doing its part in the marketing process, and nothing more. The goal of your church marketing strategy is to create some end result, and that usually means that there is a handoff from your church’s social media campaigns to some other type of marketing along the line.

If you would like to read more in-depth about how to put together a 3 step digital church marketing plan you will definitely want to check out our post: Digital Marketing For Churches: The World’s #1 Online Church Marketing Guide [2021]

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Church Social Media Strategy #7: Use Church Social Media To Reach New People

So what should you use social media to do?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube… these are all tools to be used for reaching people you haven’t met before

church social media

Other areas of your marketing strategy will focus on getting contact information from your audience and still, others will focus on building a relationship with those people and calling them to action. 

Church social media accounts hold the role of connecting with new people.

This works in the same way you might think of an outreach ministry. In fact, social media IS your digital outreach ministry. The goal is that when someone sees your post or tweet or pin – it will catch their attention and lead them down the path toward meeting with you in person (or toward some other predefined result). Creating hype, buzz, and engagement for its own sake usually accomplishes nothing. 

The first goal in a solid church digital marketing strategy is typically to capture the contact information of your audience but we will talk more about that in the following tip.

If church marketing strategy fascinates you, we go SUPER in-depth in our eBook: The Digital Ministry: Reaching The Ends Of The Earth Without Leaving Home.

digital ministry

You can grab it on Amazon or get it for 10% off on the Clickmill website

So, church social media is intended to reach new people… but what is it not supposed to do? 

Church Social Media Strategy #8: Don’t Keep Your Audience On Church Social Media

While social media is excellent at reaching new people that fit your target audience, social media is the last place you want to keep your new connections.

social media and church

I’ll let you in on secret professional marketers know that most church leaders don’t. 

If the primary way you connect with your audience is on social media, they aren’t your audience. 

Isn’t it unusual that Facebook tells you to prioritize Likes, Youtube tells you to get more Subscribers, Twitter tells you to value Followers, and yet none of the social media platforms seem to care about these metrics themselves? Facebook has no page where they collect likes. Youtube doesn’t keep track of its Subscribers and Twitter has no followers.

Why is this?

These platforms understand that DIRECT CONTACT is needed to truly have an audience. That’s why they don’t care about likes, follows, tweets, or any of these other fake value metrics (Professional marketers often call these, “vanity metrics” because they look nice but ultimately do nothing).

church social media posts

What the tech giants care about is the same thing you should care about.

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number

Real relationships are established in real life, through direct contact with your audience.

If your website, your emailing platform, or some other 3rd party website were to crash, you still have direct contact with your audience that you can use to get back in touch with them.

So long as your audience is on social media platforms, the platform itself controls how many posts reach your audience. They control if you get to post at all. This was true 5 years ago and it’s even more true today when you can get de-platformed at the whims of the tech companies and algorithms.

The good news is that nobody can take away your list of emails or phone numbers.

This means the larger part of your church social media strategy is to:

  1. Reach out to new people and capture attention on social media.
  2. Siphon your audience off of social media by sending them to your website
  3. On your website, encourage your new audience to give you their contact information in exchange for some valuable free piece of content (an ebook, training, course, webinar, download, worksheet, etc.).
  4. Follow up and build a relationship with your audience by continuing to meet needs through text, email, phone calls, invitations, exclusive offers, etc. 

Once someone has given you contact information on your church website, they have become what markers call a lead. A lead is a person who has identified themself as being a member of your target audience.

social media for churches

Leads are the ideal audience to build relationships with because they have already told you that they want what you have. Every lead should be followed up with and encouraged to take additional action steps toward the ultimate goal of your marketing campaign. This may be accepting christ, coming to church, joining a Bible study, donating, etc.

Here is a video where I discuss the same topic and go a little bit more in detail.

Church Social Media Strategy #9: Identify Your Key Performace Indicators (KPIs)

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a specific piece of analytic data that indicates the success of your marketing or advertising campaign.

church social media strategy

Example: Here at clickmill, the goal of our website is ultimately to book strategy sessions with church leaders who want to reach more people, more effectively. This means that 3 of our KPIs are as follows:

  1. The total number of monthly website viewers.
  2. The total number of monthly website bookings.
  3. The percentage of website viewers who booked a meeting.

While we have a few other numbers we track, these three numbers tell us if our website is increasing in overall viewership, it tells us how many meetings we are booking each month (with which we can forecast future clientele) and it tell us how effective any changes to the website have been. For example, if we switch out an old website description for a new one and our rate of scheduled meetings drops a few percentages over the next 30 days, then we know to go back to the old way of doing things.

Identify your KPIs, track them, and use them to change course when necessary.

Should your social media “vanity metrics” be part of your KPIs? 

They can be, but typically they are the least important. These numbers are only important to the degree that they contribute to the goals of your marketing campaign.

In our case, we book plenty of strategy sessions using blogs, the Google Search Engine, and advertising – so we don’t really worry about Facebook likes. This may change in the future, but for now, Likes are not an important KPI.

In all likelihood, most churches should be tracking KPIs relations to website visits, signups, download, event registrations, or “save my seat” calls to action.

To get a better idea of how to identify these KPIs for your ministry you will need to define a clear churchgoer journey. For more on this, check out our blog How to Grow A Church: 10 Best Biblical Church Growth Strategies.

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Church Social Media Strategy #10: Optimize Church Social Media Strategies

Look at your social media data and keep track of what subjects, posts, sermons, etc., get disproportionately large numbers of viewers to take your predefined actions. Use these findings to post more of what works best.

church social media

Example: If you post a video that ends with a large number of people going to your website and taking a particular action that your church values, review the video to discover what prompted the action. Make similar conversion-focused posts in the future that will siphon users off of social media and send them to your website.

Don’t be afraid to test different subjects, copy, designs, etc, when posting on social media. The data will help you determine what is performing best.

Be sure to stay away from clickbait strategies that focus on growing your following with enticing titles and shocking headlines without giving much value in return for engagement.

The goal is to have a shocking headline that actually lives up to your hype. 

Use your KPIs and other data to inform you on how to optimize your church’s social media strategies.

That brings us to the end of this post on church social media strategies.

Let us know what you will implement first in the comments below!

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