Social Media is an essential part of the fabric of modern life and offers churches a free and effective way of reaching their target audience. At the start of 2017 figures for the UK showed:
- 2/3rds of the adult population use social media every day.
- 92% of the population, 60m out of 65m, use the internet.
- Over the last year 42m were active on social media – a figure that grew by 11% from the previous year.
- 37m are active on social media through their phones, a figure that grew by 12% from 2015 and equates to 57% of the population.
Social media is a place where people exist. Not only have today’s young people grown up in a world in which social media and the internet are an essential part of their lives but there is growth across all demographics of social media users. Social media is a tool to reach the masses, not simply young people and ‘hip’ grandparents.
It is a great platform through which churches can branch out, meeting people where they are and being ambassadors for our faith. Having a presence on social media is now considered normal, for both individuals and organisations, it is something that people now expect when they look up an organisation online.
General social media principles
As a public place with a standing in the local community any unauthorised access to a social media account could have significant and detrimental repercussions. Ensure you are being as safe as you possibly can be, use a strong password, provide account recovery information and limit the number of people who know the account access details.
Get a feel for it
If you are not already familiar with the social media site in question then sign up and get a feel for it. See if you can notice what type of content comes up repeatedly and what type of posts are successful.
If you are an employee of the diocese or a church you are a representative of that organisation. We recommend following the Diocese of Guildford social media policy (below) to avoid any complications.
Make it Normal
People don’t like talking to people who hide away behind anonymous pseudonyms and avatars. Sign up with your own name and picture or, if signing up the church, use a picture of the church or people from the church and inform the audience who is responsible for posts from the account.
Things are Open to Interpretation
When we converse face to face with people there are a number of different signals which we use to communicate. If someone was to yawn continually as you spoke to them you’d believe they were remarkably bored, we also smile and nod to tell people we’re listening. Online these signals don’t exist, everything is written down with no real context. Even if something was intended to be a joke it can be misconstrued and people can find it offensive.
Things Stick Around
Once something is posted online it is there for good unless you take it down. Sometimes even if you do delete a post someone could have taken a picture of it or shared it elsewhere – meaning it lives on. Take care not to post something that could come back and haunt you.
Wondering which social media sites it is worthwhile signing up for as a church? View some further information about the major sites and how you can join.
View some tips and tricks for effectively using Facebook and Twitter as a church.
Find some useful websites and resources, including free to use images for improving your social media presence.
For further help or advice
If you need any advice or guidance on any aspect of social media please contact the Comms Team: