Social media can be both easy and a pain for churches to manage. On one hand, you have to keep up with it like crazy. On the other hand, if you are at an event, it can be really quick and simple to take a picture with your Smartphone, and then pop it up on your church’s Facebook site, slap your little blurb out to the world, and Ba-Da-Bing, you’re done! You may be patting yourself on the back because you are putting out your certain amount of Facebook posts a week, or Tweets (I am terrible about Tweeting, I don’t do it, I have never gotten into it), or what have you, and you think all is good with your online presence in the world. You are reaching out. You are doing your job.
But are you? Is it enough?
I am here to tell you that social media is not enough, and here’s why – those people who don’t know anything about your church? They most likely aren’t going to find you through social media. I’m not talking about your friend of a friend who may have noticed the post that was shared about the kids’ play that looked so cute that it made this person so intrigued that they decided to visit your church. That’s where social media really does its job. I’m specifically referring to the person who may have just moved to your town and is out scouting for churches through Google. If you are not keeping your website up to date, they aren’t going to find those juicy little nuggets you are putting on your Facebook. This person may not want to click the Facebook link on your website. They went to your website; they want to find it there! Are you giving them the information they need? Is it fresh and up to date? Are there pictures from your recent events, or are there just announcements about upcoming events, or even worse, outdated information from months (or even years) ago? Will this potential church member get an idea what it feels like to go to your church from your church website? We need to put the amount of time into our website that we do to managing our social media.
These are all things that we need our church clients to think about when we develop their sites. Church staff are busy. They have a lot of things to do, but the website seems to fall to the bottom of that list, and this is where churches are failing miserably. That website is extremely important. It is your outreach to the world. A main goal of a church should be outreach. If you are not maintaining that website, you are not fulfilling that function. Social media communicates very well with our current church’s membership, but our website is where we really can achieve outreach to those who are looking for a place to worship. Make sure you are giving them that information in the fashion it should be given, with the utmost care and in a welcoming, thoughtful way.