The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Churches in 2023 – California Southern Baptist Convention

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Churches in 2023

Published Jun 06, 2023

If your church had the opportunity to plant in a public space, for free, where seven out of ten people visited on a regular basis, would you take the opportunity? Of course, you would! Well, according to Pew Research Center, 72% of the public uses some type of social platform. If there are 168 hours in a week, and the national average Sunday morning service is an hour, what better way is there for your church to reach people in the remaining 167?

Attention is one of the biggest assets in your church’s arsenal. Every pastor knows that before we can share the love of Jesus with anyone, before we can continue to disciple a believer, we need to get their attention. Attention already lives on social media. You no longer have to wait until your Sunday morning experience to draw people closer to Jesus. You can accomplish a lot of that through social!

One of the biggest disconnects is the notion that churches should be on social media solely to get people to your Sunday morning service. In other words, churches view social as an avenue to promote a ministry, when social media IS a ministry. We can bring what we want to accomplish on a Sunday morning to other days throughout the week.

Reframing Your Content in 2023

In 2018, if you were to ask me, I would suggest seven different things to post (one for each day of the week). Today, it’s not as simple and straightforward as that. In this post-pandemic age, social has rapidly changed. Everyone has become a creator. You’re now competing with millions of people creating content, and as such, screen time has become the highest commodity a creator possesses, and the algorithm will side with whatever and whoever it thinks deserves that space.

There are two audiences to be mindful of when formulating what to post: your church, and the algorithm. Catering to both means yesterday’s seven-day formula of posts is over. Don’t let that discourage you! There’s still a formula to help your church without forsaking the algorithm and vice versa.

Consider The Formula of Three.

  • Spirit-Filled,
  • Engagement-Filled
  • and lastly, Home-Filled.

This may not be as helpful as “here are 7 things to post Monday through Sunday,” but as we embark on this new social media era, it’s important to note the why over the what of content.

The formula of three provides a more thoughtful and flexible way of keeping your church’s mission and vision at the forefront when planning for social media. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want this post to provoke a spiritual practice? (Example: take a minute to pray for…).
  • Do I want this to be high in engagement? (Example: what’s one thing we can pray for you today?) or
  • Do I want this post to tell a story about my church?” (Example: Meet our volunteer __ ! Help us celebrate in the comments below her answered prayer of __!).

These are the type of posts the algorithm tends to give the all-awarding screen time to.

What to Post in 2023

Now, (what you really came here for), here are some post ideas you can start implementing in your church’s social accounts today:

  • SHORT VIDEOS! For the very first time in social media history, every platform is prioritizing the same thing, short vertical videos. Whether it’s a short clip of the sermon from Sunday, the bridge of the worship song that hit everyone right in the feels, a 60-second devotional, or testimony – post short videos! First, it saves you time and energy as the creator. Gone are the days of formatting videos differently for each platform. Just crop that thing to 9:16 and call it a day! Second, if every platform is moving in a certain direction, that’s a big indicator of where you need to be also. In summary, short videos are the king of social media – capitalize on it.
  • The Countdown Post. This post is a hitter! One of the best posts is a simple, “take 60 seconds to pray.” It’s a great way to implement the Spirit-Filled portion of our formula.
  • The Volunteer Highlight Post. You can make your social feed feel like your church by posting pictures of your people! Familiar faces get high levels of engagement. Post a picture of one of your volunteers, share what they do, and how they’re important to your church.
  • The Seasonal Post. Whether it’s National Day of Prayer, the 4th of July, or the first day of summer – post it. There’s a good chance people from your congregation are going to want to post about it too. Why not give them the opportunity to share what you already created and further the reach of your church?
  • The Church Invitation Post. If there’s any post I would do on a specific day, it would be this one. Try posting this on a Saturday – be creative, and avoid using the exact same wording or graphic here. Repeat equals defeat.
  • The Sunday Story. From the parking lot to the worship, to the message, to the conversations in the lobby after, capture it all! Dedicate a person to handle the stories on your social media, highlighting your Sunday experience! Sundays should feel celebratory. Bonus: encourage people to tag your church in their story, then share their posts in your story as well.
  • The Engagement/Question Post. This post is dedicated to one thing, and one thing only: to heighten your engagement. Polls work great here! A question post could also be anything from “How can we pray for you?” to “Pizza or burgers?” Another option would be bible trivia. The idea here is solely to capture engagement for the algorithm. It doesn’t necessarily have to be serious and spiritual.

All of these are proven to work if implemented correctly. An important note: only one of these post ideas was promotional. It’s well known that promotional material simply doesn’t get any love, so much so that if you only post promotional material, the algorithm will likely not give you any screen time! A healthy ratio to keep in mind is the 1:5 rule. With every five posts, only one should be promotional towards your church to ensure the algorithm doesn’t hurt your engagement.

“How do I know what I’m doing is working?”

Valuable information is available by utilizing the “Insights” tab of your account. Insights give ideal times you should be posting each day. Insights reveal what’s connecting with your congregation, and what’s not. It’s all there. Don’t neglect your account’s “Insights.”

Social media is ever-changing. What works this week might not work the next, so be sure to check your insights at minimum once a month. Reevaluate what kind of posts are giving you success and what posts you might need to change or take out.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, keep in mind the formula of three, be conscious of the 1:5 rule, and don’t base your success on the success of the mega-church around the corner. We’re all learning and just trying to keep up with the remaining 167 hours of the week. Hang in there!