4 places your church can invest money in social media

In the previous post, I wrote about 3 reasons why your church should invest in its social media ministry. Today I’m going to talk about 4 ways you can invest money in your social media ministry.

A few years ago churches (and businesses) saw social media as a free ride. A “blast’er past her” marketing tool. (You know, “blast” out your announcements to anyone who will listen.) I’ve talked before about the dangers of using social media like a bullhorn.

But my point here is that if you want to have real impact, you need to be willing to invest at least a little bit of money into your social media ministry. And if you’re not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions.

1. Training

In life if you want to be good at something you need some training. Social media is no different. In fact, social media is at the point where I’d suggest without investing in at least a little training, you’ll always be wasting a pile of time and energy and have very little return on your investment.

You can do a lot of research on Google and YouTube. But the best type of training is when you invest a little bit of money. Decide, for example, what you want to focus on and take a course.

Here are a few good places to start:

For Twitter: Check out Kim Garst’s stuff.

For Facebook: Check out Amy Porterfield (Facebook Marketing 101).

For your website: Check out Michael Hyatt (Platform University).

To learn from church social media practitioners: Check out Gospel Sneeze Academy.

2. Staffing

Most pastors are too busy to head up the church’s social media ministry. Big church’s typically hire social media people while medium and smaller churches typically rely on volunteers.

But as every non-profit knows, its not easy to get a high level of commitment from volunteers. If you want to have real impact in the digital space, you might want to consider bringing someone on as a part-time social media “innovations leader” or “communications director.”

Side note: giving them a fun cool title will up their commitment, even if they’re just volunteers, because it makes their responsibility official.

On that note, your social media ministry should be official. If you have someone overseeing your social media ministry, their name should be listed on the website, church bulletin and anywhere else that other church leaders are listed.

3. Tools

While the main social media sites are generally free to use, engineers, developers, innovators and dreams create pretty awesome tools that will supercharge your social media ministry, and usually for a good low price.

Here are some examples:

Buffer (paid version): Buffer has a free version that allows you to schedule up to 10 posts per social media platform, and you can view your analytics too. But with their paid account you can schedule posts in advance, and way more than just ten. This will save you oodles of time!

Legend: A great app that will allow you to include animated text overtop of your image. If your ministry uses Instagram, this is an awesome app to invest in. It’ll cost you less than $3.

Over: Is another great app that will allow you to put text and art over your images. Upping your image game is so import because today we are a visually stimulated society like never before! This awesome app costs less than $5.

CoSchedule: If you have a team or are really looking to up your social media game, then CoSchedule is the tool for you. If you have a robust social media presence or want one, CoSchedule is a powerful Social Media marketing calendar and publishing tool. It starts at $15 a month.

TheChurchApp: Mobile is all the rage today. People now spend more time accessing the internet from their smartphone than from a desktop computer. With TheChurchApp you can have an app created to meet your church’s specific ministry needs.

4. Advertising

If you’re like me then you probably don’t like the idea of advertising very much. But we need to change our thinking and the way we do it. Effective advertising in our world must be more “entertainment” and less “in-your-face.”

A lot of people ask how they can have a greater organic impact (meaning, how can they reach more people without paying money). The truth is on many social media websites, especially Facebook, if you want to have a more effective organic impact, you need to include a strategy for paid advertising.

Think of it this way: you’ve started a bonfire and even throw some kindle to get it going. But the flames just aren’t that big and it’s taking so long to pick up. You can create huge flames quickly and allow the fire to catch on with more of the wood by adding a little bit of fuel. That fuel is paid advertising. If you want to give your Facebook ministry a head start, you should devote some money to advertising.

It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on just how much you should spend on Facebook advertising because every need is different. But $25 a week would be a solid start.

So there are four places that you can invest your money on social media.

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About the author

ChristianWeek Columnist

Derek is a Christian blogger at derekouellette.ca where he writes to help mission-minded believers use social media and the internet to advance God's Kingdom. He's also an author and founder of Gospel Sneeze Academy. Derek lives in Windsor, Ontario with his wife, toddler and one addition on the way.

About the author