Should the Church engage online and in Social Media?
There is no question about it and, for the most part, everyone is in agreement with this.
But in terms of “Social Media Ministry” the Church apparently struggles.
Because the Church, generally speaking, still operates in a system that is defined by “traditional” media. Perhaps a change is in order?
Here are 7 reasons that I’ve identified that have caused more than just a light struggle in terms of Social Media Ministry:
Some ministries still see the “web” and, as a result, social media as a marketing channel, or a place to promote their “services” (pun intended) and get more people in the door.
Social Media is far much more nuanced and is less about marketing than really anything else.
Creating conversations and dialogue and empowering the people within the space around you is what it’s all about.
2. The “Fit”
Ministries do not really understand where it “fits” in terms of the overall strategy of their particular ministry. Like the 1st point, is it in “marketing” or “branding”? Is it a “new” thing for our congregation? Is it for outsiders or insiders? Strategy…? What’s that?
Ministries have no idea who should be “doing” it. Does the Pastor need to blog, or do we need ghost writers? Do we need volunteers or trained paid staff? Who the heck is going to run the campaign and initiatives? Who’s responsible?
Social Media can’t really be controlled. That’s a terrifying fact for many of us, including ministries. Coming to terms with this idea can paralyze any initiative or ministry movement.
5. Long Term Perspective
Marketing typically is used for some short term initiative and demands results immediately. Social Media Ministry is not about marketing. But, since it’s been approached that way we think that the results should be instantaneous.
Like most investments it takes time. Ministries need a long term perspective and goal to provide true understanding of the value.
Simply put, some ministries expect far too much from Social Media. It still requires a lot of hard work, strategy, and wise deployment. Just because you launched your blog doesn’t guarantee that it’ll bring people into your doors, or that anyone will necessarily read it.
There’s almost no way to ‘tell’ if you’ve been “successful” or not at times in the Social Media Ministry space. Be at peace in that tension. There are ways to analyze and understand, but be ready to be wildly disappointed… or wildly surprised.
But there is hope. There are a number of ministries that have “got” it. Perhaps one of the first steps is to reach out to those that have done it well and ask for help?