Katie has written a follow up article that takes a different look at social media after this article was published. To see what Katie thinks now of social media, check it out here.
Snapchat has been popular for the past year. It’s mostly popular with teenagers whose parents don’t understand it and aren’t on it, but the user base has been growing (actually they have about 200 million users).
Our team created a Snapchat account around a year ago, but didn’t do anything with it because we figured no one would follow us and it seemed like a lot of work without a lot of return to send all of our “friends” snaps. But then Snapchat created the “My Story” feature. This made sharing with everyone easier and more accessible. Actually, we don’t even have to add anyone on Snapchat and for now, we’re not – let me explain.
So far our church Snapchat guidelines are just like our church’s guideline for all other social media, we only follow our staff. Anyone can add us and follow us, but we do not follow back anyone but staff. We do this for several reasons.
- We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If we follow you, but don’t follow your mom when she follows us and then she asks, “Why?” – it just gets messy.
- We don’t want to receive anything awkward from anyone. If you add someone back on Snapchat, then they can “snap” or message you directly. Same goes for direct messaging on Twitter. While we understand that some church’s are using this as a viable means of sharing prayer requests, we find it’s a better experience for our team and congregation to use the form on our website for prayer requests. It gets sent directly to the prayer team and if people are searching and actually filling out the form, then we know that their prayer concern is legitimate. We get several prayer requests per day through our form on our website so we believe that’s the best way to serve our congregation.
Church Snapchat Guidelines
- Don’t add people back. If you don’t have any friends, they cannot send you any snaps.
- Change your settings to: WHO CAN –> Send Me Snaps – Friends & View My Story – Everyone. See example?
- Use the My Story feature to share with everyone who has added you. We have around 40 users following us and on average around 20 people will view our story when we’ve shared something.
- Quick tip: Only one user can be logged in at a time on Snapchat. Don’t think you can assign two people to it at one event.
Now you may be wondering, what are we even sharing on Snapchat? I like to use Snapchat to be more authentic and less produced. We have to look good on Instagram, but it’s nice just to be real and in the moment on Snapchat. It’s not always pretty, but it’s fun to capture a unique moment in worship or a short moment in the sermon. Last week we had a BMX group at the church and I snapped some of their tricks.
There are some apps that will let you upload snaps (SnapUp, for example), but for now, we’re just using it in the moment and we’ll see what we need to produce in order to stay relevant.