Below is a list of the top 10 things I think you should do when starting at a new church, in terms of social media. This assumes that you’re doing all the normal things that you probably want to be doing when starting a new ministry job, getting to know your colleagues and staff, spending lots of face time with parishioners, listening to their stories, learning the ropes, working on gaining and accruing social capital that you can cash in later.
Again, these are just a few of the things that came to mind:
1. Talk to your colleagues and staff about social media. No matter what size of church you’re at, I think it’s important to find out if there is a social media policy in place, and see what your colleague’s thoughts are about social media. This is especially helpful and important if you’re someone like me – who is very transparent online – and that might be a new thing for your colleagues. This was something that I definitely had a lot of conversations about during my interview process with Winnetka, and I would suggest you do the same thing if you’re looking for a new job.
2. Determine a social media strategy. This one will take a bit more time, but plan to get together with the staff at your church and talk about having a social media strategy. Who’s going to be responsible for what? What voice do you want to use for official church posts? What is your goal with using social media for ministry? This will take some time to work through, but is really important in the long run. In case you ever want to run a social media training day for your staff, I happen to know someone who has experience leading social media boot camps: check him out here. If you want a really good example of some social media guidelines for a church, check out this post here.
3. Make sure you’re not the only one doing social media. If you’re at a small church, or a church where no one else seems interested in doing social media, you might actually be the only one engaging online. But try and change that. When I was at Asbury, we had 6 people who had the Manager Admin Role of our Facebook page. So we had multiple people who were posting updates, content, links, videos, questions and it created a robust and interactive page. If you’re the only one, you’ll get busy, you’ll forget, or it will only have your voice, and not a greater representation of the breadth of your congregation. Enlist a volunteer, get a volunteer, or connect with a woman in her mid-5os (this is the fastest growing demographic of Facebook users) and have them help with the page. This is also extremely helpful when you leave a congregation. Our church page has 2 administrators right now, but I’m really the only one who actively posts on the page. So, after I leave, I’m not sure what the status of the Facebook page will be.