Christmas is likely the busiest time of the year for your church. By building a parish holiday social media strategy, you can harness social media tools to encourage the life of your parish. Overall, an effective holiday social media strategy can help parishes make that happen with a little planning and effort.
Social media posts are a simple way for priests and parish staff to share timely holiday church news and updates with their parishioners, visitors, and guests. Many people want to participate and engage in special holiday church events but they are so busy that they may miss or forget them. So how can parishes keep people in-the-know?
Here are five ways social media can spread the Gospel with your parishioners and your local community at Christmas:
1. Share Holiday Schedules
Posting holiday schedules is a must, especially at Christmas. Parishes should be especially focused on keeping social media accounts regularly updated with your parish’s holiday schedules and announcements for mass, upcoming classes, small group meetings, and any recovery group meetings through the New Year. Also, remember to post any times when the parish office will be closed or working on reduced hours after the holidays. Post these dates as early as possible on your parish website and use weekly social media posts as reminders.
2. Host an Advent Countdown
Countdown to Christmas on social media each day or week with posts of Advent reflections, Bible verses, and/or videos. Encourage people to share posts with their family, friends, and followers. Create compelling Advent content that captures the spirit of the season in your own church as well as the lessons of the scripture. Get creative!
3. Minister to People in Need
Use social media event pages to invite parishioners and guests to join holiday ministry events like food drives and holiday meal services. Encourage people to RSVP to the events to show their support and share it with their own followers to broaden the reach.
Social media can also be used to reach out to people in your parish who might be in need. Send encouraging emails or text messages asking if there are people who may need prayers, help with groceries or even support for family members that might be outside of the congregation. Technology is a tool for outreach. Taking it a step further and connecting in person through a meals ministry or a prayer ministry is a great way to reach out to those who may be down or hurting during the holidays.
During December, in addition to being very busy, parishes are also focused on closing their books in the black and making sure their ministries are funded through the next year. This means that the end of year fund drive season is the time to pull out all the stops and gently and lovingly remind people to give through every social channel available.
This can also mean using ParishCast to do the heavy lifting by sending messages to parishioners. And when it’s needed, use social media to get the word out and have online donations rolling in quickly.
5. Surveys and Year-End Reflections
Surveys are a great way to use social media to engage with parishioners at any time of year. Holidays provide an even more ripe set of fun and practical offerings, including favorite holiday songs, traditions, Bible verses, etc. Practical surveys are very helpful for churches to gather data at the end of the year for planning purposes for the year ahead as well.
Parishes can use social media tools like Facebook Surveys or use other web-based survey tools and post links to them on all social media platforms to ensure maximum exposure. Either way, priest and parish communicators can inspire social media engagement with short survey questions like “How are you preparing for celebrating the true meaning of Christmas this year?” or “What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions that help bring the reason for the season into focus?”
As the year draws to a close, it can be a humbling experience to reflect on the year and share praises on social media or through special emails or newsletters sent from your parish. Include photos, videos, graphics, illustrations or details of money raised for missions and special events. Share any information that is encouraging and shows how your parish is grateful for God’s provisions and blessings over the past year.
Does your parish have the right church management, accounting, and giving software for the year-end? Contact us at 866-930-4774 x6 or email@example.com and we’ll discuss with you how easy it is to get started with ParishSOFT’s web-based software.