Social Media 101: The Complete Guide for Parishes

Posted on May 08, 2019

Social media.

When you hear those words, do you feel instant panic?

  • Confusion?
  • Frustration?
  • Annoyance?
  • Ignorance?

We get it!

While you could just throw up your hands and opt to forgo the use of social media for your parish, we don’t recommend it. Why? Because social media is the way the world is communicating. It’s where conversations are happening.

And that means that if your parish isn’t on social media, you’re not in the conversation.

Social media is where your people are, and that’s why it’s so important that your church meets them there!

Rather than getting lost in the murky waters of social media, we’re here to help you get in on the conversation and proceed with confidence for your church!

Here you’ll find help for things like…

  • Knowing what social media channels to use for your parish
  • Figuring out why social media is important
  • Knowing what information to post on social media
  • Engaging your people with your posts
  • Creating a one-week calendar for posting to your social channels

Welcome to Social Media 101!

What Channels Should I Use?
While there are numerous platforms for social media, we recommend narrowing your focus and using the primary three.

Facebook
We’re willing to bet that most of your parish is already on Facebook. If that’s the case, there’s simply no reason for your church to not be there as well!

It’s a great place to start conversations and allow your people to share what’s happening at your parish. If your parish or school has media to share (videos of sermons, promo videos, music, etc.), Facebook is a great place to share those things. Likewise, if your parish is hosting special events, you want to have that info on your Facebook page, so your people can not only RSVP, but also share it with their friends!

Instagram
If you’re attempting to grow a student ministry, college ministry, or family ministry for young parents at your parish, Instagram is the place you need to be. It’s the primary social channel for the millennial generation. It’s also a great place to engage those people with what’s happening at your parish.

With the option to post photos and captions (both short and long) as well as videos and 24-hour stories, it’s the perfect channel to share the life of your church through social media.

Twitter
Twitter is a great tool to provide quick snippets of information and encouragement to your parish. It’s also a great place to get conversations started with people in your parish (or NOT in your parish).

With a 280 character-limit per tweet, you can post things like quotes, verses, links to your sermons or blogs, thoughts from your pastor, questions for your community, and more. It’s the perfect social channel to both encourage and engage your people.

What’s the Point?

Great question!
There are so many good reasons to get your parish engaged and involved in social media, but here are just a few of our favorites…

For Communication
You can’t possibly talk to every member of your congregation every single Sunday. You can’t knock on every door to chat with every single person within your church’s reach. There are hundreds of them, and only one of you!

However, we all know that communication is vitally important!

Like greeting people and chatting with them in the lobby on Sunday morning before mass, social media allows you to connect with your audience.

While it certainly shouldn’t replace the authenticity of real-life conversation, it’s a good place to start.

For Information
Sunday morning announcements are great. Bulletins and newsletters are certainly good tools. But truth be told, they just aren’t enough. You work so hard to create great events and opportunities for your congregation. Why risk them missing out because they didn’t attend or read the newsletter in the mail?

Using social media gives you just one more place to inform your people about the things happening at your parish. Whether it’s a special event, a new ministry, a major announcement, or just a simple update to your calendar, social media gives you a platform to keep your people informed.

For Mission
God is doing so much through the ministry of your parish. But you don’t need us to tell you that. You’re living it out every single day! The story of what God is doing through the lives and hearts of your parish is worth talking about, and social media gives you a unique platform to do just that! With social media, you can share the story of your ministry through video, photo, blog, caption, and more!

It’s the place for digital storytelling, and what better story than God moving in and through people in your parish?

For Visitors
Consider social media the ultimate opportunity to meet new people. Not only can you engage new faces in your community through your channels, your parish can also share content with their friends, too! It’s the quickest and easiest way to get your parish in front of new people and hopefully engage them with content that will move them from engaging digitally to engaging in person!

We’re here to answer any questions you have about switching to ParishSOFT and using our proven and time-tested web-based software to streamline work processes and increase giving at your parish. Simply call 866-930-4774 x6 or email parishsoftsales@parishsoft.com to learn how ParishSOFT can help your parish!

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