Remember SnapChat? Yeah, me neither. What’s the point of TikTok? You could probably ask your 9 year old. Who is MrBeast? Well, he’s rich…I basically only know enough to tell you that. I get it guys. Even if you are a techy millennial with a Tumblr (is that old now?), it’s hard to keep up with all of the change on the internet. And to know how to best utilize it for support raising – well that’s something in and of its self. That being said, here are 5 important tips that I hope will expand your knowledge on how to use social media for support raising.
1. Have a Social Media Presence, and Start with Facebook
Many people start by asking if having a social media presence for their ministry matters. Is having a presence really that beneficial?
The short answer: Yes, it matters.
Like it or not, we spend around 15% of our waking lives on social media, at a clip of about 2.5 hours per day. (All of those cute cat videos add up!) If you want to get information out and communicate with your team effectively (and you do, I promise) you should be utilizing social media and thinking through which app (or apps) will help you communicate with the bulk of your growing partnership team.
Where to Start
If you are looking where to start utilizing social media, look no further than social media’s giant bohemith: Facebook! Love it or hate it, Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. Therefore, if you do not have a Facebook presence dedicated to your ministry you are probably missing a great opportunity to regularly communicate with the bulk of your partnership team.
What Type of Community Should I Create on Facebook?
Many people ask what type of community they should set up on Facebook. Most of the time the answer to that depends on what level of security you need. If you don’t know, consider connecting with your ministry’s leadership and think critically before proceeding. If you need tight security I suggest creating a “Private Group”, and then make sure that the privacy settings are changed to “Hidden”. Don’t skip this step! By hiding your privacy settings on Facebook your group isn’t searchable to someone not in the group – which is important.
If you are only mildly worried about security you may still want to use a Hidden Private Group (same instructions as above). And lastly, if you aren’t concerned with security/privacy at all (and you’ve carefully considered ramifications from being unconcerned) go for it on the Public setting. There are some marketing advantages in allowing your Facebook Group to be completely visible if your security isn’t compromised by doing so. Also for people who aren’t concerned about security, there is the option to set up a Page instead of a Group. Though there are pros and cons on both sides of Group vs. Page, my personal preference is to set up a Group instead of a Page for partnership development purposes.
How To Add People To Your Facebook Group
When setting up a Group on Facebook my advice is not to start by adding everyone you’ve known since the 4th grade. If you add your 4th grade bestie along with 3,000 of your closest friends before talking with them personally, they will likely have no idea what you are doing, may get a little annoyed at notifications, and ultimately not know what the group is for (or for that matter that they are even in it). That all leads to low engagement. Instead, take what I call the slow burn approach – as you add people to your partnership team, also add them to your Group. By doing it this way you build buy-in and potentially increase interaction within the group.
2. Using Other Social Media Platforms Such as Instagram or TikTok
Should you create a TikTok or Instagram (IG) dedicated to ministry?
The answer to this one relies on your capacity. If you have the bandwidth to maintain another platform with excellence, go for it. Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube are currently some of the most widely used apps (with Facebook towering over them at #1) in the world. Consider adding these to your social media strategy if:
- You already use these apps for your personal usage
- You feel like you’ll be able to maintain a ministry account with excellence
- You regularly maintain your Facebook Group
- You maintain other communication requirements within your sending agency such as your newsletter
If you feel like you’ll be stretching yourself too thin to maintain another social media platform – skip it altogether and focus on maintaining your Facebook Group and regular newsletters with excellence.
3. Content for Social Media and Frequency
Many people ask me what should they be posting on their social media accounts. For content creation, here are some ideas:
- Prayer requests
- Project progress (include pictures)
- Random facts on your ministry
- Short videos
- Day in a life of a worker (this could be short segments on Facebook Stories / Instagram Stories or TikTok)
- Tidbits of knowledge relevant to your ministry
- Funny moments (TikTok or Reels on IG are great for this)
- Value adds such as book give aways or gift card give aways
- General ministry activity updates.
If you are stuck on what to post on social media, try doing some research. Are there other other workers in your organization utilizing social media and doing it well? Consider following their ministry accounts and pay attention to what they are posting. What is their engagement with each post? What did they post that you could recreate?
As far as frequency of posting on your Facebook ministry Group / Page, my suggestion is once or twice a week. Any more than that and Group members may feel spammed with notifications, any less and they may forget about you.
4. Social Media DON’TS
- Don’t promote your personal political views on your ministry group / account.
- Don’t get negative. All of your posts should stay positive! Check for negative vs. positive tone in every post.
- Don’t talk about how support raising is hard. Ever.
- Don’t share vacation-like photos or videos on the regular. Your team wants to see you working hard, not reminders of your cool life or destinations while they sit at their cubicle. Stay ministry active!
- Don’t overshare about your personal life in your content.
- Don’t start a social media ministry account and stop maintaining it.
5. Social Media Does Not Replace Face to Face
- Whenever possible, ask individuals to join your team in person and NOT on social media. (**The only exception to this is when launching a Facebook Campaign.)
- In the last 5-10 years ministry organizations have done a lot to educate workers on the benefits of having a social media presence. If you have gone through training with your organization, chances are you have had at least some type of short seminar on social media. With all that emphasis it’s easy to believe that social media is the end-all-be-all of support raising. And while it’s important to add it to your communication strategy and strive to maintain it with excellence – it should never replace face to face asks.
- While utilizing social media keep in mind it is easy to accidentally give too much information particularly in direct messages (DMs) on social media. Take care not to give so much information that it comes across as though you are asking someone to support you in a DM!
- Think through your branding pieces such as your vision statement, tagline, professional photos, color pallets, etc before creating your social media groups and accounts.
I hope these 5 tips help you in utilizing social media for your ministry! As I close – just a little quick warning — all of this may have completely changed within a year and all the Facebook cute cat videos may be completely gone. Therefore, if you’re reading this a year or two after the original post date – read between the changes. Happy interneting!
This post was written for Exago Ministries. You can also find the post on their awesome new blog. Check it out.