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Social Media 101

Many people believe that social media is primarily for young people or that older people do not use it. Maybe this was true 10 years ago but it is definitely not the case now!

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Social Media 101

Many people believe that social media is primarily for young people or that older people do not use it. Maybe this was true 10 years ago but it is definitely not the case now!

Social Media 101

Many people believe that social media is primarily for young people or that older people do not use it. Maybe this was true 10 years ago but it is definitely not the case now!

Social Media 101

Many people believe that social media is primarily for young people or that older people do not use it. Maybe this was true 10 years ago but it is definitely not the case now.

 According to Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report(2020), the demographics of social media use have changed and social media use is now widespread amongst all age groups:

·     95% of people aged 16-24 have a social media profile

·     93% of people aged 25-34 have a social media profile

·     88% of people aged 35-44 have a social media profile

·     82% of people aged 45-54 have a social media profile

·     58% of people aged 55-64 have a social media profile

·     39% of people aged 65-74 have a social media profile

·     21% of people aged 75+ have a social media profile

 

If you are fortunate enough to have a church made up of members from many different age groups, the chances are pretty high that most of your congregation will be on social media in some way. So if that’s where your members are, shouldn’t your church be there too?

 

·     Which platform?

The social media platform you use will be dictated by who your primary audience is. For example, we know that women in their 20s and 30s are the highest users of Instagram so if you’re setting up a group for mums and toddlers it may be wise to use Instagram as your platform.

Information on which social media platforms are used by which age group is easily available online.

 

·     Developing content

Social media is visual. The best performing social media posts are those with visuals, whether that’s a video, animation, gif or a photo. Please make sure that you have the right to use the creative assets you post. Simply copying and pasting from a search engine could land you with a copyright infringement fine. Instead try license-free sites like Pixabay or Unsplash. Alternatively you can create your own content through films or photography, but ensure you have gained the permission of everyone featured first by using a film/photography consent form.

Social media is short. In general, the shorter the post the better engagement it generates. If your users have to click to read a long post it performs less well so be brief and to the point. Character limits are a good guide but shorter is usually better.  

Social media is quick. Users decide in the first few seconds whether to watch your content or scroll past it. So from the very beginning of your content you need to capture their attention. Long intros are out and up front spoilers are in.

Many people find it easier to develop and plan in content ahead of time using a social media management tool like Hootsuite.

Having a template for developing social media content can be helpful so you can see previous and future content all in one place. It also allows you to plan the creative assets needed for each post ahead of time.

 

·     Posting frequency

Social media is a timely and relevant medium. For example, posting once a week may not be enough to keep the interest of your users or grow your following. Therefore, as a general rule, you should be posting 3-4 times per week.

Social media usage is highest first thing in the morning and in the evening so you should consider posting your content then so it has the maximum potential reach.

 

·     Community management

Social media is – obviously – social. It’s about conversation and engagement. If you are only on ‘broadcast’ mode and are not responsive to messages, comments or questions then perhaps you should explore a different medium for your communication needs.

Responding to your followers – or community management – takes time. But this is how relationships are built and this is how people learn what you/your ministry is like. Do not underestimate the importance of setting time aside for community management to help your audience feel listened to and included.

The nature of social media means not every interaction will be a pleasant one. Trolls and online abuse are a sadly common occurrence so it’s best to have some ground rules in place before you begin building your followers. A typical criteria for blocking an abusive user could look like this:

First instance of rude or abusive language used: DM the person to say you will be removing their post because it contravenes your rules about language. Then remove their post.

Second instance of rude or abusive language used by the same person: Remove their post. Then DM them to say they are being blocked for repeatedly contravening your rules about language.

 

·     Evaluation

You may have a great social media profile and are posting frequently, but if you are not seeing significant engagement this could be down to the content that you are posting. Is it relevant to your audience? Is it timely? Does it capture their attention? An easy way to check this is to ask! This could be anecdotally on a Sunday morning or through a survey or on social media itself. Adapting to your audience’s needs will ensure you stay relevant and meaningful.

 

Good luck with developing and growing your social media presence to get the good news of Jesus out to more and more people. Jesus can meet us wherever we are, even on social media!

 

 

Jo
Jo
After studying at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Jo has had a career in communications for academia, the NHS and the Welsh Government. She is currently a Communications Manager at Public Health Wales. Jo became a Christian in 2008.

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