As more churches join the social networking world and monitor their online presence, social media use among churches will grow. To protect your church from abuse, instruct all personnel and volunteers on the proper and improper use of church social media.
Social Media’s Potential Dangers to the Church
Risks of using too much social media include enabling a church to be perceived as something it is not. Using social media can reveal the church’s inner workings, making churchgoers feel that the church is like a business or institution rather than a place to meet with and worship God.
Some sites allow Church members to submit content, including comments and photos, and some allow users to decide how much of their information should be shared. This is advantageous for churches setting up community websites; by enabling members to control the privacy settings, churches can interact with members more professionally.
The Benefits of Social Media
The Internet makes it easy to scrutinize the words or intentions of someone posting on a platform; this is a double-edged sword for churches. On the one hand, churches need to be able to provide helpful answers to questions people will ask about their faith.
On the other hand, churches must control what information they provide. An excellent start is by carefully assessing the type of information you want to communicate with your followers.
If a church posts something on Facebook but no one reads it, did anyone see it? Another pitfall is that churches cannot look like they’re all about marketing themselves without proper planning.
After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Churches must plan for how they’ll use social media so that everyone who uses social media channels can feel like they have a personal relationship with that church.
The Need for a Policy
A church’s social media policy must be supported and understandable by its members. The effectiveness of the church’s social media strategy depends on how well it serves its congregation and how well it helps the church develop.
Understanding is critical because the church must understand how to link its social media policy goals with other objectives. For example, a church under criticism because of a contentious issue should not aggressively attack that issue on a specific social media site.
Still, the church should endeavor to use that platform to educate its members and all other stakeholders.
For example, a church would not want to use its Facebook page to attack a pastor who is under fire because that would make a possible victim of the crime feel uncomfortable or hesitant about reporting the incident.
The Dangers of Excessive Use
One risk of overexposure is that church social media could cause individual members to believe that the church lacks direction or that its leaders are immoral. This often happens when a user leaves a comment area on a social networking platform’s status or photo.
While a person’s intentions may not be malicious, they may misinterpret those intentions. As a result, members who see a pattern of negative messages may assume that their congregation is not as healthy as others.
The Value of Feedback
One way to address the problem of a user’s comments on a page’s wall is for the page’s official managers to respond.
If a pastor who used to be with a particular church were to post a comment on the official Facebook page, the church could delete it or remove his picture from their Facebook page and then block him or report him to Facebook if they have to.
This will allow the church to distance themselves from the pastor while simultaneously showing that they accept criticism, but not harassment.
It’s possible to use social media to protect the church’s public image, but it takes effort. The church must understand its congregation and its needs to communicate effectively.
The church will experience growth as it uses social media to help people understand and appreciate its mission. However, it must do so under regulated policies to protect its members.
We at ChurchCandy help pastors grow their churches. Before we assist you in bringing new people to your church, we’d want to get to know you and introduce ourselves. At the strategy session, you may learn more and decide if it is right for you and your ministry. Contact us if you need more information on digital marketing for churches.