The One Social Network Every Church Leader Needs to Use Regularly – for Now

If you could only be on one social media network as a church leader which one would it be? If you wanted to focus your efforts on a single network for simplicity sake where should your energy go? Where should you start your social media work as a church?

Facebook

In the current state of the social web Facebook represents the best place for church leaders to invest their time. Over 1.1 billion people are currently on the network [1]. 23 percent of Facebook’s users check their account 5 or more times daily [2]. A recent study showed that 77 percent of consumer focused companies and 43 percent of “business to business” focused companies have acquired customers through Facebook [3]. Users spend over 400 minutes every month on Facebook [4].  All those statistics add up to the fact that the people you are currently working with and the people you are trying to reach are on Facebook.

Your Social Media Strategy Needs to Start With Facebook. But Wait … there’s more to the story.

Social networks follow social lines. (Shocker!) There is evidence that people’s “offline” friends impact the social networks that people connect with “online”. So if people in your community start getting interested in Instagram or Google+ the value of those networks goes up for your people and might make it more popular than Facebook in your community. This is called “the network effect” … as more people connect to a social network it becomes more valuable because more people are connected to it. It’s a virtuous cycle that spreads social networks. You need to do a little investigation to see what “other” networks might be popular within your community.

The “network effect” works in reverse as well. As people start leaving a network it becomes less valuable to the people on it. As people leave and stop interacting more people leave and stop interacting. It becomes a vicious circle. This is how Friendster was displace by MySpace … which was displaced by Facebook. Just because Facebook sits on top of the social media world today … doesn’t mean it always will. As church leaders we need to keep an eye on this trend as we look to the future. The skills you develop on Facebook today will be transferred to whatever network will replace it in the future. Social Media is here to stay as a vital communications channel but the specific networks will come and go.

Which network have you seen the most engagement with as a church?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Dave Shrein — 08/15/13 9:51 pm

Thanks for posting. This is a great kick starter to begin using social media. Sometimes it's so hard to even know where to start. We have experienced the most success on Facebook but find a higher consistent engagement from our instagram followers.

Recent Comments
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
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A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
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