3 Simple Social Media Hacks to Increase Engagement
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I have always been a big fan of social media for my own personal life, but I never imagined how impactful it would be in my ministry to students and their parents. Social media is an ever-changing, ever-growing, and at times frustrating part of our lives. Chances are, you have probably spent some time on social media, whether for your own interest or to try and connect with students about your ministry. It is a great place to connect with students and reach new ones!
Here are three hacks along with some bonus thoughts on social media to keep it fun and less of a burden:
This keeps it fresh and exciting. You want to help provide a place for students/parents to dialogue with you and each other. Create posts that help foster conversation and keep it FUN! Instagram has
great features like polls or questions to create conversation within stories that are easy to utilize. I love what Brady Shearer (Pro Church Tools) says that one primary goal in social is to, ‘stop the scroll.’ As you post, you want people to stop scrolling and read, comment, or engage. Really great social media posts don’t only look good; they also call people to action. Remember that you’re reaching people on their phones, and phones are used for conversation.
Here are some ideas:
- The day after your worship service, post a picture of the songs you sang and ask students what their favorite song was.
- If there is a big sports game (Superbowl, championships, etc.), post a picture of the two teams playing and ask who they think will win.
- One recent post that had good interaction for us was, “If I could meet one person in the world, I would meet ______.”
- Around Christmas time, we asked them about their favorite Christmas movie and got a ton of responses.
These types of questions can be utilized in your actual feed or in the story feature. The point is to keep these kinds of posts fun, engaging, and to think creatively!
“Celebrate good times, come on!” This is my favorite type of post. I love to celebrate things in our ministry. This is something you’ll have to work on because it can be so easy to always post information and have your social media feed look like a bulletin board, but that’s not the big win for social media. You want your social media to be an outreach opportunity, to celebrate what God is doing, and to encourage people to come to be part of that! Henry Blackaby said, “We should join God in what He is already doing.” I think that is the message you want to communicate to those online about your ministry. It is also very helpful to create this new way of thinking so that you are constantly looking for ways God is working because the reality is that He is working whether you know it or not. Your ministry is about people, so your social media should be celebrating what God is doing through people!
Don’t limit celebrations to just attendance or a record number of students in worship. That is great to
do from time to time but not every week :) Recently, I found out about a student who was taking home Bibles to pass out to her friends at school. It was so cool when I found out. So, one way to celebrate that is I took a picture of her holding the Bibles on a Wednesday night, and we shared it on our Instagram page. Click here to see the post. It was a great way to celebrate the win and hopefully encourage others to witness to their friends!
Here are some ideas of what to celebrate:
- Post a picture or video of a student who got baptized and have them share why being baptized was so special to them.
- If students get saved at a church service, CELEBRATE that!!!
- Share with others how a student joining a small group has helped provide community, friends, and accountability.
- Pick a small group leader or volunteer and celebrate them by bragging on them to everyone.
The point is to paint the picture of how God is working in your ministry, and you’re inviting others to be part of it!
This is the challenging one. What you don’t want is to post announcement after announcement. Trust me, I get it, your events, calendar, and sign-ups are very important, but you’ve got to find a balance in how much information you are posting. There is no way to avoid posting information, but not everything is worthy of a social media post. Determine what needs to be marked as most important to post, whether in feed or a story.
One thing that can help when promoting information such as an event is to pull a picture from the event
in the previous year and add text over it. There are many different ways you can inform students and parents about different events; texting, e-mail, postcards, word of mouth, and even announcing from the stage. As you share your information and announcements, look for creative ways rather than just posting the facts.
Here are some ideas:
- Rather than post the same graphic every time about your camp, consider taking a picture of a student going to camp and have them write up a short paragraph about what camp means to them and why others should go.
- Another idea is to create a post that promotes your event that you want other people to screenshot and share.
- Use a group picture from the previous year to promote the event.
A Few Bonus Hacks:
- Find a social media scheduler to help in planning your posts. Buffer.com has a great FREE version. This will help you realize what types of posts you need more of and ones you can scale back on. Plus, it will save you time!
- Be present in your social media accounts. During the week, we post once a day. On the weekends, we post twice a day. It doesn’t matter how awesome you are; if you’re not present and posting, it won’t matter.
- Turn your student ministry Instagram into a business profile and check out the analytics. This will show you who you are reaching and the best time to post.
- Start where you are. It’s okay if you only have 10 followers or 1,000 followers. Don’t wait until you have X amount.
- Post with excellence! Avoid grammatical errors. There’s nothing worse than a student leaving a comment of the correct spelling of something you misspelled in the caption.
- Some apps to consider to help you look GOOD:
- Unfold - Low cost and helps create great graphics for stories.
- Over - This is a must-have! Free version and paid version allows you to add text, layer images, and has great templates for stories.
- Canva - This is a must have. Free version with LOADS of templates for you to just plug and play. They also provide a premium version with great upgrades for free for churches and nonprofits.
- Let others help! Give your phone to a trustworthy student or leader and have them take pictures of the game, message, worship, etc.
- Find someone who does photography in your church to come and shoot at an event or worship service to get some incredible high-quality photos OR invest in a DSLR camera ($300-500) and learn how to use it or let a student use it to capture events.
Don’t forget, your social media is a great way for students and parents to see what is going on in your ministry. Social media can pull the curtain back for someone outside of your church and ministry to learn more and hopefully get connected. Posting just to post won’t get you the results you are seeking. Be intentional and develop a strategy.
Feel free to check out our student ministry Instagram (instagram.com/fusionstudent) to see how we incorporate these ideas in our ministry!
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- What is your go-to social media hack?
- How is your ministry using social media well, and where does it need to get better?
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