Social media is easy.
Click a picture or shoot a video. Write a description. Post on social media. That is it. Now your ministry is showcased around the globe using social media.
Well, that is not entirely true.
And even though this approach might seem to work, it will work only for a short term.
This ‘randomly-post-anything-everything‘ approach might work for you for the first few days (or even weeks). But as you get a bit more serious about social media marketing for your ministry – with structured campaigns, with specific objectives and with a group of dedicated followers who engage with you – you need to have a good content creation plan. You need to have a strategy that will help you create valuable content on an ongoing basis.
You need to have a repository of content, so that you don’t start running out of posts as you go along. It is not a good thing for you to wonder what to post week-after-week and come up with something creative after you realise it is time to post. This can put you under tremendous pressure. Social media channels have a tendency to turn into a hungry-giant who gobbles up all the content you feed him and ask for more.
To help you lead a stress-free life when it comes to social media campaigns, I am giving you 7 perennial sources of church social media content. Each of these sources have the potential to supply content for your campaigns on an ongoing basis. For many years, I have used a combination of these sources in my consulting work, to produce engaging, value-adding and useful content for various ministries worldwide.
Content ideas: 7 perennial sources of social media content
1. Regular Events & Church Services
If you are a nonprofit, then events that you conduct regularly can be a great source of content for social media. If you are a church then your weekly service (or ministry event with teaching sessions) will be that source.
The online world respects (and search engines look for) organisations that are able to produce and publish fresh content consistently. For search engines like Google, it is a sign that this organisation is always adding value to their audience.
Church as an entity, has naturally been built on the operational model of producing content on a regular basis in the form of church services and events. So you can take advantage of this model and use the content to feed your social media channels.
Bonus Expert Tip: Church services can be posted as a LIVE stream (video or audio) on social media channels. Live video is a preferred form of media for many social media channels. It can help you overcome algorithmic challenges. In case you do not have good internet connectivity for a LIVE stream, you can post them as a recorded video or audio. Later, this footage can also be used as source material for creating smaller teaching video clips and other video posts for upcoming social media campaigns.
2. Photos & Visual Elements
Images are key to engaging with people on social media. Especially if they are well-designed quotes or well-taken photos of people attending an event. When people look at photos of themselves on the ministry’s social media page, they are more likely to engage – Like, Comment and Share. So, plan to take photos in as many church events and services as possible and post them on social media.
3. Short Video Clips
As mentioned earlier, if you can capture your weekly church services or ministry events on camera (or your smartphone), then you can use that as a source material to create multiple short video clips. In my earlier blog, I introduced the idea of creating different content for different stages of the social media audience funnel. Based on that funnel strategy, shorter video clips can be used to attract the right people from the top of the funnel and serve them.
4. Testimonials and Personal Stories
Social media audience love authenticity, backstage view and personal stories. As churches and ministries we have the culture of sharing stories and personal experiences as testimonies and praise reports. If you are able to capture these stories in some media format – video or audio. Then you could package it suitably (see our blog on content packaging techniques) and use them as an effective source of social media content. Since this content has people personally linked to it, the probability of it being shared, liked or commented upon is very high.
Bonus Expert Tip: One of the most popular social media formats is ‘Stories’ on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and even WhatsApp. They are short 10 sec video or an image that vanish after some time (usually 24 hours). They are very popular now, because of the fact that they are temporary and disappear. You could plan to package the testimonies and personal stories in this new popular format for a better reach.
5. Stories from Small Groups and Outreach Programs
In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will focus on empowering communities (Facebook Groups). He went to the extent of saying that Facebook Groups should play the role that churches play in building communities! As he rightly said (probably after a ton of research and statistics) we as churches and ministries are naturally designed to empower communities.
Use the stories, events and all that happens in your community – small groups and your outreach programs, as a source of content for your social media campaigns. This can help you strengthen your existing community, attract new people to come and be a part of the community, support a cause and also showcase the calling of your ministry to a wider audience.
6. Partner or Influencer Content
Collaborative content has many advantages: it is easier to create, it is more engaging for the audience and it maximises the reach of he content since there are multiple groups of audience. That is why formats like ‘Podcasting with a guest’ have become very popular.
Think of ways in which you can partner with churches or ministries or influencers whose vision aligns with your vision and create useful content for your combined audience. This can be a great ongoing source of content for you.
Bonus Expert Tip: After creating a collaborative content, make sure you have a promotional plan for that content that includes both the audience group – yours and the audience of your partner or influencer.
7. Ministry Resources
Your products or ministry resources (like downloads, books, etc) can be a good source of content for social media. You can include them in the content mix to ensure that your audience are constantly exposed to the resources that you make available for their benefit (both paid and free). The posts created with resources can be sales-oriented or simply informative letting people know that such a resource is available, should they choose to get it.
I hope these tips will help you create meaningful, value-adding content for your ministry audience on a consistent basis. All the very best.
Using the comments section, let me know if you have any questions related to content creation or if you have any a list of other items that you think can be added to this list.
Stay Connected. Stay Blessed.
Author of The Connected Church. Social Media and Digital Marketing Consultant for Nonprofits, Faith-based Organisations, Churches and Ministries.