Social media is a primary way that people consume content and stay connected with the people and the organizations they care about (and some they don’t).
One best practice in the use of social media by the church is making personal targeted invitations to people, even people who aren’t yet connected with your church.
—- Personal – which means they don’t sound like an advertisement, announcement or press release but are received as an invitation that is based on an existing relationship or an expression of their interests. People express their interest directly by searching for something or by joining a group associated with that interest.
—- Targeted – which means that the church has invested the time to select an invitation that seems to fit the person receiving it. A church newsletter is not a targeted invitation. Most of the information it includes is not relevant to the person reading it. The senior adult doesn’t need to know how to register their child in the pre-school. The teenager won’t even see the announcement of the upcoming youth retreat in the newsletter pdf attached to an email. A targeted invitation addresses the contextual needs or interests of the individual receiving it.
—- Invitation – not an opportunity or an announcement. An announcement says “Everyone is welcome to come to the Christmas Eve for Small Fry worship service at the church.” An invitation says, “Steve, we wanted to invite you to bring your daughter, Elizabeth to the Christmas Eve for Small Fry worship service at 2:30 pm on December 24. I hope you’ll be able to join us.”
Some social media platforms are designed for such invitations and most others can be adapted. Here is a great example of a social media invitation that worked out better than anyone expected:
Even though they called it an advertisement, what they presented on meetup.com actually sounded like a targeted, personal, invitation. Not only that, everyone who RSVP’d for the event is available for another invitation using the same medium. You don’t have to build a contact list from scratch.
I hope you’ll look at the ways you use social media at your church and calibrate it more toward personal, targeted invitation in the months ahead.