Does your church have a Twitter account? How is it going? While I am sure there are some, I can’t think of one church that I work with that would name Twitter as one of the most effective pieces of their overall communications plan.
This doesn’t have anything to do with the effectiveness of Twitter as a platform or its potential as a vehicle for church communications. The effectiveness of Twitter as a part of a church communications plan comes down to one question:
What is your church trying to do on Twitter?
This is important. If you are investing any resources, even if it is just a little bit of your time, the pastor’s time, a staff member’s time, or a volunteer’s time, you should be thinking about why. If you have an answer to the “why?” you can measure whether Twitter is an effective tool for this purpose.
When people ask me if their church should be on Twitter, my answer is a question. “Why?” If they don’t have an answer to that, my answer is no.
There are two main reasons a church might invest in a Twitter strategy.
- To connect and engage current members, guests, and friends.
- To reach new people.
A church could have an effective strategy to reach both of these goals. However, measuring the success of these two goals would be very different. Also, tailoring content for these would require two different, though not mutually exclusive strategies.
I recently did a study of two weeks worth of tweets from 16 Rio Texas United Methodist Churches. I looked at their actual tweets and also their total number of followers. Over two weeks, these churches tweeted a total of 126 times to a total of 2965 followers. The highest number of tweets per church was 60. The lowest was 1. The highest number of followers was 885. The lowest was 28.
I am currently ranking the tweets on two scales. One is effectiveness in connecting and engaging current members, guests, and friends. The other is effectiveness is reaching new people. From my first run, I can tell you that churches are significantly more focused and effective in connecting and engaging current members, guests, and friends than they are on reaching new people.
Whether or not that focus is intentional and whether or not it is working, well, those are different questions.
So, if your church is interested in actually having an impact on Twitter, I have a little exercise for you. It is a quick project.
- Write down your “Why?”
In one sentence, describe why your church is using Twitter. What do you hope to accomplish?
- Look at your current followers.
How many do you have? This is the total number of people who might see your tweets. Who are they? Do you recognize them as members? Are they just other churches? Are they simply businesses and entrepreneurs looking to get more follows?
- Look at your tweets.
Do those tweets seem to reflect your why?
Write those down. In future posts, I am going to look deeper into what my Twitter analysis reveals and offer some tips for getting started by clarifying your goals in order to increase your effectiveness.