If your church is going to invest resources in posting on Twitter, you ought to know why you are doing it. Figuring out the “Why?” question will help you become more effective while focusing your work to reach your goals.
In my post, “One Question To Ask Before Your Church’s Next Post on Twitter,” I ended with a three-part assignment:
- Write down your “Why?”
- Look at your current followers.
- Look at your tweets.
If you did the assignment, great. If not, go back, read the post and finish part one. Ready?
What was your “Twitter Why?”
I suggested two main “why’s” in the post.
- To connect and engage current members, guests, and friends.
- To reach new people.
Most churches I work with would say, “yes” to both. In fact, a church could develop a Twitter strategy around both of those. But, for now, pick one. If you could pick one thing and only one thing that Twitter could help your church with, what would it be?
In this post, I am going to look at “why” possibility number one. In my next post, I will go over number two.
As I look at each one, I will also be reviewing the second to parts of the assignment.
Connecting and Engage Current Church Members, Guests, and Friends with Twitter
A case could certainly be made for using Twitter in a micro-targeting sort of way to stay connected to people who already have a relationship with your church. But, if that is what you are trying to do, how will you know if it is working?
Let’s look at part 2 of the assignment: Review Your Current Followers.
This is very easy to do. Just go to Twitter.com, log in and click on followers. You will see every person who is following you. If your Twitter strategy is to engage people who are already involved with your church, you should see some names you recognize there.
Especially for a micro-targeted strategy, your total number of followers is not nearly as important as who those followers are. Honestly, it is fine if you are being followed by other churches, local businesses and a bunch of people you don’t know. But what is important is the number of people related to your church that are following you.
So, what if they aren’t following?
Well, likely your strategy is not working… yet.
What can you do?
It’s pretty simple yet not necessarily easy – you need more of your people to follow you. Here are some ways to make that happen:
1. Promote your Twitter handle everywhere.
Make sure everyone at your church knows you are on Twitter and that you are using it to help them stay connected. Print it in your bulletin. Feature it prominently on your website. Include it in your emails. Print posters with it and hang them where people will see them. Announce it! Yes, your pastor or worship leader can say, “We want to help you stay connected to all the great things that are happening here. Follow us on Twitter. You can find us at @mysuperawesomechurch.”
2. Follow your people.
There are two ways to get a lot of followers on Twitter. One is to become famous. Although being famous is not enough. You need to be famous and tweet interesting things. Two is to post interesting stuff and start following people. This is how most twitter influencers end up with thousands of followers. If you consistently post relevant content and follow people who might be interested, a bunch of them will follow you back. This is important. If you want to grow the number of your people who follow you, you need to start following them.
But how do I find them?
By exploring the magically social web of Twitter. This can be the fun part. Likely there are at least a few members of your church following you on Twitter. Start by looking at who else they are following and who is following them. Likely you will recognize some of those names. Follow them! If you are at a large church, this is a great exercise to do with a team. The more people looking at the screen, the more people you might recognize. Once you have found some new people and followed them, see who those people follow and who follows them. Just keep following and expand your web! Eventually, you will notice these people following you back. At some point, you may find that you are following too many people. There are tools available to help with that. But, honestly, it is going to take a while to get to that point.
Now, let’s look at part three of the assignment: Look at your tweets.
Still assuming that your strategy is to Connecting and Engage Current Church Members, Guests, and Friends with Twitter, do your tweets reflect that?
If you want to engage the people you already know, you need to produce content that is relevant and will serve to deepen engagement and connection. What might that look like for your church? Every church will be different but let me offer a list of some possibilities:
Announcements of Upcoming Events
I hesitated even to mention this because many churches do this and nothing else. However, if you want people to engage, give them places to engage.
Photos of the Church Doing its Thing
This is a great way to connect. You can share scenes from Sunday worship, the latest workday, something special that happened that week.
“Behind the Scenes” Photos
These are a great way to build a connection. Most people don’t get to see anything except what happens on Sunday morning. People might be interested in seeing staff meetings, rehearsals, weekday Bible study, etc.
Words of Encouragement from the Pastor or Another Staff Member
People need encouragement on days other than Sundays.
Poignant Quotes from the Previous Sunday’s Sermon
Why not remind people of something important the pastor said on Sunday?
Calls to Prayer
You don’t need to publicly broadcast the personal details of your congregation. But you could remind people to pray for their church, for those lifted up on Sunday, or for other concerns of the community and world.
In my next post, I will review these same issues through the lens of a strategy to reach new people through Twitter.