It may seem odd for me to suggest that churches quit social media. After all, I have written, taught, and offered webinars on church social media. However, it might be time for your church or organization to take a break.
This is about return on investment.
Church Social Media R.O.I.?
If your church is having an impact using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc., by all means, keep it up. However, if you, staff members, or volunteers are investing time updating social media accounts on a regular basis, it is time to measure the value of that time against the results you are seeing.
Measuring return on investment is tough for churches. After all, we preach the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? -Matthew 18
Yes, there is value in a ministry that reaches just one person. However, churches know that they also need to consider being good stewards resources. And the scriptures don’t say that the shepherd wanders away from ninety-nine looking for a sheep in a place where the sheep obviously didn’t go. We need to remember that, if we are just wandering around in the wilderness hoping to run into someone, we may be taking away time and energy from something else we are called to do.
In my post, “One Question to Ask Before Your Church’s Next Post on Twitter,” I encouraged churches to clarify what they were hoping to accomplish on Twitter. In the next two posts, “What is Your Church’s Twitter Why?” and “What is Your Church’s Twitter Why? Part 2,” I looked at the possible answers to that question. Some churches may be hoping to deepen the engagement of current members and guests, others are looking to reach out to new people. In this post, I offered a simple way to evaluate impact simply by looking at your followers.
Now I want to take a broader look and take a peek at some basic analytics to help you see what sort of impact you are having on social media. Whether you are investing energy on Facebook or Twitter, it is worth taking the time to see what impact you are having.
Without becoming an expert on Facebook marketing, you can evaluate your overall impact on the platform. For the purpose of this post, I am going to assume that your church has a Facebook page. Go to your page and click on the “Insights” page. You should see something like this. (I have selected a 28-day time range instead of the default 7.)
There is a lot of information on this page. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of it. Facebook actually helps make it easier. Just hover over the little “i” in the upper right-hand corner of any of those boxes and you can see what it means.
Hover over all of those little “i” icons. For now, pay the most attention to reach and post engagements. That will tell you how many people likely saw your Facebook posts, and how often they liked, commented on, or shared your content.
There are a lot of powerful tools available to evaluate your Twitter performance. Again, you don’t need to be an expert. Just start with the tools Twitter has built in. Log into your church’s Twitter account and then go to analytics.twitter.com. You will see something like this.
In my previous posts, we looked at numbers of followers. That is important data but it does not tell the whole story. Here you can see how many of those followers actually saw your tweets (Tweet Impressions), how many people looked at your profile (Profile visits), how many times you were mentioned in other people’s Tweets (Mentions), and how many followers you gained or lost over the last 28 days.
What Do You See?
Try not to be overly disappointed if the numbers you see are lower than expected. Once you see the impact you are having, it is time to make some decisions. If numbers are lower than expected, you might decide to do the work necessary to increase your impact. There are countless websites that offer advice on how to grow your followers and increase your engagement on Facebook and Twitter. It takes dedication and work. It may even be worth investing some money on tools that will help or on boosted posts on Facebook or Promoted Tweets on Twitter.
This is Just a First Step
If you want to learn more about impact, your next stop might be Google Analytics. There you can see how social media content is driving traffic to your website and what visitors are doing when they get there.
This all may be a lot to take in but, it is worth the effort to be sure you are a good steward of the time and resources you have. Make sure you are really looking for lost sheep and not just wandering around in the wilderness.