Church Pension Group | Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

The Good Steward

Risk Management: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Religious Organizations

December, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is spurring churches to broaden their reach through social networks. But before you hop on the bandwagon, consider these rules of the road.

Do use a less formal voice and let images “speak” for you.

When you reach out to congregants through the web, it’s your chance to show the friendly face of your organization. Give a warm, personal tone to your announcements even though they appear on a public forum. Consider places on your social platforms where you can get your message across using appropriate images that will draw the eye—and catch viewers’ interest better than lengthy text.

Do encourage interaction.

Keep your audience involved by soliciting comments; remember that if someone posts something that is inappropriate or offensive, you can remove it. Ask questions, and consider creating polls on platforms that allow it. Welcome user-generated content to extend the social connection between you and your audience.

Don’t duplicate the same message.

It may seem like a short cut, but it isn’t a good idea to post copies of a single message on all of your social media. Although the platforms have their own audiences, some might overlap.

Each social media tool has its own emphasis so think about your desired outcome and the best way to achieve it using that tool. For example, if you want to increase interest in online services, you could post a short clip with a snappy caption on Instagram, while on Facebook, you could link to your blog post about the previous week’s sermon.

Don’t share unconfirmed information.

Make sure the information you share has been verified by trusted sources. Try to cite them by providing a link to the website where you found the information. If that’s not possible, attribute statements to a source by using such phrases as, “According to….”

With many parishioners having fewer outlets for social interaction, they’ll appreciate your efforts to maintain a sense of community, so keep these guidelines in mind to make a positive impression on the people who follow you online.