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How to use Twitter for your church: The basics

 
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Published on: 10/2/2013
Last modified on: 10/18/2013
by Kevin Duncan @kevinjduncan on Twitter

Now that you’ve set up Twitter for your church, it’s time to use it. How you use it depends on your church, your needs, how tech savvy your congregation is, and how tech savvy you are.

Some of you may only want to use Twitter for sending out announcements. Others may use it to provide live updates and whatnot. The good news is you don’t need to know how deep you want to get into the water before dipping your toe in.

Just get in and see how it goes. In this article, we’ll start with the basics.

Firstly…

1. Announce you’re on Twitter. It may sound funny, but this is an easy step to forget. I’ve forgotten it. You see, your congregation isn’t psychic. They also aren’t on Twitter every evening searching to see if your church has finally created a Twitter account.

Twitter announcement example

In other words, they aren’t going to find you by chance. You need to announce it. Put it in your weekly bulletin. Provide a link on your website (if you have one). Share it on Facebook (if you’re on Facebook). Get the word out.

2. Follow your congregation and staff. If members of your congregation and church staff are on Twitter, the odds are very high they will “follow” your church’s Twitter account after you announce its existence. Follow them back.

Why this is necessary is discussed in point #4.

3. Follow other churches in your area. Some may disagree with this point, but if you are the kind of church that believes other churches are on the same team as you (as opposed to being your competition for getting fannies in the seats) why wouldn’t you want to follow sister churches in your area?

If they have a need, you’ll be able to know about it and share it with your congregation. More on that in the next point.

Share others’ content

4. When appropriate, retweet your followers. If someone you follow on Twitter — be it a member of your congregation, a staff member, a pastor from another church or whoever — writes something worth sharing on Twitter, share it.

Twitter retweet example

Maybe it’s a prayer request. Maybe it’s a special announcement from a sister church. Maybe it’s news related to your church. (Definitely retweet it if it’s related to your church and appropriate.)

5. When appropriate, retweet those who do NOT already follow you. As above: If it is worth sharing on Twitter, share it. Just ensure it is worthwhile and appropriate. (As a general rule, never retweet anything from someone with the last name “Kardashian.”)

If you have no idea what this “retweet” thing even is, here is a helpful article from Twitter.

Share your content

This is the reason you have your church on Twitter, right? You want to share information with members, visitors, unbelievers and anyone else who might listen. There is a lot you can share on Twitter, but what information most definitely should you share?

6. Share church announcements. Even if you share no other piece of original content on Twitter, share your church announcements. If there is a guest speaker, announce it. If the church orchestra is having a concert the Saturday before Christmas, announce it.

In short, if it’s an announcement worthy of the weekly bulletin, announce it on Twitter, too.

7. Tease all website updates. As I previously wrote about in the article Church websites are for visitors, social media is for members, in order for your church website to thrive you need your social media presence supporting it. Or, in other words:

If your church members can get 75% of what you offer via your social media site, they will not go to your website for the remaining 25% unless your social media points them there.

So, if you add a new sermon for listeners to hear, announce it on Twitter and provide a link to where it’s located on your website. If your pastor maintains a blog and writes something new, tease the content and provide a link.

Matthew 6:3 talks about not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Well, if Twitter is your left hand and your website is your right, such a strategy wouldn’t work out too well. You do want the left hand to know what your right hand is doing. And you want all of your Twitter followers to know, too! 😀

Next time…

We will go beyond the basics, as well as discuss ways to make the sharing of content on Twitter a bit easier.

However, even if you do no more than what has been discussed here, you’re ahead of most churches. You’re using Twitter productively, selflessly, and for the Lord’s good.

You’re swimming in the deep end.

Congrats.

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