What’s YOUR Platform? Choosing the Right Social Media Outlet for Your Ministry

Posted on
October 19, 2020

The social media world is a veritable buffet of platforms.

You’ve got your Twitter, your Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Then there’s Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest (social media outlet or no? Depends on who you ask.) We’re going to go out on a limb and say that for most people trying to reach a wider audience for their ministry, it’s a little overwhelming.

Let’s talk about the two big questions you need to have on your radar.

  1. Does our ministry need to be on ALL social media outlets ALL the time?
  2. Assuming the answer is “no,” how do we make the most of the platforms we do choose to use?

All Social Media, All the Time. So, first of all, there IS such a thing as overdoing it on social media. Flooding people’s feeds and posting again before they’ve ever had a chance to check out your last update is counterproductive.

We crush a little on Neil Patel’s marketing know-how, and here’s what he says:

“If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed.”

So where’s your sweet spot for your ministry’s social media strategy?

FACEBOOK: If you can land between 2-3 posts per day (they get lost in the shuffle after a few hours), you’re setting yourself up for results. Ready to narrow it down to time of day? Facebook Audience Insights can help you figure out when your audience is most likely to be on. 

TWITTER: Check this out: There’s so much activity on Twitter, the average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. After that, especially if it’s not being retweeted, your post is pretty much getting buried.

So. If you want people to continue to follow you (or start following you), make it a consistent thing. Post at the VERY least once a day, but if you’ve got the time / resources, you could post 20 times a day and it wouldn’t get old. No joke.

INSTAGRAM: Like Twitter, Instagram is handling a ton of content, and yours can get hidden under a bushel if you’re not a regular. But it’s definitely more forgiving than Twitter with its 18 minute shelf-life. A well-placed Insta post will be searchable and seen for more like 24 hours. Aim for a post a day or three posts per week to make it worth having an account.

LINKEDIN. Post 2-5 times per week. LinkedIn is similar to Instagram in the 24 hour lifespan of a post. But LinkedIn is unique from other platforms in its culture of business advancement, professionalism, and knowledge sharing. Only post when your content is a solid fit for the platform. (Keep reading! We’ve got tips for your LinkedIn content). 

Let’s talk a little more about the Big Four.

How do we make the most of the platforms we choose to use?

Real quick, let’s clarify something. You don’t HAVE to be on all four to have an effective social media presence. If you’re just getting started, pick one (base it on your demographics) and nail it; add other accounts as you go.

What to post on Facebook if you’re a ministry:

  • Ministry updates, announcements and events
  • Photos
  • Invitations
  • Videos. Upload them or use Facebook Live to stream and record videos in the moment so users can watch them live or later.
  • Links to your partners’ pages, articles and anything else pertinent to your Gospel mission

How to post it like a boss:

  • According to the pros in the social media niche, aim for 40-80 characters in a post. (For reference, that sentence was 85 characters long.) *Facebook doesn’t show your character count as you type. One or two sentences = rule of thumb, or copy and paste your text into a word processing app like Google Docs or Word and run a word count. It’ll show your character count, too.
  • While about 70% of Americans 13 and older have a Facebook account, it’s the 40+ group who’s using it most. Facebook is where you want to make sure you’re connecting with your older demographic.
  • Type a few hashtags after your post to make it more searchable and add interest. 

What to post on your ministry’s Twitter page:

  • Quotes or video snippets from a recent sermon
  • Inspirational quotes from other sources
  • Compelling thoughts or findings directly relevant to your ministry (see our recent post about “staying in your lane”). 
  • Bible verses
  • Links
  • Announcements
  • Shoutouts to partners and people in your regular audience

How to post it like a boss:

  • The ideal length for engagement on Twitter is 71-100 characters. 
  • The more you can include visual elements, the better. Think: 
  • Website cards, which are images from your site that actually link TO your site.
  • Photos
  • Links that include the image associated with them, like the header image from a blog.
  • Videos
  • Link to your ministry’s site whenever possible.

What to post on your ministry’s Instagram:

  • Videos from events and the daily life of your ministry (60-second max).
  • Photos (you can edit within Insta). Include your people, your spaces, your giveaway items—anything that says something about who you are and what’s happening at your ministry.
  • Stories. Instagram Stories is an actual element within the app. You can use static images, but add flair and put them together like a very brief and visually captivating slide show.

How to post it like a boss:

  • Use visually appealing elements and make them even better with editing options.
  • Add captions that pique interest, explain an abstract image, or mention a person or event.
  • Keep in mind that Statista.com counts over 50% of Instagram users as under 34; you’re aiming for your younger audience.
  • Include a few hashtags when you post. It increases the likelihood of being found in searches.

What to post on your ministry’s LinkedIn:

  • Promotional assets and follow up videos from your events (mention the significance to your mission). 
  • Unique takes on the culture of your ministry.
  • Content from special speakers.
  • Books or articles that you, your team or someone in your ministry’s circle has written. 
  • Photos or videos of field work. 
  • Any new innovative ministry work you’re doing (i.e. starting a new local food kitchen). 
  • Job openings. 
  • Celebrate new team members, or celebrate a long-time team member’s impact to your ministry. 

How to post it like a boss: 

  • Videos and photos are hard to beat on a sheer human connection level—they just are. 
  • Graphics are key to promoting events. 
  • For the wordsmiths out there who shudder at the thought of learning InDesign—LinkedIn is where you can rock it on text-only posts (and some emojis never hurt!).
  • Really tap into healthy engagement here. Show that you care to have a two-way conversation with people (you can even comment on your own posts to help foster discussion!)
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