Expanding Your Digital Reach: Alternative Social Media Platforms for Churches

21/06/2024

Looking to expand your social media reach? Here are other social media platforms to consider joining.

Are you already using Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube? Perhaps you’re looking to explore other social media platforms? In this blog we share some insights on other platforms that your church could consider using to reach your local community.  

While Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Facebook are well-known platforms, there are other platforms that churches can explore to evangelise and disciple effectively. In this blog, we'll explore alternative social media platforms that can help churches connect with their congregations, while spreading their message further.  

 

1. Threads

Launched in July 2023, Threads is a new platform introduced by Meta, the owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Within five days of its launch it was downloaded 100 million times, attracting many people between the ages of 24 and 34.

Much like X, Threads is a text-based social media platform. It facilitates expressing opinions, sharing news and growing communities with shared beliefs. Unlike X, Threads allows you to post text that is up to 500 characters long, which is between 75 and 125 words. In contrast, unless you pay a subscription for more features, X only allows you to post text that is 280 characters long.  

You could make great use of this larger character limit to share short daily devotionals. You could also post scripture and encourage your audience to share or comment. Threads also allows video content of up to five –minutes, meaning  you could share short clips of past Sunday services as a way to encourage people to attend church.  

The disadvantage of Threads is that you need an existing Instagram account in order to sign up. However, if your church is already active on Instagram, you can quickly grow your community from your existing followers.  

Threads screenshot

2. LinkedIn:  

LinkedIn, a social platform for professional networking, can be valuable for church leaders and staff. There are over a billion users of LinkedIn, with 42.2 million users in the United Kingdom alone. As well as connecting with other church leaders and organisations, you can also connect with Christian groups such as Christian Business Leaders. Having a LinkedIn profile for your church also consolidates its authenticity.  

You can use LinkedIn for digital evangelism by connecting with local professionals who may be interested in  your church's growth and mission. Furthermore, you can increase your church’s influence by sharing insights for church leaders or reflections that relate to working life.  

The disadvantage of using LinkedIn is that since the platform has a niche focus, content you create for the platform might need to be quite different to what you would share on, for example, Facebook.   

 

screenshot of Church of England LinkedIn screenshot
screenshot of Church of England LinkedIn

  3. TikTok:  

TikTok has gained immense popularity in recent years, especially among young people. At any given time, there are 1 billion active users, with the majority being between the ages of 18 and 34. The platform is primarily used for watching short videos of up to 180 seconds, however they’ve recently launched an update allowing 30 minute videos. Videos on TikTok cater to different interests and trends and there are a large percentage of users and creators who actively engage with Christian based content, as you can see from the numbers of videos shared using the following hashtags:

  • #ChristianTikTok: 14.6 million posts  
  • #Christianity: 2.3 million posts
  • #ChristianTikTokCommunity: 494,000 posts
  • #Anglican: 17,100 posts  

Your church can leverage these tags by creating 1-to-3-minute videos that creatively showcase services, sermons and scripture.  

Engaging with trending challenges and using relevant hashtags can increase your visibility. TikTok also offers you the ability to collaborate with others; you can add content to someone else’s video or collaborate with members of your congregation who use the platform.  

The disadvantage is that many TikTok trends, that allow small accounts to gain momentum, may not reflect your church’s core messages. Creating TikTok content can also be time-consuming. 

 

screenshot of Church of England Tiktok videos
screenshot of Tiktok content

4. Discord:

Discord is a powerful platform for community engagement used by over 4,000 organisations and 614 million users. There are already many dedicated church groups on the platform. Discord’s strengths lay in community building, rather than content creating. It is similar to having a dedicated Facebook or WhatsApp group, but with added customisation and features. The appearance of Discord is much like a group-chat with dedicated areas to discuss specific things. This is why some say having a Discord server is much like having your own social platform.

Your church can make channels for specific topics such as Bible Study, Music  or Admin. It’s highly accessible with both speech and text functions. As an alternative or supplement to newsletters, automatic announcements can be sent to your congregation. With this Discord feature you can send prayer and service reminders. Furthermore, you can live stream services allowing your congregation to respond in real-time. Best of all, the platform can automate tasks and enhance moderation, contributing to a positive online environment.

However, Discord requires committed users to moderate channels and promote it. Furthermore, as a unique platform, it may be a steep learning curve for your congregation. 

 

screenshot of Discord

Conclusion:

As more and more churches develop their social media presence, exploring platforms beyond the ‘usual suspects’ can provide fresh opportunities for connection and growth. Each platform offers a unique set of features and caters to different demographics. By strategically using these platforms, you can diversify your online presence, and reach more people in your community.  

Take some time to reflect on what you’d like to achieve on social media – what you feel your church’s purpose on these platforms is and who you’d like to reach. Thinking through these questions will allow you to find the best platforms suited to your mission.  

 

- Digital Labs Team