Guide: Getting started on social media

08/04/2021

In 2020 Statistica reported more than 60% of people in the UK have a social media account. Creating a page or profile for your church is completely free and presents an opportunity to reach new people within your local community.

In this guide find out how to create an account for your church on each of the main social media networks, plus advice and guidance for managing your account safely.
Guide to creating a church social media account web page image

 

Which platforms should you use?

A quick google search for 'How many social media networks are there?' throws up a variety of answers from 25 - 99 - needless to say, there are plenty of options! Which of these should you embrace as a church? Before you create a new social media account, bear these three questions in mind: 

What platforms are the community using?

Introducing a whole new platform to your community may be an uphill struggle. First, find out what your congregation and local community already use and consider starting here for maximum impact. 

How much time do I have?

It may be appealing to have a range of vibrant profiles to communicate with different sections of your community. However, if you don't have the time to keep them up, they may fall out of date, giving the wrong impression of your community. Start with one or two platforms, and go from here.

What do I hope to achieve?

Reaching out to families, championing local charities, or supporting those shielding at home - consider your goals and find a platform that will serve this purpose.

Creating a social media account header

 

Creating a new social media account

Choosing a profile name

If possible, use the same profile name across all your accounts so that it is easy for your community to find you wherever you are present.

Login and contact details

When creating a new social media account, use a general church email*, rather than a personal email, as the login and main contact details.

*This rule does not apply to Facebook, where each editor or admin needs their own personal Facebook profile.

First impressions count

The images and words you include on your profile or page will give a lasting impression on your community. Use words and phrases which make everyone feel welcome, avoiding churchy phrases, accompanied by friendly images, to give the best first impression.

Sharing the new account

Once set up, share the news with your community. Talk about it during services and events, and update your website and newsletters with the link.

Keep it up to date

Posting at least once a week will keep your profiles and pages looking fresh and the church open. 

 

Below, explore each platform, alongside advice on how to create an account.

Facebook page
Facebook groups
Instagram
Twitter
YouTube
WhatsApp Groups

 

Although not a social media network, with more than 70 million page views in 2020, A Church Near You has become an essential part of any CofE church's online toolkit.

A Church Near You

Administrating and moderating church social media profiles

Through the Digital Labs blogs you can find ideas, recommendations, case studies and how-to guides for using social media as a church.

Before you get started, it's helpful to be aware of moderation tools and best practice for online safety. 

Facebook page
Facebook Groups
Instagram
Twitter
YouTube
WhatsApp Groups
A Church Near You (ACNY)

Safeguarding

Safeguarding disclosures or concerns can be raised in any way, and social media is no different. For this reason, those with access to a church's social media account should be aware of how to respond if they receive a disclosure, or are concerned about another's comments or posts.

Checklist for anyone accessing your social media profile

    Photography and video (GDPR)

    Using photos and videos of real people in your community is the perfect way to show others what your community is like, and can play a key part in helping them feel welcome to attend, however, this should be balanced with providing a safe and secure environment for all.

    Some members of your community may not feel comfortable appearing in a photo or video shared online, and for others, it may compromise their safety. Safeguarding, GDPR and creating safe places are all important considerations before any photography is taken.

    Taking photos or videos at a service or event
    Using other copyrighted materials online

     

    Wellbeing

    Promote a healthy balance by setting boundaries early on. These tips are easy to put in place for you and your team.

    Wellbeing tips

     

    Promoting healthy conversations online

    The digital landscape has changed so much in the last few years and will continue to do so as technology develops. It’s important to think about how the conversations we’re having can help change someone’s newsfeed for the better.

    What does it look like to be a Christian online? Everyone’s engagement is different. Whether you’re a member of clergy using Twitter or a churchgoer replying to the comments on a blog, we all have different views, histories and areas of interest that will affect how we perceive things, and our responses to those events. The comments we make can reach thousands and even millions of people both in this country and around the world very quickly.

    Eight ways to promote healthy conversations