Take These 7 Steps To Start And Maintain Your Small Church’s Digital Presence
1. Start With a Plan.
Set goals for your online presence. These goals should be reviewed regularly along with feedback from members, friends and leadership. This will lead to an evaluation of the effectiveness of your efforts. Modify your goals (short and log term) as needed.
2. Start and maintain an email list.
An email list is an important tool that can help maintain your small church’s digital presence. Even though email is one of the oldest web-based technologies, it is as effective as ever. Every digital marketer uses email to reach leads and customers. Though your church or ministry is probably not selling a physicl product, you are digitally marketing to potentail members, donors and volunteers. The beauty of using it for your church is that emails from churches are not perceived as much like “selling”. Use your email list to notify subscribers about all your churches events, both online and off.
3. Use volunteers as much as possible.
Use volunteers as much as possible. There is likely to be a lot of untapped talent in your congregation.Provide volunteers with formal training, support and let them know you appreciate them. Remember to thank them publicly. A volunteer with web experience may bring a fresh perspective to the look of your website. With the popularity of social media, finding a volunteer to help with social media should not be difficult. Continual training and feedback is needed to ensure a consistent message, when multiple volunteers are used.
4. Find a company that will partner with you on digital services.
Instead of getting your digital services from multiple providers, find a company that can provide everything. Find a “digital partner” to provide all your services–your website, online giving, and church management software. The advantages are that they may have a package of services designed to work well together. Many times you can save money (as well as design and setup time) by using a pre-designed solution.
“A large social media team is not needed to have a large presence on social media.”
5. Consider your church’s online presence as an additional ministry.
It is likely that your church’s digital presence may struggle to get funding because of a low priority being placed on it. It may seem hard to justify using scarce resources for maintaining a website and social media. But your church should consider it a department or ministry in itself. A digital presence serves as more than just promotion. You serve people online that may be unable to get that message elsewhere. On any given Sunday, 100% of your membership will not show up in the physical building. Your dital presence is not a substitute for Sunday worship. Consider it value added for the sick and shut-in, members who cannot attend due to some unpredictable situation, and the greater community.
6. Provide regular content
A successful social media ministry doesn’t require a large team of people to maintain. Much more effective than being on all social platforms at once, is picking one or two. Concentrate on consistently communicating a clear vision to your digital community. If you focus on doing this, the people you’re trying to reach will find you. But If someone reaches out to your church online, you must respond in a timely fashion.
7. Be Consistent
In order to maintain your Small Church’s Digital Presence, you must be consistent. This is true no matter what type and frequency of publishing content you choose. You are reaching out to people and people are creatures of habit. Habits are easy to form and much harder to break. Provide your content regularly and eventually your target market will look forward to receiving it. We all have some TV program, or recurring event, or etc. that we enjoy and regularly look forward to.