The saying “too much social media” has never been truer today. From Mass to meetings, school classes to weddings, we managed to Zoom, livestream, and Facebook Live everything we possibly could. It’s no wonder that as we delve into 2021, most of us are experiencing some form of social media burnout.
For many, scrolling through Pinterest and posting to Facebook no longer has the same magic (for lack of a better word) than it did in the past. In fact, if you were to look at your phone’s screen time feature, it probably shows a lot of online activity, especially when compared to what was considered a normal amount of time a year ago. So, where does that leave parishes that have been using social media to communicate? At a crossroads.
From how often to post to the type of content people are searching for, here are four social media trends parishes should watch for in 2021.
1. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Last year, digital communication creation and consumption went up exponentially due to COVID-19. From complete lockdowns for weeks at a time, to seeing one another by way of a birthday drive-thru or a socially distanced visit in the park, we began to rely on social media and other digital means to connect with one another and stay informed. And while we still rely on these means even today, it’s beginning to slow down in 2021.
Churches with social media platforms should consider the type of content they post, rather than the amount they publish. Right now, our society is being saturated with digital messages. If you’ve been posting often, but not seeing much engagement, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Quality content that is easy to digest and comes with a clear call to action, will do better for your church than a funny meme shared twice a day.
2. Come to Terms with Focusing on the RIGHT platform
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, TikTok … there are hundreds of platforms you can access if you want to reach everyone in your wheelhouse. However, it’s time to accept the fact that not only do we not have the bandwidth to keep multiple platforms up and running, but that it’s probably not even worth it.
If you find that most of your followers come from Twitter, but not so much from Facebook, it’s OK to focus on Twitter. Cultivate where your soil is rich, instead of trying to grow your audience on “rocky ground.” Remember, the goal is to reach people for Christ, and if you get the most results from one platform over another, then it’s best to focus your resources.
3. Highlight Action, Not Just Initiative
If your church is a hub of constant events, gatherings, classes, digital devotions, and spiritual services broadcasted via Zoom, you need to not just tell others about it — you should show them, too! Does your parish offer socially distanced confessions, a drive-thru food pantry pick-up for the community, or have a fantastic Bible study for older adults? Make sure that everyone knows by sharing through more than just your weekly bulletin.
A social media post with this type of authentic content is the perfect way to get the word out on what God is doing through your parish. So whether you have images of parishioners working together in ministry, a grand total of much needed donations for your monthly mitten drive, or a handwritten note from a grateful recipient, be sure that you’re sharing it with others so they can join in, too.
4. Face it, TikTok is in
By now, you have probably heard about TikTok, a short-form video sharing app with a feed that features an endless stream of mini videos made by users. From stay-at-home parents trying to desperately homeschool their kids, to teens dancing to the latest hits, professional therapists validating the stress of daily life, even grandparents taking their turn, it’s obvious that their base is only getting bigger. But is it right for your parish?
Oftentimes, people share to platforms like Instagram and Facebook the best they have in their life. Pictures look professional and flawless, posts are “humble brags” and full of list of things they’re grateful for. But today, people are getting tired of perfect. They want messy, they want authentic, they want someone to laugh AND cry with, because their life isn’t perfect. And that’s the whole premise of TikTok. It’s full of millions of users who don’t have it together, who just want to laugh and share what they know with one another. So maybe it’s the new pastor sharing the way he makes his coffee, or a small snippet of the choir practicing for Sunday morning, there are plenty of ways you can share the life of your parish to the community.
Looking for content ideas for your church? Check out “4 Tips to Keeping Your Social Media Followers Engaged.”