By Jenn Fortner
Remember Snapchat? Yeah, me neither. What’s the point of TikTok? You could probably ask your 9-year-old. Who is MrBeast? Well, he’s rich… I only know enough to tell you that. I get it, guys. Even if you are a techy millennial with a Tumblr (is that old now?), it’s hard to keep up with all of the changes on the internet. And to know how to best utilize it for support raising – well that’s something in and of itself. That being said, here are 5 important tips that I hope will expand your knowledge on how to use social media for support raising.
1. Have a Social Media Presence, and Start with Facebook Many people start by asking if having a social media presence for their ministry matters. Is having a presence really that beneficial?
The short answer: Yes, it matters.
Like it or not, we spend around 15% of our waking lives on social media at a clip of about 2.5 hours per day. (All of those cute cat videos add up!) If you want to get information out and communicate with your team effectively (and you do, I promise), you should be utilizing social media and thinking through which app (or apps) will help you communicate with the bulk of your growing partnership team.
Where to Start
If you are looking where to start utilizing social media, look no further than social media’s giant behemoth: Facebook! Love it or hate it, Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. Therefore, if you do not have a Facebook presence dedicated to your ministry, you are probably missing a great opportunity to regularly communicate with your partnership team.
What Type of Community Should I Create on Facebook?
Many people ask what type of community they should set up on Facebook. Most of the time, the answer to that depends on what level of security you need. If you don’t know, consider connecting with your ministry’s leadership and critically thinking through this question before proceeding. If you need tight security, I suggest creating a “Private Group”, and then making sure that the privacy settings are changed to “Hidden”. Don’t skip this step! By hiding your privacy settings on Facebook, your group is unsearchable to outsiders – which is important.
If you are only mildly worried about security, you may still want to use a Private Group and make it “hidden”. And lastly, if you aren’t concerned with security or privacy, and you’ve carefully considered ramifications, go for the Public setting. There are some marketing advantages in allowing your Facebook Group to be completely visible if your security isn’t compromised by doing so. Also for people who aren’t concerned about security, there is the option to set up a Page instead of a Group. Though there are pros and cons on both sides of Group vs. Page, my personal preference is to set up a Group instead of a Page for partnership development purposes.
How To Add People To Your Facebook Group
When setting up a Group on Facebook my advice is not to add everyone you’ve known since the 4th grade to it all at once. Take the slow burn approach – as you add people to your partnership team, also add them to your Group. By doing it this way you build buy-in and potentially increase interaction within the group. If you blanket-add them along with 3,000 of your closest friends before talking with them personally, they will likely have no idea what you are doing, get a little annoyed at notifications, and not know what the group is for (or for that matter that they are even in it).
2. Using Other Social Media Platforms Such as Instagram or TikTok
Should you create a TikTok or Instagram (IG) dedicated to ministry?
The answer to this one relies on your capacity. If you have the bandwidth to maintain another platform with excellence, go for it. Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube are currently some of the most widely used apps (with Facebook towering over them at #1) in the world. Consider adding these to your social media strategy if:
If you feel like you’ll be stretching yourself too thin to maintain another social media platform – skip it altogether and focus on maintaining your Facebook Group and regular newsletters with excellence.
3. Content for Social Media and FrequencyFor content creation, here are some content ideas:
If you are stuck on what to post on social media, try doing some research. Are there other workers in your organization utilizing social media and doing it well? Consider following their ministry accounts and paying attention to what they are posting. What is their engagement with each post? What did they post that you could recreate?
As far as frequency of posting on your Facebook ministry Group / Page, my suggestion is once or twice a week. Any more than that and Group members may feel spammed with notifications, any less and they may forget about you.
4. Social Media DON’TS
5. Social Media Does Not Replace Face to Face
I hope these 5 tips help you in utilizing social media for your ministry! Warning — some of this may have all changed within 6 months if you’re reading this a bit after my posting. Ha!
Jenn Fortner is a seasoned support raising coach with over 10 years of experience. Currently Jenn serves Eurasia Assembly of God World Missionaries and provides guided training and coaching to over 100 missionaries. As a young adult Jenn began to raise her own funds for ministry assignments and quickly realized a heart for not only ministry, but for the people who served as her financial and spiritual team throughout years of ministry. Jenn began a journey of coaching others called to ministry to develop a relational approach to raising their funds, and has professionally coached over 400 missionaries throughout their journey of fundraising. Jenn is the author of Financial Partnership Development: Fundraising Made Relational and www.jennfortner.com, a blog dedicated to support raising challenges. Jenn lives in Springfield Missouri with her husband Zach and their two children, Sloane (4 years old) and Merrick (3).