Picture this with me.
You’re about to post something new on your ministry’s social media channels. Are you picturing it? Great. You frame your image beautifully. You add a sweet filter. You spend ten minutes crafting the perfect caption. You press POST.
And then you wait for your first like.
If you’re like most of us, you know what it’s like to have a post on social media totally bomb. Two likes. A total reach of five people. One solitary heart (and it was from your mom).
We all know the power that social media has to engage students.
But how do we leverage that power?
How do we use social media to start conversations?
How do we use it to influence the faith of our students?
And… well… what do we actually post?
In my experience, there are 5 kinds of social media posts that really engage students. We talked a ton about it on our podcast Youth Ministry Answers this week. Here they are, with some examples.
Of course, we all have ideas for how to communicate truth and help kids know God… at least on Sundays or Wednesdays. But your social media channel is a great place to continue helping teenagers think about and respond to God all week long. Every week, think about ways you can share Scripture, thoughts, or short devotionals on your social media channels.
And hey, actually, we just created something to help you do just that. It’s called Digital Devotionals and it’s packed with tons of pre-written and pre-designed devotionals for you to post every single month. Check it out!
I’m guessing you’ve got a ton of cool stuff going on in your ministry – like, all the time. Camps, events, games, service projects, summaries of your messages… the possibilities are endless. You really could (or maybe should?) post some kind of recap post every single week.
And here’s a tip for making your recap posts work better. Don’t forget to tag your students and leaders whenever they make appearances in your photos! People love getting tagged, first of all. But when you tag people in your posts, it actually multiplies your reach because their followers will be notified, too. So get tagging!
In our last ministry, we did a simple Pic of the Week contest on Instagram every single week. The rules were simple:
- Post a cool pic.
- Use our ministry’s hashtag in the caption.
- We choose a winner and give them a prize on Sunday morning.
Sometimes we’d assign a specific theme to the contest (like “post an Easter pic,” or “post a picture of something you’re thankful for.”) But other times, we’d leave it open to any and all submissions and simply choose a photo that made us laugh or that showcased something cool that our ministry had been up to.
When you’re consistently posting tons of cool stuff like devotionals, recaps, and contests, your students will be much more likely to pay attention when you finally post important news and announcements. You know, stuff like registrations, camp deadlines, or upcoming events.
And hey, when you’re posting news and announcements, here’s a thought. It doesn’t hurt to make them a little weird or funny. Add a meme. Make a quick video. Tell them to tag a friend who probably needs the reminder because they never pay attention to your announcements.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of conversation-starters. It’s called “SOCIAL media” for a reason, you know? Your goal shouldn’t be to simply dispense information. Your goal should be to engage your students in conversation.
So post a discussion question – maybe a silly one or maybe something that relates to the message you just taught. Questions don’t have to stand-alone posts, though. You can weave a question into just about anything. If you post a devotional about gratitude, ask what they’re grateful for. If you post a recap video, ask them what their favorite group game is. If you post an announcement about an upcoming event, ask who’s coming. It’s easy! And it really increases engagement.
What do you think? Did I miss anything?
Oh, and hey! Don’t forget to check out Digital Devotionals, a new project from Stuff You Can Use! We’re super excited about it and we really hope it helps you be a little bit more awesome on social media.
Take a peek and get 7 free days of Digital Devotionals!