There has been a lot of discussion—ironically taking place ON social media—about whether social media is still a valuable endeavor for ministry leaders.
Each person’s journey is unique. Because of that, we’re each going to gather different tools, and find the ones that work best for us.
But I do believe social media can be a valuable tool for reaching and serving those who need encouragement.
Here are my three bottom-line reasons for doing social media:
1. Personally, I believe social media is an extension of the ministry God has given. My primary reason for being on social media is to serve others and to build connections.
2. It gives another dimension to my prayer life. Just opening a social media network immediately leads to an opportunity for prayer.
3. I believe God has called me to be a light in the dark. So the darker social media gets, the stronger my call to stay there.
Social Media Benefits for Me
• I can minister to those God puts in my path by praying for them—sometimes anonymously and sometimes directly.
• I get a chance to serve and encourage those I serve. I can post updates that provide valuable information and encouragement without asking for something in return. This builds trust and lays the groundwork that encourages them to connect more strongly with God.
• It gives me a place to connect with others who have similar interests. These connections often lead to sharing Jesus.
• I have opportunities to interact with other ministry leaders. These interactions include:
1. encouragement from others and toward others
2. valuable leads on opportunities
3. opportunities to share and receive information about some aspects of leadership and ministry.
• It’s a place to connect with those I wouldn’t have contact with otherwise, due to physical location or beliefs.
• It gives me opportunities to share the message(s) of my heart. I can do this through invitations to post on blogs, become a guest on podcasts, and in many other ways.
What Social Media Does Not Do for Me
Social media doesn’t sell my ministry. There isn’t (nor has there ever been, as far as I can tell) a direct connection between advertising a service on social media and selling it.
Why doesn’t social media work for sales?
• Most people are on social media to be social. Sometimes they are looking for information, but in general, they’re just hanging out.
• An invitation to buy something is seen as an interruption. I don’t know about you, but I get irritated by the paid advertising slipped into my browsing pleasure.
• The algorithms for most networks make it difficult to get visibility when someone is selling something. Social media networks want to please their users and deliver the experiences they enjoy. Since most people are irritated by advertising, these networks try to limit anything that could be seen as a negative experience.
If a ministry leader is on social media solely to promote themselves, then it’s going to be difficult to find value in being there.
However, if we’re looking to make connections and increase our ability to serve our audience—as well as the other benefits mentioned above—I believe we will find value in staying active there.
I think it’s important to find a way to interact on social media without spending a lot of valuable time on it. My recommendation is thirty minutes a day on social media.
It’s also vital that we’re focused on building our email lists. Email lists DO help us promote our ministry. Making valuable connections can facilitate growing these lists.