Confused about social media at your church? Not sure where to start? These Catholic social media tips will help churches, schools, and ministries set up social media accounts and use them more effectively. Plus, get answers to some of the most common Catholic social media questions.
Catholic Social Media Tip #1: Build a relationship
Social media is all about being social and building relationships. As Christians, we should lead by example in this area! Use your social accounts to connect with people and catapult them toward an authentic relationship with your organization…and ultimately with Jesus. Here are some ways to make it happen:
- Thank fans and followers when they connect with you to potentially jumpstart a meaningful interaction.
- Moderate your accounts and be responsive to comments and mentions.
- Share or retweet your followers’ content.
Catholic Social Media Tip #2: Have consistent branding
Have you ever struggled to find a parish’s Facebook page? With hundreds of “St. Josephs” out there, here are some ways you can stand out:
- Make it easy for others to identify you with consistent profile images.
- Define official logos, fonts, and colors to unify your entire digital presence.
Catholic Social Media Tip #3: Plan your strategy
Sure, most of us use Facebook in our everyday lives. But harnessing social media as a marketing tool requires a strategy. Here are some things to consider so you can develop a solid social media plan for your Catholic organization:
- Identify which platform is best for your goals.
- Set a posting schedule…and stick to it!
- Evaluate your success on a regular basis.
Catholic Social Media Q&A
Q: If I post on Instagram, my settings allow me to automatically post the same content on Facebook and Twitter. It’s an easy three-for-one! Is this a good idea?
eC: Avoid using these cross-platform auto-posting features. Remember that each platform (i.e., Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Instagram) has its own unique language, style, and community.
For example, content on Facebook can be more formal and lengthy. At the same time, content on Twitter is obviously limited to 140 characters and often includes a heavy use of emojis or animated GIFs. Automatically cross-posting can show a clear lack of authenticity and doesn’t allow you to fully take advantage of each platform’s unique features.
Q: Everyone agrees that we should have a Facebook page, but then there are debates about whether to use other social media platforms and which ones. What should we do?
eC: First, Facebook is a great place to start. Facebook rises to the top because it currently boasts the largest base of active users (approaching 2 billion). Your target audience is probably already active on Facebook, so if you’ve got limited time and resources, focus on having a strong Facebook presence first.
However, if your organization’s core audience consists mostly of youth/young adults, you may want to consider starting with a platform like Instagram instead.
After you’ve mastered one platform, here’s how you can decide whether you should expand to multiple social platforms. Simply ask yourself: Do I/we have the time and resources to be active and engaged on an additional platform(s)?
To help answer the question, remember what active and engaged use looks like on each platform:
- Facebook: Post 3-5 times per week, create a variety of content (including links, photos, and videos)
- Twitter: Tweet 3 or more times each day, respond to tweets in real time
- Instagram: Post 5-10 times per week, have the ability to take beautiful photos that tell a story
Q: Should I take Instagram photos with a mobile phone camera or a DSLR camera?
eC: Use whatever camera you have with you at any given moment! iPhone cameras and DSLRs can both give you great images for social. As long as you’re familiar with how to use each camera’s features, you’re set!
Of course, spontaneous moments will probably require you to take photos with a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad. But when you have a planned event (such as a Mass), it’d be best to use your DSLR and anticipate moments, environments, and think about which lenses would be best for certain situations.
Q: What size should my photos be?
eC: When it comes to images for social media, there are two main things to keep in mind: file size and image dimensions.
File size typically isn’t an issue when you’re uploading photos from your mobile device. In fact, each platform automatically compresses photos uploaded from your phone anyway. On the other hand, we typically use Photoshop to manage the size of files from our DSLR cameras. Then, we export photos using the “Save for Web” feature to get the smallest files with the best resolution.
Frankly, tracking social media image dimensions can make your head spin! We like to use Sprout Social’s Always Up-To-Date Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet to get quick answers about which pixel dimensions are the best for each platform. You can save and access the living spreadsheet even if you’re not a Sprout Social customer.