On May 11th, I presented "Getting Started with Social Media" to our conference of local Lutheran pastors, using my congregation as an example of the many ways congregations can use social media. I thought it would be a good idea to document what we do at Redeemer and share it more broadly. So, here are 14 great social media tools that we use in our church and that you can use in yours.
Having a Facebook page is just as important as having a website these days. Create a page and invite your friends to join. It is the absolutely easiest and most popular way to share what's happening in your church. You can post video, pictures, links, and promote events. This is our page. After I post something on our FB Page, I also share it on my personal profile. If you have a blog, you can use a great service called networkedblogs.com to automatically have your blog post listed on your FB Page.
This is a great blogging platform that I use to post and host our sermons, educational materials, and this blog. Wordpress has lots of great designs and tools. It includes free metrics, so you can track how many people visit your blog and what they're reading. You can upload audio files for podcasts is only $15 a year, video for $60. Blogger andTypePad are also popular blogging platforms.
Recent studies show that Twitter is only used by 7% of people in the U.S. It isn't widely adopted yet, but it will be. Twitter is a great way to link to your new blog posts, promote events, and share to things you find interesting - sort of like a personal news feed. The value of Twitter for churches is the ability to share short bursts of news and information. However, most of our people don't use Twitter. One great way to use Twitter is to put a Twitter widget on your church website. It allows you to share important news instantaneously without having to republish your webpage. You can seeour widget on Redeemer's homepage. Twitter can be confusing, if you just view it on the web. I like to use a software program called Tweetie for Mac to manage my Twitter accounts. Tweetdeck is also a great program. When you're ready to take it to the next level, link your Twitter account to bit.ly, a great url-shortening service, and bit.ly will give you statistics on how many people followed your link.