When Your Pastor Thinks Social is Dumb

Personally, one of the hardest things for me to deal with is being deflated like a balloon.

Like, when you were a kid and you worked on that one level of Super Mario for like, days, and finally you passed it and you ran into the living room and said, “Mom, Dad, I beat it! I passed level 4!” and they said “Have you been playing that game all day? Why don’t you go outside?” 

HAVE YOU NO HEART??!!! Outside is where the sun is and this is Texas!

It’s really all in the way they say “…that game…” that kinda deflates you, isn’t it? (Btw, my parents are great)

Flash forward to today. You’re the social media manager at your church and totally get it. You work really hard, you get a big win, and you go tell your bosses or co-workers about this cool thing that happened on social and they say “I don’t really get social. It’s all kinda dumb to me.” And then you fly around the room making fart sounds as the air goes right out of you. 

We’ve all been there. We need our pastoral leaders to understand the power of social media because it can be game-changing for their ministries, but there’s little to no interest. Maybe it’s because they not only misunderstand its power, but are even a little scared of it?

That’s where your role might shift from social media warrior to social media professor…also, get a monocle. Here are a few suggestions on how to educate your pastor and your co-workers about the power of social media, thus proving you don’t just play on Facebook all day and are actually doing ministry work.

Keep Track of Your Important Stats

Start a Google sheet and track growth for all of your social channels. Sure, you can track likes and engagement, but honestly, Instagram and Facebook already track that stuff. So I suggest adding things like “Times I prayed for someone” or “number of times we were asked a question on Messenger.” That way, your pastor or team can see the boots-on-the-ground ministry you’re doing, not just the memes.

Write Down Anecdotes of Important Wins

Come to staff meetings with at least one big win from social media. In my experience, the anecdotal evidence goes much further than it should in church ministry. Why not tell a great story of something awesome on social that week to let others know what’s going on there?

Drop a Sweet Social Stat in Casual Conversation

In regular conversation, drop a stat. If someone says, “Hey, I loved that photo you put up on Instagram.” You can respond with, “Thanks! It’s doing really well. It’s probably because photos with faces in them get 38% more engagement.” #humblebrag

Ask to Present Social Strategy at Staff Meeting

Many times, we don’t have because we don’t ask. If your staff is incredibly social media illiterate, then ask your leadership for 15 minutes in an upcoming meeting to talk about what’s going on there. It’s really important here that if they give you time, you not waste it. Create slides, do a real presentation, and make it fun and interactive. Leave that meeting feeling like everyone understands the power of what you do just a little bit more (and that what you do should be taken seriously).

Start a Staff Facebook Group

One of the best ways to introduce your staff to social media is to invite them to a safe space where they can practice. We won’t call it “practice” though, but you and I will know what it really is. Starting a staff Facebook group can be like smashing up some Tylenol and mixing it in with pudding to get a kid to take medicine. But in that group, your team will learn how to interact on Facebook and pick up on some of the rules. That will build their confidence to go public on their own channels more often.

Don’t Do These Things

Don’t treat those who don’t get social media like they’re old, out of touch, or stupid. That will be the fastest way to ensure your failure to help them understand how important social media is for your church.

Also, don’t throw them in the deep end. Help them take baby steps towards using social and don’t expect too much. When the expectations are wrong, everyone gets frustrated and wants to quit.

What did I miss? Do you have a great idea for getting your non-social media savvy church staff on board? Share it with us in the comments or join The Seminary of Hard Knocks Facebook group and share your thoughts there!

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