Using social media to spread the Gospel in your Family of Parishes
It’s 2023. We all know that social media is a powerful tool to reach people where they are, faster than ever before. However, merely having a presence on social media does not guarantee you will connect to your intended audience. It is the way in which we utilize these platforms that allows us to effectively spread the Good News with our community and beyond.
“If a church community coordinates its activity through the network and then celebrates the Eucharist together, then it is a resource.” – Pope Francis, 2019
Think about the how
Managing and creating content for various social media platforms can be overwhelming but there needs to be considered when deciding which media works best for a parish, ministry or organization. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Tiktok are all unique and require a distinct approach to effectively engage with the intended audience. Instagram for an example, is a mobile-friendly platform that shares visual content through posts and stories. Facebook is a desktop- and mobile-friendly platform, which allows images, videos and text to be easily shared and discussed. While YouTube and Tiktok are focused on video content. Keep these in mind to take advantage of their strengths when creating content.
Think about your audience
Based on statistics from SproutSocial.com, Facebook has the most reach among all the platforms with about 70 percent of adults using it, while 62 percent of the Instagram user base is between the ages of 18-34. This statistic is also reflected on the Diocese of Buffalo Facebook and Instagram channels. Knowing this will help parishes use these platforms more effectively to engage with their communities. Would a young adult event reach the targeted audience best on Facebook or Instagram?
Think about your message and don’t be afraid to engage
Social media is an opportunity to evangelize those in the faith and those who are not. Always keep in mind that these posts need to be engaging, relevant, interesting, and most importantly there needs to be consistency! Don’t be discouraged when a post doesn’t do well. What may work for one parish may not necessarily work for another.
Don’t know where to begin? Here is a few ideas to start:
– Live-streaming Masses to those who are unable to physically travel.
– Creating a post to welcome new members in the Catholic faith after the Easter Vigil.
– Engaging with someone through a private message or in the comment section by answering questions.
– Taking the time to actively listen.
– Recognize the accomplishment or faith journey of a parishioner.
– Prayerful posting.
– Educating the community about Church teachings while also making it understandable.
– Sharing community events or volunteer opportunities and remember to share images and/or reflections afterwards.
Always keep in mind that posts need to be engaging, but the message should be short. Facebook reports that their users only spend an average of 1.7 to 2.5 seconds on a piece of content. Less is (almost) always more.
With the ability to reach a wide audience across multiple platforms, social media can be seen as overwhelming to many but by utilizing this tool effectively, Families of Parishes can engage with their parishioners outside of Sunday Mass while also promoting its mission of spreading the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for prayerfully considering a gift to the Catholic Communication Campaign at Mass or through your e-offertory program on May 20-21. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds for the collection.