Should churches still use Twitter?
Twitter may feel like a dying platform. Though it sometimes struggles against social media giant Facebook, Twitter is still very relevant for churches today.
Here are a few reasons why I believe that:
In each of the above examples, the church’s Twitter feed appeared as the #2 search result in Google, thanks to Google announcing it will show tweets in search results.
Twitter works if you put it to work.
Though it’s true that fewer people use Twitter as their social network of choice than Facebook or even Instagram, the data is clear that Twitter is preferred by some audiences.
According to Pew Internet Research:
“Roughly one-quarter of online adults (24%) use Twitter, a proportion that is statistically unchanged from a survey conducted in 2015 (23%).
“Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to be on Twitter. Some 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network, more than triple the share among online adults ages 65 and older (just 10% of whom are Twitter users).
“Twitter is also somewhat more popular among the highly educated: 29% of internet users with college degrees use Twitter, compared with 20% of those with high school degrees or less.”
42% of Twitter users indicate that they are daily visitors, with 23% saying they visit more than once a day.
Twitter isn’t Facebook or Instagram or Snap or Pinterest or any other social network. So if your church manages Twitter the same way you manage Facebook, it’s going to be tough going.
Twitter calls itself an “online news service” where people “can communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.”
With that definition in mind, Twitter works best for churches that tweet snapshots of what life inside the church is like.
For example, your church could use Twitter to:
Live tweet services
Tweet updates regarding ministry work
Tweet quotes and verses throughout the week from weekend services
Tweet digital content updates (new podcasts, new blog posts, new videos and more)
Tweet about volunteer work
Re-tweet pastors, staff, volunteers and guests
If your church decides to use or continue using Twitter, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
Put your service times in your profile.
Clearly state what your church stands for. If you stand for Jesus, then be bold about it. Don’t make people guess.
Don’t use Twitter to point everyone back to your Facebook feed. Twitter is its own platform.
Live tweet and/or live stream your service. Twitter works best for live broadcasting happenings.
Use consistent hashtags so people can easily find your tweets (and you can better track how your hashtags perform).
If someone tweets to your church, respond quickly.
RT (or re-tweet) people as appropriate.
Create and share Twitter-size images from weekend services and include a quote from that service.
If you live tweet, make sure to give context to tweets so people who weren’t there can understand without the rest of the context.
Promote events. (But don’t only use Twitter to promote events.)
Tweet consistently. Tweet often.
Actually put “church” in your Twitter name so people can find you in search.
Twitter Tools for Your Church
Use these Twitter tools to help your church leverage Twitter’s capabilities better:
Periscope – get the Periscope app and live broadcast your services, ministry work, events or additional insights into teachings
Tweriod – analyze when your Twitter followers are online and tweet at optimal times to reach them
Twitter Cards – add Twitter Cards meta tags to your website so you can share rich photos, video and media in your tweets and better analyze tweet performance
Hashtagify.me – get analytics on Twitter hashtag performance and related hashtags
Buffer – schedule your tweets (and posts for other networks)
So, should your church still use Twitter? If you recognize that specific audiences use Twitter regularly, that Twitter is best used as a live snapshot into happenings in your church (which is very different from how Facebook is best used) — and you commit to tweeting, RTing and replying frequently and consistently — you should absolutely put Twitter to work for your church.